Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Usually I do not spontaneously think about independent cinema but I was reminded that in Cannes there is an important showcase of world independent cinema that's looking forward to find distribution, I'm talking about ACID. It's not easy to talk about world cinema as usually feels more like underground cinema than anything closer to mainstream, but that's why sections like ACID are crucial to learn about newcomers and become a vehicle to help their films be seen by audiences. I find this Cannes section to be highly unpredictable as there are not many sites that specialize in independent world cinema.
One of best sites to read their Cannes predictions is Wask, unfortunately is available only in French but nevertheless if you don't understand French, consider that film names and directors are easy to identify and then go elsewhere to read more about them. Up to this moment Wask has only the prologue of what's coming and they promise five different posts with what I imagine 20 films each. Soon we will learn what the site will do this year, check it here.
Will share with you all a copy and paste of Article 3 from the Festival de Cannes Rules & Regulations 2016 as will clarify to many -including me- if film has the conditions to receive an invitation to the Official Selection (Competition, Out of Competition and Un Certain Regard).
The Board of Directors chooses and invites the films which will be presented in Competition, Out of Competition or for Un Certain Regard. Each film invited to be part of the Official Selection by the Board of Directors will receive a Certificate of Participation. Only films that meet the following conditions may be chosen for invitation in the Official Selection:
Films that have been produced during the twelve months preceding the Festival;
Films that have not been released anywhere other than their country of origin;
Films that have not been presented at any other international motion picture event;
If the film (feature or short) has been selected in an international section (competitive or not) of a festival, it becomes ineligible for the Festival de Cannes. A selection is international if it presents films from different countries;
Films that have not been exhibited on the Internet;
Films that respect the aims of the Festival as defined in Article 1;
If participating in the "short film" category, films that do not exceed 15 minutes in length, including credits.
The second part of my wish list covers many of my most interesting directors, some have films ready while others I'm not sure they will have a finish version; some will premiere film in Cannes, while others suggest will open film before the festival. No matter what, they have new films that absolutely are must be seen for me.
Most Interesting Directors
Pedro Almodóvar with Julieta
It was called to my attention that Almodóvar tends to premiere his films in Spain before going to Cannes and if we check his films records we find that it's true for 3 films out of the four he has had in competition. As we can see in article 3, filmmakers can premiere their films in the country of origin and still be eligible for the Official selection. So, yes, Almodóvar latest film, Julieta, will premiere in Spain on April 8, 2016 and could be eligible; BUT if we believe IMDb then we see that on April 21 will premiere in Portugal and on May 6 in Mexico, so IF true, then film will NOT be in Cannes, no matter if France release is scheduled to May 18 as becomes not eligible.
Still, let's hope IMDb is not accurate and film still is Cannes eligible as is time he returns to Cannes with a strong drama in the female universe as Julieta suggests to be. Film international sales are handled by FilmNation and already has been sold to Sony Pictures Classics for North American rights. Film expectations are so HIGH that American cinema pundits are already speculating that film is a strong contender for the 2017 Oscars (!). Please recall that he has an Oscar and was not for a foreign-language film but for Talk to Her original screenplay. Yes film has extremely good credentials for Oscar and to be in the mother of all festivals.
Originally was called Silencio (Silence) but director decided to change name to Julieta so will not be confused with Scorsese's film. But the original name is crucial to learn about film as there is very little info about film plot; yes, I imagine is about silence and the main character, about something that happened when she was young and that will emerge when she's older.
Semih Kaplanoğlu with Grain
Kaplanoğlu's trilogy Yumurta (Egg), Süt (Milk) and Bal (Honey) is one of the most visually impacting cinema that I have seen, with a particular storytelling style -telling the story backwards- and outstanding performances. So waiting for a new Kaplanoğlu film has been a very long wait that finally is over, BUT my huge surprise is to discover that he's doing a film in the English-language even do is a Turkish, German, French and Swedish co production. Still the use of that language probably has something to do with the filming in Detroit, Michigan -plus Central Turkey, Cappadocia and Germany- and story is related to ecological science-fiction set in an indefinite near future, where existence of sustainable life is threatened, where a genetics expert and a general chaos scientist join forces in the Dead Lands to find fresh seeds, changing everything they thought they knew in the process.
International cast includes French-American Jean-Marc Barr, awesome Belgian Lubna Azabal and more actors from B&H, Russia, among other countries. Have no doubt that cinematography has to be with spectacular use of light and shadows as film is in black and white. Not sure what to expect of film but nevertheless because of his magnificent previous films, movie is must be seen for me no matter if makes it to Cannes or not. The Match Factory picked up international rights at 2015 Toronto fest where was promoted to buyers, so seems film is ready for
Andrea Arnold with American Honey
She came to my attention with her outstanding raw/realistic 2009 Cannes Jury Prize winner Fish Tank -wish was the second film with Michael Fassbender I've seen-; then her Wunthering Heights version that opened at 2011 Venice fest did not touch me, so I'm looking forward to her latest, American Honey that many expect to be ready for Cannes.
This UK and USA co production has a not-easy to watch story with a cast that includes troubled -but great performer- Shia LaBeouf and Riley Keogh among many not-known (to me) actors. Yes, story seems not really the kind I enjoy in film as tells about a teenage girl, Star, with nothing to lose who gets caught up in a whirlwind of hard partying, law bending and young love; but hope that Arnold's Fish Tank filmmaking style is present as will make story and film go up to a different -unique- level.
Film already sold to A24, which has USA rights; film was introduced in Cannes 2014 by Protagonist Pictures.
Ken Loach with I, Daniel Blake
Seem Loach much announced retirement is over -or never happened-, great!!! His very particular social storytelling style is one that shouldn't be silenced, ever -not even by him. Add very raw, direct filmmaking style and we have some of the best films in British Contemporary Cinema. Highly enjoy his films so very glad that he didn't retire and very curious about his latest films. This time seems he will explore state welfare as tells about a middle aged carpenter who requires state welfare after injuring himself, and is joined by a single mother in a similar scenario.
Cristian Mungiu with Fotografii de familie (Family Photos aka Recycling Feelings)
Four years after outstanding Beyond the Hills, Mungiu has a new film and yes, I'm already "dying" to see it even when is Mungiu's first feature focusing on a male character, as he became famous with his female-characters stories. Still, film is a family drama about parenting set in a small Romanian town where everybody knows everyone, main character is a doctor.
Most surprising he didn't work with long time collaborator cinematographer Oleg Mutu, so I wonder how the look in this film will be and IF will be as breathtaking as in Beyond the Hills or as disturbing as in 4 months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. Not sure if film is ready for Cannes, but filming closed on August 2015, so should be ready for the fest even when official production site, Mobra Films has no info yet about movie, nor the other co production companies like Why Not Productions. The only place where found basic info was in Dardenne Brothers' production company Les Films du Fleuve.
Derek Cianfrance with The Light Between the Oceans
Cianfrance's fabulously darkish Blue Valentine opened in 2010 Cannes Un Certain Regard, so there are chances this film could also go to Cannes specially now, after the 2015 awards seasons as film leads are none other than Academy Award nominee Michael Fassbender and Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander, which obviously will bring some glamour and buzz to Cannes red carpet but more interesting, film Cannes presence will assure the quality of the film and actors performances.
A USA and New Zealand co production tells the story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife living off the coast of Western Australia raise a baby they rescue from an adrift rowboat. Trailer suggests film feels/looks "different" to Cianfrance's previous films and maybe it is, as recent films he had sort of a claustrophobic atmosphere in indoors scenes; but here thanks to breathtaking outdoors scenes and use of light, there could be an absence of his previous atmospheric treatment.
Have seen everything with Alicia Vikander, including early Swedish films, so obviously film is must be seen for me, plus yes, also see and love everything with Michael Fassbender; "dying" to see them together, hope film will not disappoints me, as do not wish to see a melodrama -story could easily go that way- but an intense human drama with great performances and a masterful director. Cinematography is by Adam Arkapaw, fresh off working with Justin Kurzel and Michael Fassbender on Macbeth.
Cate Shortland with Berlin Syndrome
After Somersault and Lore, Shortland brings us a movie that seems could catapult her to an upper echelon in her filmmaker career as only from reading fantastic synopsis (by Memento Films) all my senses were stimulated and became very curious about film. Take a look.
While holidaying in Berlin, Australian photojournalist, Clare, meets Andi, a charismatic local man and there is an instant attraction between them. A night of passion ensues. But what initially appears to be the start of a romance suddenly takes an unexpected and sinister turn when Clare wakes the following morning to discover Andi has left for work and locked her in his apartment. An easy mistake to make, of course, except Andi has no intention of letting her go again. Ever.
Film is based on Melanie Joosten novel with the same name with a script by Shaun Grant who wrote Justin Kurzel highly disturbing The Snowtown Murders, so film has the right credentials to travel the 2016 festival circuit and good chances that trip could start in Cannes.
Emir Kusturica with On the Milky Road
Will long-awaited film be finally released this year? Seems finally film will see audiences this year; but could be in Cannes or in Venice? Don't know but many pundits speculate that has to be Cannes, to give him the opportunity of a third Palme d'Or. Besides being a Kusturica film, movie has him acting in a leading role along with Monica Bellucci in the female lead role, so that's something that I have to see no matter what (!). Been waiting for this film for the past 2-3 years, so let's hope Wild Bunch will release the film that just this morning announced in its 2016 lineup. Sigh.
Next installment will be about Latin American directors, then Asian directors, and will end with American directors.