Friday, March 03, 2017

#Cannes2017 Wish List - Part 1 - France One

Know it's early but today I'm in the mood for Cannes, so will start my Wish List even do we still have no official news about the dates when the official selections will be announced to the press and the world.

As a matter of fact submissions deadline is still open for feature films -will close on March 10- and short films deadline is closing today, March 1st; so those who wish to change their minds and submit their film (even if is in post-production) have 10 more days to do so.

Then we know selections are usually announced by mid-April and seems by now has become a "tradition" to make drop-by-drop announcements, so imagine after March 10 announcements will start to "drop".

Surely I'm biased as most of what I read is what I like and yes, I love serious French cinema!  So it's not unusual to make a buzz list with many French films (lol).  Unfortunately unofficial buzz says that French films are the last to be chosen for the Official Selection as otherwise festival will become a French film festival -against an International festival- and proof are the many French films that lately become available for consideration and the few that end up in competition or in any other festival section. This year is no exception as there are multiple French films to consider and to my utter delight one of my most admired master filmmaker has a film we, I, expect to premiere in Cannes.

Yes, Michael Haneke has a new film starring none other that Jean-Louis Trintignant and Isabelle Huppert! YAY!  But there are more master filmmakers with new films like -for example- Abdelatif Kechiche, Anne Fontaine, Laurent Cantet and André Téchiné that I hope will make the Official Selection or any other of the sections available in the festival.

So let's get into the list.  In a way my Wish List is about predictions but more important is about films that I'm looking forward to see eventually, no matter if they make to Cannes or not (sigh).  Obviously hope they do as Cannes participation assures higher film quality.

By-the-way I have been updating the Buzz List constantly so if you wish to check list often for sure you will find new movies.

The French Directors - One
No surprise when I start with a master filmmaker that has not the French nationality -he is Austrian- but his films tend to be very-French and yes, his current oeuvre is set in France, has French actors, French money (France, Austria and Germany co-production) and is in the French-language.

Michael Haneke with Happy End

Any blog regular reader knows how many times have I written about Haneke, so will be brief here and if you wish to read more, please search blog for Michael Haneke and the post list will appear.  Haneke already belongs to the select group of directors with two Palme d'Or and I don't doubt he could win a third, perhaps with this film or if not, with any of his future master opus.

There is not too-much reliable info yet about film but from what has been released we know has a story centered on a bourgeois, European family, with the refugee crisis serving as the backdrop; it is an ensemble film, with lots of characters in what -according to Isabelle Huppert- Haneke calls "freeze frame''.  Some are talking about the title being ironic and surely they are not familiar with Haneke as that's a given in his own peculiar style. Ah! yes, Huppert stars along Trintignant and Toby Jones, it's Haneke-Huppert fourth collaboration and still I'm not sure about the production nationalities as seems also includes UK.  More reliable sources claim film was produced by Paris-based Les Films du Losange and co-produced by France 3 Cinema, Germany's X Filme Creative Pool and Austria's Wega Film.

A more interesting film synopsis comes in French:  "centré sur la vie d'une famille bourgeoise du Nord de la France confrontée à un certain nombre de déboires et ne prêtant pas vraiment attention à la misère qui des camps de migrants, à quelques kilomètres de leur maison."   In English perhaps the following from Austrian Films clarifies better than film is NOT about the migrant crisis:  "All around us, the world, and we, in its midst blind. A snapshot from the life of a bourgeois European family."

Film rights for North and Latin America belong to Sony Pictures Classics and Canal+ already pre-purchased rights for more than 20 territories.  International sales are managed by Les Films du Losange.

No need to say film is must-be-seen for me and absolutely will be "dying" until I finally watch film.  Sigh.

Arnaud Desplechin with Les Fantomes d'Ismaël (Ismael's Ghosts)

To be honest I'm more attracted to the cast than to story or director but three of my most favorite actors together is too-much for me!  Marion Cotillard, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Louis Garrel, Alba Rohrwacher and well, Mathieu Amalric star in this film with a "crazy" story about returning from the dead.

Check synopsis: a widowed film director who is in the middle of making a film about an atypical diplomat inspired by his brother.  While he started a new life with Sylvia (Gainsbourg), he still mourns the dead of a former lover, Carlotta (Cotillard), who passed away 20 years earlier; then Carlotta returns from the dead...

Desplechin has competed in Cannes five times and his latest film, My Golden Days, opened in 2015 Cannes in the Directors' Fortnight.  So because his Cannes background there are high possibilities he makes it to the selection this year and not only because the magnificent five-star cast that will attract local and international coverage.  Film was produced by Le Pacte and Magnolia already acquired US rights.

Anne Fontaine with Marvin

Written by Anne Fontaine and Pierre Trividic the story revolves around Martin Clément, born Marvin Bijou, who ran away from his hometown and his family. He retells his story through a stage play that proves to be a smash hit. But at what price?

Interestingly, while the film borrows its central plot from the novel En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule by Edouard Louis (which outlines the childhood and teenage years of a young boy in a village, where he is shunned by the inhabitants and even by his own family when he comes out as a homosexual), it simultaneously takes the story a littler further, as the movie follows the character until the age of 23, whereas the storyline of the book comes to a halt when he starts secondary school.

Delving into the topics of stigmatization just because someone is different and the building of one’s identity, the plot also shows how the character eventually manages to dig himself out of a very distressing situation thanks to his various encounters.

Most interesting story will be played by none other than Isbelle Huppert, Charles Berling and Finnegan Oldfield as Marvin.  Film was produced by Ciné@ and P.A.S. Productions; co-produced by F Comme Film, Mars Films and France 2 Cinéma. Film is pre-purchased by Canal+ and Ciné+. International sales will be handled by TF1 Studio.

Anne Fontaine films have opened "everywhere" including in Cannes twice but never in the main competition.  Release date is estimated to autumn 2017 which suggests that if doesn't make it to Cannes still has time for Venice where she has been in competition; she has also been in Locarno, San Sebastian and Sundance.

Abdellatif Kechiche with Mektoub is Mektoub

Know Kechiche became known internationally because of his triple Palm d'Or win (one for film two for actresses) with Blue is the Warmest Color; but I know his work long before his remarkable achievement, first with outstanding The Secret of the Grain that made me go back to his previous work, and after, forward into Black Venus. He truly mesmerizes me as a storyteller of the ordinary told in the most extraordinary style.

Film has a working title, so final name could be different; it is loosely based on Antoine Bégaudeau’s novel La blessure, la vraie and tells about a young scriptwriter who recently moved to Paris and heads down to his hometown in the Mediterranean for summer vacation.  One evening he meets Jasmine and with her he wants to experiment passion.  He is introduced to a big producers who offer to finance his first film, but the producer's wife hits on him and he finds himself confronted with several choices.

Not sure if Kechiche's latest opus will or will not be ready for Cannes but hope so; still know that he has also won the Golden Lion at 2000 Biennale and has been back in the main competition, so there are chances he goes back to Venice.  Film is produced by Kechiche's production house Quat'sous Films co-produced by France 2 Cinéma, Pathé, and Bianca Film, which makes film majority French and minority Italian.

Sergei Loznitsa with A Gentle Creature

Will close Part One with another non-French director as Loznitsa was born in Barnovichi, USSR; but his latest opus is a French production, with Ukrainian, Russian,  Romanian and Lithuanian actors and in the Russian-language.

He is better-known for his outstanding documentaries but his fiction films have the most interesting visual and narrative storytelling style; so, I'm glad that this feature film, his third, gives us a chance to visit his particular style.  Film is inspired in Dostoyevsky's short story that Loznitsa translates into a voyage to the land of crime without punishment.

Check synopsis: A woman lives alone on the outskirts of a village in Russia. One day she receives a parcel she sent to her incarcerated husband, marked ‘return to sender’. Shocked and confused, the woman has no choice but to travel to the prison in a remote region of the country in search of an explanation. So begins the story of a battle against this impenetrable fortress, the prison where the forces of social evil are constantly at work. Braving violence and humiliation, in the face of all opposition, our protagonist embarks on a blind quest for justice.

According to Wild Bunch, production company is Paris-based company Slot Machine (majority French) in production with Russia's GP Cinema Company, Germany's LOOKSFilm, Netherland's Wild at Art and Graniet Film Lithuania's Studio Uljana Kim and Arte France Cinéma. Les Films du Losange will distribute in France.

France Part Two will follow soon.  Enjoy!!!

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