Monday, March 27, 2017

#Cannes2017 Wish List - Part 4 Female Filmmakers

Drop-by-drop suddenly stop last week so noise has been low, except for the many articles with Cannes possible films that populate almost every single movies site in the net.  Among the jungle there is one place that every year I recommend as lists 100 films for Cannes and predicts the festival section where each film may end; I'm talking about Wask that already published films from 41 position to 100 and still has two more posts to finish the 100 films for this year.  Unfortunately site is in French, but if you do not read/understand the language suggest to use google translator that works fine for basic info.  To check site please go here.

Already covered films by great filmmakers Anne Fontaine, Lucrecia Martel, Naomi Kawase, Urzula Antoniak, and Malgorzata Szumowska but want to explore deeper to find more films by female directors with Cannes possibilities and more important, that could become must-be-seen for me.

Lisa Langseth with Euforia (Euphoria)

Absolutely must-be-seen for me as Alicia Vikander is allover this movie which marks the third collaboration between Vikander and Langseth. Director hasn't opened in a major festival but with Vikander producing and acting I'm sure doors will open and then we have to consider that Langseth's first feature Pure premiered in Pusan and her second, Hotel was in Toronto, so she already has some experience.  Film is Langseth's first English-language and third feature film which means that Alicia Vikander has started in all her movies.

Synopsis: The story of two sisters on a journey, where they try to get close to each other and approach the tough questions in life. Euphoria is a contemporary drama about responsibility and reconciliation, in a world where these concepts are gradually being lost.

Produced by B-Reel Films (Sweden) and co produced by Vikarious Productions (Alicia Vikander production company based in UK) and Dancing Camel (Germany). Production aid from Filmregion Stockholm-Mälardalen, Sveriges Television, Nordsvensk Filmunderhållning, SF Studios & Reel Ventures.  Also produced in association with Wild Bunch Germany and Dorian Media Ltd. With the support from Creative Europe, Swedish Film Institute, FFF Bayern, Deutsches Filmförderfonds & Nordisk Film & TV Fund.  International sales are by Great Point Media.

According to the Swedish Film Institute, release date in Sweden will be on 2017-10-06, which I believe is October 6, 2017; date suggest film could have an early premiere in Cannes or wait for late summer release in Venice.

Clio Barnard with Dark River

Second feature film (or third when we consider award winning documentary The Arbor) by acclaimed British director better-known for her outstanding The Selfish Giant that opened in 2013 Cannes Directors' Fortnight and went to win the Label Europa Cinemas award.  She has the right credentials for Cannes and maybe this year she could be part of the Official Selection.

Synopsis: Following the death of her father, Alice returns to her home village for the first time in 15 years, to claim the tenancy to the family farm she believes is rightfully hers. Once there she is confronted by a brother she barely recognizes, worn down by years of trying to keep the farm going, who is naturally hostile to her arrival and her claim over the tenancy. Their dispute unearths traumatic memories for Alice, memories which have remained dormant for years but which now threaten both of their futures.

Produced by Moonspun Films with Left Bank Pictures; backed by Film4, the BFI Film Fund, Screen Yorkshire and the Wellcome Trust.  Protagonist Pictures is handling world sales.

Rebecca Daly with Good Favour

Third feature film by Irish director that rose to prominence in 2011 Cannes Directors' Fortnight with the Other Side of Sleep.

The story takes place in the middle of a forest in Germany, where a small community of Christians has settled. One day, a young man aged 18-19 appears out of nowhere and enters their lives. He’s very mysterious, no one knows where he’s from, and the story is about how he changes the community and how it changes him, and what that entails. Daly wrote the screenplay with Glenn Montgomery. The initial idea for the story came to us from an article about a young man wandering around Berlin who claimed he didn’t know who he was, before the truth finally came out that he came from Amsterdam and had simply run away from his responsibilities and his pregnant girlfriend. A pathetic ending to the story, no? But we liked the initial idea of a boy who appears out of nowhere, who says he can’t remember anything, and what effect that could have on others.

Produced by Savage Productions (Ireland), Viking Film (Netherlands), Final Cut for Real (Denmark) and Wrong Men (Belgium).

Haifaa Al-Mansour with Mary Shelley

Acclaimed director third film after 2005 documentary Women Without Shadows and outstanding 2012 Wadjda, her first in English and with major cast of young actors has right credentials to be her first film in Cannes perhaps making the Official Selection; but we can't ignore that Wadjda opened in Venice, so there are chances film could wait for a Venice premiere.

The story is another version of the love affair between poet Percy Shelley and 18-years-old Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, which resulted in Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein.  Elle Fanning plays Mary Shelley but cast also includes Maisie Williams, Bel Powley, Joanne Froggatt, Tom Sturridge and Douglas Booth as Percy Shelley.  Film was also known as Storm in the Stars.

Can't imagine the probable challenge the director faced as we all have learned what happens when a director does a film not in her/his mother tongue, where very few succeed and many fail.  But let's hope this is a success story that could translate into a major festival inclusion.

It's a production by Gidden Media (USA), HanWay Films (UK), Juliette Films (Luxembourg), Parallel Films (UK), Sobini Films (USA), in association with Head Gear Films and Metrol Technology. HanWay Films handles international sales.

Noémie Lvovsky with Demain et tous les autres jours (Tomorrow and Thereafter)

There is not much info available for this film but the stars are Lucie Saint-Jean, Mathieu Amalric, Denis Denis Podalydès and Lvovsky.

Most surprising is to find that film started production in 2015 and according to Unifrance current status is still post-production; so, have to wonder what's going on with this movie and if will/could be released this year.

Synopsis: Mathilde is ten years old. Her parents are separated and she lives alone with her mother. Her mother is disturbed and has trouble coping with everyday life and the real world. Mathilde can see that others consider her mother crazy, but to her it’s just everyday life. She protects her mother. She can sense the threat of separation, without knowing when or how it could take place. She does all she can to forestall it, fully aware that all her efforts are doomed to fail.

Produced by F Comme Film and Gaumont; co produced by France 2 Cinema. Gaumont Distribution will distribute in France.

Sofia Coppola with The Beguilded

Not really a Coppola fan as it's hard for me to positively appreciate her style, perhaps there is one film that I liked, Lost in Translation, but believe as she developed her filmmaking style, it evolved into a different direction from her first film. Nevertheless, have seen all her movies and there is little doubt when I say will see this one too. Sigh.

Lately Colin Farrell has been working hard and seems he's allover the place in many different genre films; so, no surprise he is in this film along Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning and Kristen Dunst. Not only cast has the right credentials for Cannes but also the director as she has been before in the festival as part of the Official Selection, therefore chances are that IF film is ready then could end up premiering in Cannes.  The only little -but important- drawback is because film is a remake!  Yes, is a remake of 1971 film with the same name by Don Siegel, starring Clint Eastwood, Geraldine Page and Elizabeth Harman.  Ah! the cherry on top of the remake is that Siegel's film was a commercial failure.

I know everything has been ruined for me as can't imagine Farrell playing Eastwood's role; also not easy to imagine a role played by Geraldine Page now played by Nicole Kidman -no matter how much I like Kidman when she's given the right role this one is perhaps too much for her or maybe she'll surprise as she has done before.

Here I am, talking a lot about a movie that no matter what know will watch -eventually.  So let's move forward to check synopsis:  At a girls' school in Virginia during the Civil War, where the young women have been sheltered from the outside world, a wounded Union soldier is taken in. Soon, the house is taken over with sexual tension, rivalries, and an unexpected turn of events.

Film is scheduled to open on June 30, 2017 which strangely enough makes it a "summer movie".

Lynne Ramsay with You Were Never Really Here

In 2016 Cannes a "splashy" deal was made and Amazon Studios won rights to this film directed by the acclaimed director of outstanding We Need To Talk About Kevin and starring none other than Joaquin Phoenix as a war vet who devotes himself to saving women exploited by sex traffickers.  Film is based on  Jonathan Ames novella with the same name.

Film's director plus lead make it absolutely must-be-seen for me no matter if it makes it or not to Cannes or any other film festival, sigh.  But there is no doubt that film credentials and story could appeal to any festival programmer and Ramsay as well as Phoenix have the right credentials to premiere in Cannes.

Synopsis:  A former Marine and ex–FBI agent, Joe has seen one too many crime scenes and known too much trauma, and not just in his professional life. Solitary and haunted, he prefers to be invisible. He doesn't allow himself friends or lovers and makes a living rescuing young girls from the deadly clutches of the sex trade. But when a high-ranking New York politician hires him to extricate his teenage daughter from a Manhattan brothel, Joe uncovers a web of corruption that even he may not be able to unravel. When the men on his trail take the only person left in the world who matters to him, he forsakes his pledge to do no harm. If anyone can kill his way to the truth, it's Joe.

Produced by Why Not Productions (France) and Sixteen Films (UK); coproduced by Page 114 (France) and developed with suppport of Film4 (UK) and BFI (UK). Amazon Studios will distribute in USA and StudioCanal in UK.

Ann Hui with 明月几时有 Ming Jyut Gei Si Jau (Our Time Will Come)

Our Time Will Come previously known as The Great Escape is the latest film from critically acclaimed director Ann Hui and stars Zhou Xun as Fang Gu, a school teacher who becomes a guerrila fighter in order to defend Hong Kong from Japanese occupation.

One of the most admired directors from Hong Kong with outstanding films like A Simple Life and The Golden Era, which premiered in Venice but she has been three times in Cannes and perhaps this film could make her comeback after the last time in 1990.   What worries me are the many news about this being a "different" Ann Hui film which don't know if are good or bad news; Polybona Films president says "film will present a brave, bloody and aggressive Ann Hui" (!!!) which definitively are good news to those that enjoy action movies but perhaps not for those -like me- that highly enjoy her quiet outstanding films.

Still, watching the teaser can see beauty in her images, so perhaps her filmmaking essence is still present no matter what everyone says.

Synopsis:  Set in the 1940s, the story tells the story of a legendary woman Fang Gu, who is one of the key figures during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong. It will also portrayal the fight and struggle for freedom and independence by youths of the resistance groups.

Film is slated to premier July 1st, 20 years after the day Britain transferred Hong Kong's sovereignty back to China.  Produced by Polybona Filmsand. Distributed by Bona Film Group Limited and Huaxia Film Distributions.

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