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#Oscars2018 Foreign-Language Film: Today, September 25, submission from Singapore.

Friday, March 25, 2016

#Cannes2016 Wish List - Part Five American Directors


Have not doubt that this year American cinema journalists are the ones that speculate the most with the films that could be in Cannes this year, specially with the ones that could make it to the competition. There is more press coverage from UK, France, Germany and more European countries, but if something they tend to agree is that 2016 will bring to Cannes more than the usual share of American films.

Perhaps the reason why so many American movies have a significant degree of opportunity to make it is based on the filmmaker and well, the "stars" that hopefully give good performances in film. The bad news is that speculation claims that Derek Cianfrance's The Light Between Oceans will not be ready as well as Terrence Malick doc Voyage of Time, Martin Scorsese's Silence and Oliver Stone's Snowden; soon enough we will find if they rush to make Cannes or not, but no matter what, obviously those are films that will watch as Cianfrance's film stars none other than the IN couple Alicia Vikander and Michael Fassbender.

Talking about Fassbender makes me think about the other film by Terrence Malick that is "completed" according to IMDb, Weightless, so let's start with this director and film.

Terrence Malick with Weightless

Not a Malick recent movies fan but who can resist a film with Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Natalie Portman, Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Holly Hunter, Christian Bale, Val Kilmer, Benicio del Toro and more? Not me, even when now I wonder if will like Malick's version of 2 love triangles set in the music scene in Austin, Texas. Alright admit no one is talking about this film an Cannes but gee, wouldn't be nice to have Cate and Rooney walking the red carpet again this year? Sigh.

Jeff Nichols with Loving

I see everything with Jeff Nichols and I love his filmmaking style and his storytelling style, so I'm looking forward to see his 2016 Berlinale in competition Midnight Special and wouldn't be nice for him to be also in Cannes competition with Loving? Oh, yes!

Film distribution rights were acquired by Focus Features upon seeing some assembled footage at the European Film Market; so distribution is assured and we (pundits and me) hope make it to Cannes and to the competition. Story has to be impact-full as tells about an interracial couple sentenced to prison in Virginia in 1958 for getting married.

Tom Ford with Nocturnal Animals

Tom Ford has a second movie and distributors went crazy at 2015 Cannes market battling for distribution rights. Focus Features won by paying $20 million for what was then more a project than a film. That's the power of incipient director and acclaimed Fashion Designer after his AWESOME (yes, with capital letters) 2009 A Single Man that opened in Venice and went to win the Queer Lion and Colin Firth the Volpi Cup.

No, Tom Ford hasn't been in Cannes and believe that he graduated to be part of the mother of all festivals, but know that if film doesn't open in Cannes will do in Venice. Sigh.

So let's be positive as film has an interesting cast lead by Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Amy Adams, Isla Fisher and more in a story that screams "festival" (lol) all over: A story inside a story -about a book manuscript called Nocturnal Animals- which is give to Susan by her ex-husband, a man she left 20-years earlier. So one story is about Susan and the inside story (the other story) is about the manuscript. Story is based on Austin Wright novel called "Tony and Susan".

If something I do not question are film production values that imagine will have the almost perfect esthetics of his debut film. Can't wait to see this film.

Damien Chazelle with La La Land

If you wonder who Chazelle is because you forgot or lost info in you so-full-of-info brain, think Whiplash that opened in Sundance, went to 2014 Cannes Quinzaine and got multiple accolades during the fest and award circuit of that year, including multiple Oscar nominations and a win. Now think another movie with a stellar cast that includes Emma Stone, Ryan gosling, J. K. Simmons, Rosemarie DeWitt, John Legend and more; you know film has good credentials for festival opening.

Film release is set to "Oscar-friendly" December 2 for limited and December 16 for general release. Dates make me wonder if a Venice fest opening is more strategic than Cannes. Sigh.

Sean Penn with The Last Face

Penn used to be one of the many, cinema L'Enfant Terrible, so absolutely he knows Cannes both as an actor as well as a director; so makes sense that his latest film done after nine years of directorial absence, will find place in Cannes and buzz plus gossip place film in the Official Selection, but wonder if will be out or in competition.

Film has a stellar cast with Charlize Theron, Javier Bardem, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Jean Reno, and one actor that I was not aware of: the son of Sean Penn and Robin Wright, Hopper Penn. Interesting. Film tells about a director (Charlize Theron) of an international aid agency in Africa who meets a relief aid doctor (Javier Bardem) amidst a political/social revolution, and together face tough choices surrounding humanitarianism and life through civil unrest.

Besides the obvious reason of highly enjoying seeing Charlize Theron walking the red carpet again this year, now along Bardem and Exarchopoulos, film has the right quality for attending top festival and if we believe American press "insiders" then film will be in Cannes -no matter what! lol.

Jodie Foster with Money Monster

Will this be the opening film, I do not know but American pundits say is a "fact" film will be in Cannes this year and well, besides Jodie Foster being a true darling in France and French cinema (even do she hasn't done many French films), her film has a cast that will assure lots of press and photographers on the opening night as everyone's love George Clooney and Julia Roberts! (lol)

Alright, film also has an actress I highly enjoy in her TV performances, Irish Caitriona Balfe plus Dominic West, Jack O'Connell and more; all in a story that screams Oscars more than festival, about a financial advice show host who's taken hostage by a man trying to find out how he lost his money following the financial collapse.

Woody Allen with Café Society

Allen's untitled project has a name and social media went crazy as film stars none other than Kristen Stewart. If this film and Assaya's film make it to Cannes Official Selection, Stewart will walk the red carpet twice this year, which for a young actress is quite a career achievement. Still, has to happen, but if buzz is true, then it will.

Lately I'm not so sure about Allen movies, as some I highly enjoy but others are forgettable. Know he's back into full production, almost one film or more a year, but wish he would prefer quality to quantity (sigh). Nevertheless he's a legend and yes, his films open in festivals -not in competition as he doesn't like to compete- but surely out-of-competition.

Of course I'm dying to see film but more for the actress that finally is getting the attention as a serious actress she has been since she was a kid.

Ang Lee with Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

This USA, UK and China co production have low Cannes buzz, but since was talking about Kristen Stewart, couldn't skip the latest Ang Lee film where she has lead female role along Vin Diesel, Garrett Hedlund, Steve Martin, and more. Tells about a company that survive a harrowing battle that's captured by news cameras and brought home for promotional tour.

No, film is NOT what it seems as we have to recall who the director is, so there are chances that Stewart will stay for the whole fest (lol -I'm kidding). Wonder if distributor will allow Cannes opening as release date has been set for US Veteran's Day, November 11, 2016.

Now let's talk ab it about not American directors doing American Films

Denis Villeneuve with Story of Your Life

After Sicario, Villeneuve goes Sci-fi with a film starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Foris Whitaker, and telling about an expert linguist with the task to determine if alien crafts that landed around the world, come in peace or not. (lol)

I now story seems silly, but again we have to consider WHO the director is and well, think Sicario and more important think his early Canadian films like Polytechnique and surely we all imagine the storytelling and filmmaking style he will impregnate to story, to hopefully making a lot more interesting than a suggested synopsis.

Still, two years in a row in Cannes competition are not usual for any director and definitively if it happens will be an extraordinary achievement for the director.

Alexandros Avranas with True Crimes

Have to admit that in paper this film looks odd/strange to be nice but when we consider that Avranos won the Silver Lion for Best Director for 2013 Miss Violence and film stars none other than Charlotte Gainsbourg, Agata Kulesza plus (here comes my surprise) Jim Carrey, and telling about a murder investigation of a slain business man turning to clues found in an author's book about an eerily similar crime, then we know there has to be something different in this film.

From the few film stills was able to imagine spectacular cinematography that goes to the darkish/absence-of-light/dark-tinted visuals, which obviously attracts me to film beyond me watching everything with Charlotte Gainsbourg. By-the-way this is an USA, Poland and UK production.  Not sure if film will make it to Cannes, but if not, most likely will be in Venice.

David Michôd with War Machine

The director of infamous Animal Kingdom (soon to be an American TV series) has a new film, an USA production, with a star that opens doors with his name, Brad Pitt and a story that yes, screams festival (!) as is a satire of America's war with Afghanistan with a focus on the people running the campaign. Film is produced by Netflix, so know film will not be blocked to open in Cannes just because a late-2016 USA release.

Not much Cannes buzz for film but the 2010 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner has pay his dues and believe graduated to any of the 3 major film festivals. If not Cannes, then could be Venice but will depend on when Netflix plans stream release.

Nicolas Winding Refn with The Neon Demon

We know where horror has its place in Cannes as most horror films end up in the Midnight Screenings of the Official Selection. Film has been labeled Horror and Thriller so wonder how much thriller or horror really has to deserve a spot at that Cannes section or maybe in other competitive or not section.

But a new Nicolas Winding Refn film is always news no matter if it is for all audiences or not; to be more factual, most of his films definitively are NOT for all audiences (lol) but I have enjoy them, even the darkest ones.

I'm curious about this film that does not star his regular Ryan Gosling but the surprising Keanu Reeves (yes I like him) plus Christina Hendricks, Elle Fanning, Jena Malone and more. Tells about aspiring model Jesse who moves to Los Angeles only to find her youth and vitality devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.

Was reading an interview with the cinematographer, Natasha Braier and will share what she said about working with Nicolas Winding Refn: "I think working with Nicolas Winding Refn is a gift for any cinematographer, because he is interested in visual story telling, in poetry, in suggesting rather than narrating." Very well put and yes, tells about some of the reasons why I enjoy his films.

Wish List Series Epilogue

Believe it or not, there are more American productions made or not by American Directors as list is really long.  Highly doubt many will made it to Cannes, but it's a fact that 2016 and early 2017 will be a great time to watch extraordinary American films and in my book, those are great news!

Will remind you that there is a very long list in post here with many more films from all over the world.

The wait is not too long as in less than a month we will learn the films in all Cannes sections, the not-so-good news is that as of tomorrow I'll be traveling, so coverage goes back to minimum for a long while. Sigh.

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