Woody, Moretti, Van Sant and Haynes return to Cannes

Festival unveils its diverse 2015 vintage

by Richard Mowe

Thierry Fremaux, the Cannes Film Festival’s artistic director, unveils his programme in Paris today.
Thierry Fremaux, the Cannes Film Festival’s artistic director, unveils his programme in Paris today. Photo: Richard Mowe

The suspense is over – well almost. Today (16 April) the Cannes Film Festival’s artistic director Thierry Fremaux revealed most of his official selection including the return of Woody Allen and new films by Todd Haynes, Nanni Moretti, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Gus Van Sant and Denis Villeneuve, as well as a strong Gallic contingent headed by Jacques Audiard – but a few gaps remain to be filled in the coming weeks before the start of the 68th edition on 13 May.

Flanked by his new president Pierre Lescure at a media gathering in one of the most prestigious cinemas left on the Champs d’Elysées, the UGC Normandie, Fremaux defended his choices and those of his three selection committees, which paid attention to geographic, artistic and cinematic considerations as well as supporting talents nurtured by Cannes in the past. Only 17 films in the official competition were announced and 14 for the sidebar Un Certain Regard.

Gus Van Sant’s The Sea Of Trees
Gus Van Sant’s The Sea Of Trees

With just two American titles, by Haynes and Van Sant, in the running for the Palme d’Or, and an almost non-existent UK contingent (Fremaux could only cite Macbeth, an adaptation by Australian Justin Kurzel (The Snowtown Murders) with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cottillard) the main focus for the jury headed by the Coen Brothers is likely to be Italy with three titles, France with four and a diverse Asian presence.

There will be plenty of stars around for the red carpet, not least Cate Blanchett, who features in Haynes’s Carol, a 1950s lesbian love story. Van Sant’s The Sea Of Trees stars Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe and deals with suicide.

From Canada, Denis Villeneuve has assembled a stellar cast for his Mexican drug-cartel drama Sicario, with Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin; while Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos unites Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz for a spot of sci-fi in The Lobster. Norwegian director Joachim Trier boasts Isabelle Huppert, Gabriel Byrne and Jesse Eisenberg in Louder Than Bombs, a family drama.

Allen, despite entreaties by Fremaux, declined to be part of the Competition but has agreed for his new work Irrational Man to be screened, bringing his cast of Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone to the Croisette. There will also be razzamatazz in connection with the already announced showings of Mad Max: Fury Road with Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, Pixar’s cartoon extravaganza Inside Out and Mark Osborne’s animated reworking of Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince with the voices of Benicio Del Toro, Marion Cotillard and Riley Osborne.

Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone in Irrational Man
Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone in Irrational Man

Asif Kapadia's new documentary, Amy, about the rock star Amy Winehouse, finds a midnight slot.

As if to demonstrate that diversity is the name of the game Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Assassin is said to be a Tang Dynasty martial arts epic – and Fremaux was particularly pleased to welcome the director back after eight years when his Flight Of The Red Balloon opened Un Certain Regard.

Matteo Garrone who has won Cannes Grand Prix winner for Gomorrah (2008) and Reality (2012), delivers an English-language horror/fantasy featuring Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel and John C. Reilly, while his compatriot Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty) also works in English for Youth, an ironic treatise about old age with Michael Caine as a retired orchestra conductor.

Although many titles touted as in the running appear to have dropped for various reasons (among them Terence Davies’s Sunset Song) Fremaux was reluctant to rule anything out at this stage. “There is always hope,” he said diplomatically.

Opening Film

Emmanuelle Bercot - Standing Tall / La Tête Haute - Out of Competition


Jacques Audiard - Dheepan

Stéphane Brizé - A Simple Man / La Loi Du Marché

Valérie Donzelli - Marguerite And Julien

Matteo Garrone - The Tale Of Tales / Il Racconto Dei Racconti

Todd Haynes - Carol

Hou Hsiao Hsien - The Assassin / Nie Yin Yiang

Jia Zhang-Ke - Mountains May Depart / Shan He Gu Ren

Kore-eda Hirokazu - Our Little Sister / Umimachi Diary

Justin Kurzel - Macbeth

Yorgos Lanthimos - The Lobster

Maïwenn - My King / Mon roi

Nanni Moretti - Mia Madre

László Nemes - Son of Saul / Saul Fia

Paolo Sorrentino - Youth

Joachim Trier - Louder Than Bombs

Gus Van Sant - The Sea Of Trees

Denis Villeneuve - Sicario

Un Certain Regard

Neeraj Ghaywan - Masaan

Grímur Hákonarson - Rams / Hrútar

Kurosawa Kiyoshi - Journey To The Shore / Kishibe No Tabi

Laurent Larivière - I am A Soldier / Je Suis Un Soldat

Dalibor Matanic - The High Sun / Zvizdan

Roberto Minervini - The Other Side

Radu Muntean - One Floor Below / Un Etaj Mai Jos

Oh Seung-Uk - The Shameless / Mu-roe-han

David Pablos - The Chosen Ones / Las Elegidas

Ida Panahandeh - Nahid

Corneliu Porumboiu - The Treasure / Comoara

Gurvinder Singh - The Fourth Direction / Chauthi Koot

Shin Suwon - Madonna

Alice Winocour - Maryland

Out of Competition

Woody Allen - Irrational Man

Pete Docter and Ronaldo del Carmen - Inside Out

George Miller - Mad Max: Fury Road

Mark Osborne - The Little Prince

Midnight Screenings

Hong Won-Chan - Office / O Piseu

Asif Kapadia - Amy

Special Screenings

Samuel Benchetrit - Asphalte

Souleymane Cissé - Oka

Elad Keidan - In The Spirit Of The Stairway / Hayored lema'ala

Natalie Portman - A Tale Of Love And Darkness / Sipur Al Ahava Ve Choshech

Barbet Schroeder - Amnesia

Pavle Vuckovic - Panama

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