Final Cannes cut from Directors’ Fortnight

Saulnier, Garrel, Desplechin, Van Dormael, Ayouch make the mix.

by Richard Mowe

Benoit Poelvorde and Yolande Moreau in Jaco Van Dormael’s The Brand New Testament
Benoit Poelvorde and Yolande Moreau in Jaco Van Dormael’s The Brand New Testament

The final major piece of the Cannes Film Festival jigsaw was put in place today (21 April) when the Directors’ Fortnight (La Quinzaine des Réalisateurs) listed its full line-up of 19 titles (including the three part Arabian Nights).

Arabian Nights by Portugal’s Michel Gomes, lasts more than six hours and, with no other likely contenders, looks set to be the longest film in Cannes this year. Previously Gomes was in the Fortnight with Our Beloved Month Of August premiered there seven years ago.

Other significant directors in the mix include Belgium’s Jaco Van Dormael with The Brand New Testament, a religious satire with god played by Benoit Poelvoode and Yolande Moreau and Catherine Deneuve in the cast, and Japan’s Takashi Miike with Yakuza Apocalypse: The Great War Of The Underworld (in a special screening slot), while US director Jeremy Saulnier offers Green Room, a tale of a band of punk rockers trapped in a secluded venue, fighting for their lives against neo-Nazis.

Benicio del Toro in A Perfect Day, Fernando Leon de Aranoa’s English-language debut.
Benicio del Toro in A Perfect Day, Fernando Leon de Aranoa’s English-language debut.

Two praised titles from the Sundance Film Festival receive pride of place: Rick Famuyiwa’s Los Angeles-set comic thriller Dope, set to close the Fortnight on 24 May, and Chloe Zhao’s Native American drama Songs My Brothers Taught Me.

Benicio Del Toro, Tim Robbins and Olga Kurylenko head the cast of Spain’s Fernando Leon de Aranoa’s A Perfect Day, marking the director’s English-language debut.

As already announced, Arnaud Desplechin’s My Golden Years deservedly has found a slot while the opening film remains Philippe Garrel’s In The Shadow Of Women.

One of Morocco’s much revered film-makers, Nabil Ayouch (who made Ali Zaoua: Prince Of The Streets and Horses Of God), has devised Much Loved, a social drama about four prostitutes living on the edge in Marrakech, which sounds suitably compelling.

As with the Festival’s official Competition the UK film industry seems to have been forgotten – or had nothing impressive to offer.

Opening film

In The Shadow Of Women (Dir Philippe Garrel, France)

Main Programme

Allende, Mi Abuelo Allende (Marcia Tambutti, Chile-Mexico).

Arabian Nights (Miguel Gomes, Portugal).

The Brand New Testament (Jaco van Dormael, Luxembourg-France-Belgium).

The Cowboys (Thomas Bidegain, France).

Embrace Of The Serpent (Ciro Guerra, Colombia-Venezuela-Argentina)

Fatima (Philippe Faucon, France)

My Golden Years (Arnaud Desplechin, France).

Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier, US).

The Here After (Magnus von Horn, France-Poland-Sweden).

Much Loved (Nabil Ayouch, Morroco-France).

Mustang (Deniz Gamze Erguven, France).

Peace To Us In Our Dreams (Sharunas Bartas, Lithuania-France).

A Perfect Day (Fernando Leon de Aranoa, Spain).

Songs My Brothers Taught Me (Chloe Zhao, US).

Special screening

Yakuza Apocalypse: The Great War Of The Underworld (Takashi Miike, Japan).

Closing film

Dope (Rick Famuyiwa, US).

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