Stars to come out in force for Cannes

Spielberg, Almodovar, Penn, Loach, and Verhoeven head line-up.

by Richard Mowe

Almodovar on Julieta: 'I prefer to make films in which I don’t feel obliged to push my own emotions to the fore because I have become a bit bored with my own melancholy and sadness'
Almodovar on Julieta: 'I prefer to make films in which I don’t feel obliged to push my own emotions to the fore because I have become a bit bored with my own melancholy and sadness' Photo: Cannes Film Festival

With a sprinkling of new names and first films and a legion of familiar figures including the already announced opener from Woody Allen, Cafe Society (screening out of competition), the Cannes Film Festival’s artistic director unveiled the selection for the 69th edition earlier today (14 April) with the hope that despite heightened security the Festival will strike a balance and remain a place of “freedom and pleasure.”

Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga star in Mud and Take Shelter director Jeff Nichols' Loving, as the couple behind the 1967 civil rights case Loving Vs Virginia.
Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga star in Mud and Take Shelter director Jeff Nichols' Loving, as the couple behind the 1967 civil rights case Loving Vs Virginia. Photo: Cannes Film Festival

Thierry Férmaux predicted this would be one of the starriest Cannes for a while with both Jodie Foster and Steven Spielberg in out of competition slots, while its geographical reach was one of the widest from Romania to Chad via South Korea and Cambodia.

Among the highlights in prospect is the return to the fold of Pedro Almodovar with Juilieta, another strong female ensemble piece in which two actresses, Adriana Ugarte and Emma Suarez, share the role of the same character over 30 years; the re-emergence of Ken Loach with I, Daniel Blake despite his insistence of his retirement the last time he was in Cannes; Canadian wonder boy Xavier Dolan who was on the jury last year, with It’s Only The End Of The World starring Marion Cotillard, Lea Seydoux and Vincent Cassel; Sean Penn back as a director with The Last Face, which features Charlize Theron in a drama set in war-torn Liberia; Jeff Nichols, whose Midnight Special only premiered in Berlin in February, with Loving, a civil rights drama with Joel Egerton and Ruth Negga; and, for those with bloodythirsty tastes, Dane Nicolas Winding Refn with The Neon Demon, a horror set in the world of models.

Cannes favourite Bruno Dumont reteams with his Camille Claudel 1915 actress Juliette Binoche on his eighth feature film Slack Bay (Ma Loute).
Cannes favourite Bruno Dumont reteams with his Camille Claudel 1915 actress Juliette Binoche on his eighth feature film Slack Bay (Ma Loute). Photo: Unifrance

One of the most hotly anticipated titles will be Paul Verhoeven’s Elle, which sees the Dutch director work in French for the first time, with Isabelle Huppert playing a top executive in a video game company who exacts a terrible revenge on an intruder.

Romanian director Cristian Mungiu, who won the Palme d’Or for 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days, returns with Baccalaureat, about a small town doctor, while the Belgian Dardenne Brothers find a berth for The Unknown Girl with Adele Haenel (from Love At First Fight) alongside Dardenne regulars Jeremie Renier and Olivier Gourmet. Another Romanian, Cristi Puiu, whose The Death Of Mr Lazarescu and Aurora premiered in Un Certain Regard, will bring Sierra Nevada, which revolves around a contentious family reunion.

There is the usual strong French presence with Nicole Garcia’s From The Land Of The Moon, Bruno Dumont’s Slack Bay, Olivier Assayas’s Personal Shopper - in which he reteams with Kirsten Stewart (from Sils Maria) - and Alain Guiradie (Stranger By The Lake) with Staying Vertical, about a young father bringing up his son on his own.

Cannes Film Festival artistic director Thierry Frémaux listening attentively to media questions at the press launch in Paris
Cannes Film Festival artistic director Thierry Frémaux listening attentively to media questions at the press launch in Paris Photo: Richard Mowe

Jim Jarmusch, who has competed for the Palme d’Or no less than six times, offers Paterson, in which Adam Driver plays a bus driver who dabbles in poetry, as well as a midnight screening of his documentary Gimme Danger about The Stooges and Iggy Pop. Jarmusch has said: “I like to think of our film as both an unconventional portrait of, as well as an open love letter to, one of the greatest and most primal rock bands of all time.”

A few slots remain open but in a break with tradition the closing gala screening will be of the Palme d’Or winner rather than a surprise addition to the programme. Cannes closing choices have been notoriously lack lustre in the past.

The full line-up;-

Opening Film

  • Café Society - Woody Allen (USA) - Out of Competition.

Competition

  • Toni Erdmann - Maren Ade (Germany)
  • Julieta - Pedro Almodóvar (Spain)
  • American Honey - Andrea Arnold (UK)
  • Personal Shopper - Olivier Assayas (France)
  • La Fille Inconnue - Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (Belgium)
  • Juste La Fin Du Monde / It's Only The End Of The World - Xavier Dolan (Canada)
  • Ma Loute / Slack Bay - Bruno Dumont (France)
  • From The Land Of The Moon / Mal De Pierres - Nicole Garcia (France)
  • Rester Vertical - Alain Guiraudie (France)
  • Paterson - Jim Jarmusch (USA)
  • Aquarius - Kleber Mendonca Filho (Brazil)
  • I, Daniel Blake - Ken Loach (United-Kingdom)
  • Ma' Rosa - Brillante Mendoza (Philippines)
  • Bacalaureat - Cristian Mungiu (Romania)
  • Loving - Jeff Nichols (USA)
  • The Handmaiden / Agassi - Park Chan-Wook (South Korea)
  • The Last Face - Sean Penn (USA)
  • Sierra-Nevada - Cristi Puiu (Romania)
  • Elle - Paul Verhoeven (Netherlands)
  • The Neon Demon - Nicolas Winding Refn (Denmark)

Un Certain Regard

  • Inversion / Varoonego - Behnam Behzadi (Iran)
  • Apprentice - Boo Junfeng (Singapore)
  • The Stopover / Voir Du Pays - Delphine Coulin, Muriel Coulin (France)
  • The Dancer / La Danseuse - Stéphanie Di Giusto (France)
  • Clash / Eshtebak - Mohamed Diab (Egypt))
  • The Red Turtle / La Tortue Rouge - Michael Dudok De Wit (Netherlands)
  • Harmonium / Fuchi Ni Tatsu Fukada - Kôji (Japan)
  • Personal Affairs / Omor Shakhsiya - Maha Haj (Israel)
  • Beyond The Mountains And Hills / Me’ever Laharim - Vehagvaoteran Kolirin (Israel)
  • After The Storm - Kore-Eda Hirokazu (Japan)
  • The Happiest Day In The Life Of Olli Mäki / Hymyilävi Mies - Juho Kuosmanen (Finland)
  • Francisco Sanctis's Long Night / La Larga Noche De Francisco Sanctis - Francisco Márquez, Andrea Testa (Argentina)
  • Dogs / Caini - Bogdan Mirica (Romania)
  • Pericle Il Nero - Stefano Mordini (Italy)
  • The Transfiguration - Michael O’Shea (USA)
  • Captain Fantastic - Matt Ross (USA)
  • The Student / Uchenik - Kirill Serebrennikov (Russia)

Out Of Competition

  • The Nice Guys - Shane Black (USA)
  • Money Monster - Jodie Foster (USA)
  • Goksung Na - Hong-Jin (South Korea)
  • The BFG - Steven Spielberg (USA)

Midnight Screenings

  • Gimme Danger - Jim Jarmusch (USA)
  • Train To Busan/Bu-San-Haeng - Yeon Sang-Ho (South Korea)

Special Screenings

  • The Last Resort / L’Ultima Spiaggia - Davide Del Degan (Italy) & Thanos Anastopoulos (Greece)
  • Hissein Habré, A Chadian Tragedy - Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Chad)
  • Exil - Rithy Panh (Cambodia)
  • Last Days Of Louis XIV - Albert Serra (Spain)
  • Le Cancre - Paul Vecchiali (France)

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