Sophie Fillières' final film to open Cannes Directors’ Fortnight

Agnès Jaoui escapes to the Highlands in filmmaker's fond farewell

by Richard Mowe

Agnès Jaoui in This Life Of Mine to be screened as the opening film in the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight
Agnès Jaoui in This Life Of Mine to be screened as the opening film in the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight Photo: The Party Film Sales
Sophie Fillières who died last year at the age of 58, left behind a 'very intimate self-portrait, to which Agnès Jaoui lends body and soul'
Sophie Fillières who died last year at the age of 58, left behind a 'very intimate self-portrait, to which Agnès Jaoui lends body and soul' Photo: Photo Unifrance
A respected French female filmmaker who died last year, will have her final film This Life of Mine screened in the opening slot on May 15 of the 77th edition of the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight.

Sophie Fillières managed to shoot the film last summer before her untimely death at the age of 58. The film titled in French Ma Vie, Ma Gueule, was finished by members of her family who include her partner, the filmmaker Pascal Bonitzer.

The film follows a middle-aged woman who travels to the Scottish Highlands to escape the harsh realities of her life and stars Agnès Jaoui, Philippe Katherine, Valérie Donzelli, Edouard Sulpice, Angelina Woreth and Emmanuel Salinger.

Fillières was a contemporary of Arnaud Desplechin, Noémie Lvovsky and Pascale Ferran, and was considered a worthy representative of the "young French cinema" of the 1990s.

Julien Rejl, director of the Fortnight says: “It is a terribly moving film, since it is a filmmaker’s very intimate self-portrait, to which Agnès Jaoui lends body and soul.”

The closing film of the selection is another French offering Plastic Guns, described as an off-beat crime comedy featuring actor Jonathan Cohen and will be shown on 24 May.

Four American titles feature in the line-up and will include India Donaldson’s coming-of-age tale Good One, which premiered at Sundance. The film stars newcomer Lily Collias, alongside James Le Gros (Showing Up) and Danny McCarthy (Somebody, Somewhere). Others are Gazer with Ariella Mastroianni as a young mother with a rare degenerative brain condition; Carson Lund’s Eephus, set against the backdrop of a small-town baseball field. Unusually documentary director Frederick Wiseman has a role alongside Keith William Richards.

Mongrel, a first film from Taiwan features in the selection
Mongrel, a first film from Taiwan features in the selection Photo: Le Quinzaine des Cinéastes
Two Japanese titles will join the throng: Yôko Yamanaka’s Desert of Namibia and Yôko Kuno and Nobuhiro Yamashita’s Ghost Cat Anzu. Taiwan will be represented by Mongrel directed by Chiang Wei Jiang and You /Qiao, a first feature about an undocumented migrant and caregiver, who struggles to preserve his humanity as he cares for the elderly and disabled in a rural area.

French cinema has a strong presence besides the opening and closing titles with Caroline Poggi and Jonathan Vinel’s science-fiction offering Eat the Night, Patricia Mazuy’s Visiting Hours and Thierry de Peretti’s In His Own Image.

Unveiling the programme in Paris today the organisers said that following on from the previous edition, the 2024 selection is less an attempt to draw a map of global film production than to create an editorial line composed of genuine bets, favourites, and films that have been intensely debated within the committee. “Our main compass has always been the singularity of a film’s mise-en-scene, as well as its poetry, its affective power, its imaginary, and its authenticity,” the selection committee said in a statement.

“We paid equal attention to all cinematographic forms and styles: fiction, documentary, animation, experimental, genre cinema (comedy, fantasy, horror, etc.) and essay films. We considered all the films we received – from the most eagerly awaited to the most discreet – with the same graciousness. The Fortnight will continue to celebrate cinema in all its diversity.”

As previously announced British filmmaker Andrea Arnold, whose new film Bird features in the Festival’s official Competition revealed last week, will receive the Fortnight’s Golden Coach award to be presented during the opening ceremony.

The Fondation Chantal Akerman (also previously announced) will support the People’s Choice Award with the winning film-maker receiving a prize of 7500 euros. To mark the participation Akerman’s 1989 film American Stories: Food, Family and Philosophy will also have a special screening.

Feature Films

  • This Life Of Mine (Ma Vie Ma Gueule), by Sophie Fillières (France) Opening Film
  • Christmas Eve In Miller’s Point, by Tyler Taormina (US)
  • Desert Of Namibia (Namibia No Sabaku), by Yôko Yamanaka (Japan)
  • East Of Noon (Sharq 12), by Hala Elkoussy (Egypt)
  • Eat The Night, by Caroline Poggi and Jonathan Vinel (France)
  • Eephus, by Carson Lund (US), First Feature Film
  • Gazer, by Ryan J. Sloan (US), First Feature Film
  • Ghost Cat Anzu (Bakeneko Anzu-Chan), by Yôko Kuno and Nobuhiro Yamashita (Japan)
  • Good One, by India Donaldson (États-Unis), First Feature Film
  • In His Own Image (À Son Image), By Thierry De Peretti (France)
  • Mongrel, by Chiang Wei Liang & You Qiao Yin (Taiwan), First Feature Film
  • Savanna And The Mountain (A Savana E A Montanha), by Paulo Carneiro (Portugal)
  • Sister Midnight, by Karan Kandhari (India)
  • Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed (Algo Viejo, Algo Nuevo, Algo Prestado), by Hernán Rosselli (Argentina)
  • The Falling Sky (A Queda Do Céu / La Chute Du Ciel), by Eryk Rocha and Gabriela Carneiro Da Cunha (Brazil)
  • The Hyperboreans (Los Hiperbóreos), by Cristóbal León and Joaquín Cociña (Chile)
  • The Other Way Around (Volveréis, Septembre Sans Attendre), by Jonás Trueba (Spain)
  • To A Land Unknown, by Mahdi Fleifel (Palestine, Denmark)
  • Universal Language (Une Langue Universelle), by Matthew Rankin (Canada)
  • Visiting Hours (La Prisonnière De Bordeaux), by Patricia Mazuy (France)
  • Plastic Guns (Les Pistolets En Plastique), by Jean-Christophe Meurisse (France), Closing Film

Special Screening

    American Stories: Food, Family And Philosophy (Histoires D’amérique : Food, Family And Philosophy) By Chantal Akerman (Belgium)

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