Festival bigwig Thierry Frémaux warned us to expect shocks and surprises from this year’s festival line-up, distilled down from over 1900 features to an intriguing list of 18 – and there will be a few more additions before May 8th. The main question is “where are the stars?” or better still “Where is Isabelle Huppert” doyenne of the Croisette – up to now. The answer seems to be that they are on the jury – presided by Cate Blanchett, who is joined by Lea Seydoux, Kristen Stewart, Denis Villeneuve, Robert Guédiguian, Ava Duvernay, Khadja Nin, Chang Chen and Andrey Zvyagintsev.
Last year’s 70th Anniversary bumper issue seems to have swept in a more eclectic and sleek selection of features in the competition line-up vying for the coveted Palme D’Or. There are new films from veterans Jean-Luc Godard (The Image Book), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman) and Oscar winner Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War), and some very long films – 9 exceed two hours. Three female filmmakers make the main competition in the shape of Caramel director Nadine Labaki with Capernaum, Alice Rohrwacher with Lazzaro Felice and Eve Husson presenting Girls of the Sun. Kazakh filmmaker Sergei Dvortsevoy rose to indie fame at Cannes Un Certain Regard 2008 with his touching title Tulpan, and he is back now in the main competition line-up with a hot contender in the shape of AYKA or My Little One.
Scanning through the selection for British fare – the Ron Howard “directed” (Thierry’s words not mine) Solo, A Star Wars Story stars Thandie Newton, Paul Bethany and Emilia Clarke but no sign of Mike Leigh’s Peterloo. And although Matteo Garrone’s Dogman is there and is a hot contender for this year’s Palme, the much-awaited Jacques Audiard latest The Sisters Brothers, and Joanna Hogg’s hopeful The Souvenir Parts I and II are nowhere to be seen- but Lars von Trier is still very much ‘de trop’ on the Riviera, or so it would seem. Thierry is still thinking about this one. And on reflection he has now added The House That Jack Built – out of competition.
Apart from Godard, there are two other French titles: Stéphane Brizé will present At War, and Christophe Honoré’s Sorry Angel – in competition, and these features will open shortly afterwards in the local cinemas – to keep the Cannois happy. The Un Certain Regard sidebar has 6 feature debuts in a line-up of 15. And the special screening section offers Wang Bing’s Dead Souls with its 8 hour running time allowing for a quick petit-dej on the Croisette before the following days’ viewing starts!
It Follows director David Robert Mitchell will be in Cannes with his eagerly anticipated follow-up Under the Silver Lake. And Chinese auteur Jia Zhangke brings another Palme d’Or hopeful in the shape of Ash is Purest White, starring his wife and long-term collaborator Tao Zhao. First time director A B Shawky presents the only debut feature in the competition strand Yomeddine – a leper road movie from Egypt – and it’s a comedy!. Iranians Jafar Panahi (Three Faces) and Asghar Farhadi (Everybody Knows) also make the list – with Farhadi’s film starring Penelope Cruz and husband Javier Bardem and opening the festival this year.
So out with the old guard – Naomi Kawase included – and in with the new – is Thierry’s message this year. Let’s hope it’s a good one. And stay tuned for more additions and coverage from the sidebars Un Certain Regard, ACID, Semaine de la Critique and Directors’ Fornight. MT
CANNES FILM FESTIVAL 8 -22 MAY 2018
EVERY BODY KNOWS – Asghar Farhadi
AT WAR - Stéphane Brizé
DOGMAN – Matteo Garrone
LE LIVRE D’IMAGE – Jean-Luc Godard
NETEMO SAMETEMO (ASAKO I & II) (ASAKO I & II) – Ryusuke Hamaguchi
SORRY ANGEL – Christophe Honore
GIRLS OF THE SUN – Eva Husson
ASH IS PUREST WHITE – Zia Zhangke
SHOPLIFTERS – Kor-eda Hirokazu
CAPERNAUM – Nadine Labaki
BUH-NING (BURNING) – Lee Chang-Dong
BLACKKKLANSMAN – Spike Lee
UNDER THE SILVER LAKE – David Robert Mitchell
THREE FACES – Jafar Panahi
ZIMNA WOJNA/Cold War – Pawel Pawlikowski
LAZZARO FELICE – Alice Rohrwacher
LETO – Kirill Serebrennikov
YOMEDDINE – A B Shawky
KNIFE + HEART – Yann Gonzalez
These two films by Yann Gonzalez and Sergey Dvortsevoy are both directors’ second feature. It will be their first time in Competition.
The Competition 2018 will be composed of 21 films.
SHADOW – Zhang Yimou (out of competition)
THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT – Lars von Trier (out of competition)