Cannes 2016: Films We’re Excited For

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May 102016


The 2016 addition of the Cannes Film Festival, arguably the World’s most prestigious festival, is about to kick off in France. This year there is an unusually high 21 films competing for the Palm d’Or, after Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman was a late addition to the official competition. Outside of the official competition, films also screen in the Un Certain Regard section, as well as at a number of out of competition and special screenings.

With so much on, what is there to look out for? Well, we’ll be paying close attention to the reactions to the films listed after the jump.

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2016 Cannes Film Festival Line-up Announced

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Apr 152016


Yesterday evening the 2016 Cannes Film Festival line-up was announced. Always one of the highlights on the calendar year. For the first time, in one of the nerdiest decisions ever as a film buff, we watched the announcement on a Youtube live stream. In French. It had surprisingly little fanfare, simply two guys sitting at a table reading out the titles from a piece of paper. But, what they announced was an exciting list of films that went straight to our must-see lists.

The filmmakers competing in this year’s Official Competition include an all-star cast of Cannes veterans and first-time participants. It is an absolutely stacked field of world-class filmmakers, as you would expect. In the competition alone we can look forward to new films from… breathe, there are a lot…Mike Nichols (whose other new film Midnight Special is set to hit Australian cinemas next week), Jim Jarmusch (whose last film to premiere at Cannes, Only Lovers Left Alive, went on to become our favourite film of the year), Park Chan-wook (Korean legend – Oldboy, Stoker), Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (previous Palme d’Or winners – Two Days, One Night, Rosetta), Olivier Assayas (Clouds of Sils Maria), Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank, Red Road), Sean Penn (Into the Wild, and this is his first film since 2007), Nicolas Winding Refn (Only God Forgives, famously booed at Cannes a few years back, and Drive), Ken Loach (another previous Palme winner with The Wind That Shakes the Barley, but thought to have retired), Paul Verhoeven (just his fourth film of the 21st Century, but boasts an incredible career including RoboCop and Showgirls), Christian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Beyond the Hills), Pedro Almodovar (a Cannes regular, last time with The Skin I Live In), Alain Guiraudie (Stranger By the Lake) and Xavier Dolan (Canadian wunderkind making his second appearance in the Palme competition, after Mommy in 2014).

Check out the full list of films announced to screen as part of the Official Competition, Un Certain Regard, Midnight Screenings and Outside Competition, and let us know what films you are most looking forward to:

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68th Cannes Film Festival Winners

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May 252015


The Cannes Film Festival, the world’s most prestigious international film festival, is over for another year. Over the course of last twelve days 19 titles screened in the official competition before a jury led by the Coen Bros. Amongst some of the best received critically, at least from what I interpreted through my feed, were Todd Haynes’ Carol, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Assassin, Laszlo Nemes’ Son of Saul, Nanni Moretti’s Mi Madre, Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth and Denis Velleneuve’s Sicario. 

But, the jury award the Palme d’Or to Jacques Audiard for Dheepan, a drama about a Sri Lankan Tamil warrior who flees to France and ends up working as a caretaker outside Paris. Audiard’s last two films A Prophet and Rust and Bone both screened in the official competition, with the former winning the Grand Prix in 2009.

The Grand Prix (second prize) was awarded to Son of Saul, which sounds tremendous –  1944 Auschwitz, a prisoner forced to burn the corpses of his own people finds moral survival upon trying to salvage from the flames the body of a boy he takes for his son.

Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster was awarded the Jury Prize (third prize). This is the first English-language feature from the Greek director, featuring a cast including Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz and John C. Reilly.  Set in a dystopian near future, single people are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days or are transformed into animals and released into the woods. Lanthimos won the Grand Prix in the Un Certain Regard section in 2009 for Dogtooth.

Best Director was awarded to Hsiao-hsien for The Assassin and Best Screenplay was awarded to Michael Franco for Chronic. There was a lot of discussion about the possibility of Tim Roth winning Best Actor for his performance in Chronic, so the screenplay win was a surprise. Best Actress was shared by Rooney Mara for Carol and Emannuelle Bercot for Mon Roi. The former film was wonderfully received, and the performances for both Mara and Cate Blanchett were celebrated. Mon Roi, Maiwenn’s follow-up to the award-winning Polisse, was not well-received at all. Best Actor was awarded to Vincent London for The Measure of a Man, directed by Stephane Brize.

For a full list of this year’s winners, visit the official Cannes Film Festival website.

While it has been hard to gauge just how strong this year’s line-up is, there are certainly a bunch of Competition titles that sound very intriguing. In addition to the aforementioned winners I most look forward to when Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario, Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth, Matteo Garrone’s The Tale of Tales, Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth and Joachim Trier’s Louder Than Bombs all make it to Australian screens over the next twelve months.

Line-ups Announced for the 68th Cannes Film Festival

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Apr 172015


There have been a wave of announcements and reveals in the last 24 hours – a new Star Wars teaser, news that Ryan Gosling is in negotiations to star in the Blade Runner sequel – but the most exciting news for us is the announcement of the roster for the 68th Cannes Film Festival, which is set to run May 13-24.

This year’s intriguing line-up has an international selection of Cannes veterans and some former prize winners in Paolo Sorrentino (Youth), Jacques Audiard (Dheepan), Matteo Garrone (The Tale of Tales), Hou Hsiao Hsien (The Assassin), Jia Zhang-Ke (Mountains May Depart), Hirokazu Kore-Eda (Our Little Sister), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster) and Nanni Moretti (Mia Madre) as well as exciting new films from Denis Villeneuve (Sicario), Todd Haynes (Carol), Gus Van Sant (The Sea of Trees), Justin Kurzel (Macbeth) and Joachim Trier (Louder than Bombs).

Our most anticipated are the Sorrentino (This Must Be The Place and Oscar winner The Great Beauty), who is teaming up with Michael Caine and Jane Fonda for Youth, Villeneuve (Incendies, Prisoners, Enemy), working here with Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin), Haynes (Far From Heaven, I’m Not There), who has a likely-Oscar contender in Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, Trier, whose last film was the unforgettable Oslo, August 31, and Kore-Eda (Like Father, Like Son and I Wish), whose films are a joy so rare to find. 

Making out of competition appearances are Woody Allen with his new film Irrational Man, Pete Docter with Pixar’s Inside Out, and George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road. Asif Kapadia, the director of Senna, brings his documentary about Amy Winehouse to the Midnight section, while Natalie Portman’s directorial debut will feature in the Special Screening section.

The Coen Bros are the presidents of the Jury that will preside over the Official Competition. There has been no closing film announced yet, but La Tete Haute by Emmanuelle Bercot will open the festival.

Check out the full line-ups, including the Un Certain Regard, after the jump: Continue reading »

2014 Cannes Prize Winners

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May 252014

winter's sleep

The Festival de Cannes has wrapped up for another year with the Jury (Jane Campion (president), Willem Dafoe, Carole Bouquet, Gael Garcia Bernal, Jeon Do-yeon, Jia Zhangke, Leila Hatami and Nicolas Winding Refn) awarding Turkish drama Winter Sleep the Palme d’Or. Director Nuri Bilge Ceylan is no stranger to winning at Cannes, he has previously been awarded the Grand Jury Prize (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia), best director (Üç Maymun) and the FIPRESCI critics’ award (Iklimler). The director’s lengthy, slow-paced films aren’t exactly the most accessible cinema, but there is no doubt about their power or beauty.

Italian film-maker Alice Rohwacher’s (whose first feature Corpo celeste played Critics’ Week in 2011)  The Wonders took up the Grand Prix (2nd) prize. The film was incredibly well received by critics at the festival, with Robbie Collins saying (in his 5 star review):

The film was photographed not on digital cameras, but Super-16 film stock: a dying way of seeing dying things, and yet everything it captures seems to flare and crackle with life. There’s so much here to remind you of the Italian neorealist pictures, particularly in Rohrwacher’s brilliant deployment of her mostly young and inexperienced cast, but it also shares an underlying magic with Grave of the Fireflies and My Neighbour Totoro, the great Studio Ghibli animations about children whose rural lives have a quiet profundity that transcends incident or plot. The film comes and goes without commotion, but its magic settles on you as softly and as steadily as dust.

I was particularly happy that Canadian film-maker Xavier Dolan was awarded for his first official competition appearance at Cannes. Mommy was jointly awarded the Jury (3rd) Prize along with Jean-Luc Goddard’s 3D film, Goodbye to Language.

The extremely well reviewed Leviathan took home best screenplay, with Mr Turner walking away with a best actor award for veteran British character actor Timothy Spal. Other highlights among the award winners were Bennett Miller receiving the best director award for Foxcatcher (which has to be one of the most anticipated films of 2014 now) and Australian actor David Gulpilil receiving best actor in the Un Certain Regard section for his role in Charlie’s Country.

The complete list of award winners is after the jump.
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Cannes 2014 Official Selection Films Announced

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Apr 192014

The Cannes 2014 Official Selection lineup has been announced, with a host of well-known film-makers returning with new projects, as well as a few first timers and as always, a surprise or two.

Cannes returnees such as Mike Leigh, David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan, the Dardenne brothers, Andrei Zvyagintsev, Tommy Lee Jones, Zavier Dolan and Michel Hazanavicius are all back with new films. Compared to last year, this line-up of directors has a more Continental feel about it. While there are still American directors in competition, last year really felt like the year of the American story. I’m happy to see a little more variety in 2014, including new films from three very interesting and very different Canadian filmmakers.

In a slight improvement from 2012 and 2013, this year’s official competition features two female directors, Japanese filmmaker Naomi Kawase (Still the Water) and Italian filmmaker Alice Rohrwacher (Le Meraviglie). New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion is the president of the year’s jury. Campion is the only female to win the Palm d’Or for 1993’s The Piano.

For a good analysis of this year’s offerings, I suggest checking out Variety .
Here are the 5 films that I am most excited about from the lineup.

Lost River – dir. Ryan Gosling. Gosling steps behind the camera for his directorial début Lost River which is playing in Un Certain Regard. The film which has been re-titled from How to Catch a Monster  stars Eva Mendes, Christina Hendrix, Ben Mendohlson and Doctor Who‘s Matt Smith. The brief official synopsis is as follows: “A single mother is swept into a dark underworld, while her teenage son discovers a road that leads him to a secret underwater town.” Well colour me very interested!

Foxcatcher – dir. Bennett Miller.  The Moneyball director is back with a boxing film of sorts, this one an account of the murder of Olympic wrestling champion Dave Schultz. The screenplay is adapted from the book written by Schultz’s brother, Olympic wrestling gold medalist Mark Schultz. Dave Schultz is played by Mark Ruffalo, while Channing Tatumn plays brother Mark.

Goodbye to Language –  dir. Jean-Luc Godard. The 83-year-old French director is back at Cannes with his 39th film, this one in 3D. Will Goddard be able to convince cinephiles that 3D is worthy of the eyeballs? I have no idea, but I am so intrigued to see this. It’s just the most unlikely combination!

Mommy – dir. Xavier Dolan. The 25 year-old (!!!!!!!!!!) is back at Cannes for the fourth time, this year for the first time in official competition. To be honest I don’t care what the film is about, I’ll watch anything that Dolan makes. We’re yet to see Tom at the Farm in Australia (it plays at the upcoming Sydney Film Festival), but that doesn’t mean I can’t get excited about his next offering. The synopsis for Mommy is as follows: “A widowed single mother, raising her violent son alone, finds new hope when a mysterious neighbor inserts herself into their household.”

Still in the Water – dir. Naomi Kawase. A Cannes returnee, the Japanese director has previously won the Grand Pix in 2007 and the Camera d’Or in 1997. This film centers around a couple who get caught up in a murder investigation on a small Japanese island.

Other films I’m interested in include: The Captive, La Meraviglie, The Rover, Eleanor Rigby and How To Train Your Dragon 2.

Full lineup after the jump.

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Cannes: A Filmmaker’s Perspective

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Jun 022013


The Cannes Film Festival is arguably the pinnacle of the film year. It is here that we get the first real idea of what films might be the films to get excited about seeing in the next 12 months. There is glitz, there is glamour and there is money. There is also the commercial side where film rights are sold, and various deals are made. So what is it like to actually attend Cannes as a young filmmaker? I chatted with Ryan Unicomb, an Australian filmmaker, about his Cannes experience.

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2013 Festival de Cannes Award Winners Announced

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May 272013

cannes 2013

The Festival de Cannes is over for another year, with French drama Blue is the Warmest Colour (La vie d’Adèle) taking out the Palm d’Or, the festival’s top award. Head of the competition jury, Steven Spielberg announced that the jury was taking the unusual move of recognising not only the director, but also the two young actresses, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux. The three-hour drama is about a young woman’s awakening, and the two actresses appear in several sex scenes together, one lasting 12 minutes (the end of which was reportedly met with applause at the film’s première at Cannes).

Inside Llewyn Davis, directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, picked up the second most prestigious award, the Grand Prix. The film staring Oscar Isaac received much praise for its screenplay and fantastic performance from Isaac.

Blue is the Warmest Colour has been picked up for Australian distribution by Transmission Films. It will be interesting to see how it fares with the country’s classification board. Inside Llewyn Davis is being distributed in Australia by Roadshow Films. It currently has a 30th Jan 2014 release date in Australia.

Other films which have Australian distribution include Alexander Payne’s Nebraska (Roadshow Films – 26 December 2013), for which Bryce Dern won best actor, and Asghar Farhadi’s The Past (Madman Entertainment), for which Bérénice Bejo won best actress. Expect more to be announced as Cannes deals are finalised and made public.

Full list of 2013 Cannes Film Festival award winners (Official Competition and Un Certain Regard) are after the jump.

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