Twenty-two films will be vying for the 2007 Palme d'Or once the 60th Cannes Film Festival gets under way next Wednesday, May 16.
Among the 13 first-timers in the official competition are Fatih Akin, with Auf der Anderen Seite / The Edge of Heaven (Akin's Gegen die Wand / Head-On won both the 2004 Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and the 2004 European Film Award); David Fincher, with the crime drama Zodiac, starring Jake Gyllenhaal – the film was a major box office disappointment in the U.S.; the sexually provocative Catherine Breillat, with Une vieille maîtresse / An Old Mistress, with Asia Argento; and Vincent Paronnaud and Iranian comic artist Marjane Satrapi (making her film debut), with an animated film version of Satrapi's graphic novel Persepolis, about her experiences growing up in Iran during that country's Islamic Revolution.
Among the Cannes veterans are 1994 Palme d'Or winner Quentin Tarantino (for Pulp Fiction), who'll be around with a reedited version of Death Proof, his half of the box office dud Grindhouse; 1991 Palme d'Or winner (for Barton Fink) Joel Coen, with the thriller No Country for Old Men, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Woody Harrelson; two-time Palme d'Or winner Emir Kusturica (for Otac na sluzbenom putu / When Father Was Away on Business in 1985 and for Underground in 1995), with Zavet / Promise Me This; and 1997 best director winner (for Chun gwong cha sit / Happy Together) Wong Kar Wai, whose English-language film debut, My Blueberry Nights, starring Jude Law, will open the festival.
Another Cannes vet, 2004 Palme d'Or winner Michael Moore (for Fahrenheit 9/11), will be represented by a special screening of Sicko, Moore's indictment of the American healthcare system.
Despite reports that Denys Arcand's L'Âge des ténèbres / The Age of Darkness might not be ready for Cannes, the film has been officially announced as the closing night gala screening on May 27. In L'Âge des ténèbres, Marc Labrèche stars as a bored Quebec civil servant who spends a lot of his time in a fantastical dream world. Also in the cast are Diane Kruger and Rufus Wainwright.
(Considering that Arcand is the man behind that – unfair – indictment of Canada's socialized healthcare system, Les Invasion barbares / The Barbarian Invasions, which depicts U.S. healthcare as a model of efficiency, it would be interesting to get his reaction to Sicko.)
Other Cannes events include:
A Cinema Masterclass hosted by Martin Scorsese; an Actor's Masterclass by Sergio Castellitto, a Music Masterclass by Howard Shore, "in the presence of David Cronenberg"; and a tribute to Henry Fonda, with Jane Fonda in attendance.
The third edition of the program Tous les Cinémas du Monde (literally, "All the Cinemas of the World") will screen films from Lebanon, India, Poland, Colombia, Slovenia, and Africa (Guinea, Angola, and Kenya).
60th anniversary tributes to Jane Birkin, with a screening of Birkin Boxes; Claude Lelouch, with Roman de Gare / Tracks; Ermanno Olmi, with Centochiodi (for which Olmi received a Nastro d'Argento nomination in the best original story category); and Volker Schlöndorff, with Ulzhan.
60th Anniversary Film: To Each His Own Cinema, composed of brief vignettes directed by Theo Angelopoulos, Olivier Assayas, Bille August, Jane Campion, Youssef Chahine, Chen Kaige, Michael Cimino, Ethan & Joel Coen, David Cronenberg, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Manoel de Oliveira, Raymond Depardon, Atom Egoyan, Amos Gitai, Hou Hsiao Hsien, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Aki Kaurismaki, Abbas Kiarostami, Takeshi Kitano, Andrei Konchalovsky, Claude Lelouch, Ken Loach, Nanni Moretti, Roman Polanski, Raoul Ruiz, Walter Salles, Elia Suleiman, Tsai Ming Liang, Gus Van Sant, Lars von Trier, Wim Wenders, Wong Kar Wai, Zhang Yimou.
And finally, more than 3,000 buyers and sellers from 80 different countries are expected to attend the festival's film market.
Ah... The Cannes 2007 poster jumpers are: center top, Souleymane Cissé; middle row from left, Penélope Cruz, Wong Kar Wai, Juliette Binoche, Jane Campion, Gérard Depardieu; front row from left, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson and Pedro Almodóvar. The individual photos were taken by Magnum photographer Alex Majoli at the 59th Cannes festival. The composite was created by Christopher Renard.
Poster: Festival de Cannes