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.
The jury of the official competition will be headed by British director Stephen Frears.
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
Cannes Movies: From Wong Kar-Wai to Abel Ferrara & Catherine Breillat
About 300 journalists crammed into a 200-seat room to hear director Wong Kar-Wai, actor Jude Law, and singer-turned-actress Norah Jones discuss their film, My Blueberry Nights, a romantic drama that opened the 60th edition of the Cannes Film Festival.
“Sometimes the tangible distance between two persons,” Wong explained, “can be quite small but the emotional one can be miles. My Blueberry Nights is a look at those distances, from various angles. I wanted to explore these expanses, both figuratively and literally, and the lengths it takes to overcome them.”
My Blueberry Nights tells the story of a young woman (Norah Jones) who, following the departure of her boyfriend, spends her nights at a New York diner eating blueberry pie and chatting with the owner of the establishment (Jude Law). Eventually, she decides to leave New York City, ending up on the western half of the U.S.
According to Wong Kar-Wai, this road movie “is not a road movie. What matters isn’t the trip, but the distance. She leaves New York and goes to the other side of the country, as far away as possible from the man that left her.”
Well, she certainly could’ve gone much further – ending up in Wong’s own Hong Kong, for instance, but the acclaimed director of Fa yeung nin wa / In the Mood for Love and 2046 apparently wanted to make an American story.
Wong said that the inspiration for My Blueberry Nights was “the short film that I made, a 6-minute short film, which was supposed to be part of In the Mood for Love. … And one of the reasons I wanted to make the film in the United States at that point is because I wanted to work with Norah, and this is a very good story for Norah. I thought it interesting to do it in English and shoot in New York because she plays in New York, and because of her schedule at that time. So I took it as the starting point and we developed the story, which is quite different, because the short film is basically only the first chapter of the film. … From the diner we go to Memphis, and then across the country. … It’s not a road movie, it’s not about journey; it’s about destiny.”
As per an Associated Press report, My Blueberry Nights received only polite applause at the press screening.
Xan Brooks in The Guardian:
(After reading the paragraph below, all I could think was, Bresson, le pauvre)
“Abel Ferrara makes movies marinated in Catholic guilt, soaked in blood and frequently undulating with semi-naked women. These have sometimes been likened to the work of Martin Scorsese, although Scorsese never went so far as to have Harvey Keitel masturbate in front of a group of schoolgirls, as Ferrara had him do in Bad Lieutenant. Alternatively, several critics have found parallels with the films of the French master Robert Bresson, despite the fact that Bresson, so far as I know, never actually featured a scene in which a pole dancer French-kisses her Doberman Pinscher, as is the case in Go Go Tales. Love him or loathe him, Ferrara is a bit of a one-off.”
The Cannes screening of Ferraras Go Go Tales at Brooks The Guardian blog:
“So far as I could tell, nobody walked out of the [Joel and Ethan] Coen brothers film No Country For Old Men, which must qualify it as an unqualified hit. In stark contrast, about a third of the audience abandoned last nights screening of the new Abel Ferrara drama Go Go Tales. The exodus started at around the half-hour mark and petered out about 20 minutes before the end.”
More from Brooks The Guardian blog “Cannes is full of film-makers without borders”:
“Michael Winterbottom’s A Mighty Heart is referred to as the lone British feature in the selection, even though it is backed by an American company, stars two Hollywood actors (Angelina Jolie, Dan Futterman) and is based on a book by a Parisian of Afro-Cuban descent (Mariane Pearl). By contrast, the Joy Division biopic Control boasts a Mancunian setting and a crop of British players but barely merits a mention because the director (Anton Corbijn) is Dutch.”
Lisa Nesselson reviews Une vieille maîtresse / An Old Mistress in Variety:
“Catherine Breillat [right] has spent more than 30 years showing a knack for directing individuals wearing no costumes at all, so its doubly heartening she knows precisely what to do with lovesick characters in lavish costumes in An Old Mistress. Splendidly cast tale of a handsome young man who intends to stay away from his desire-stoking, long-term mistress after his marriage, brims with pointed dialogue, with the occasional duel or forthright sex scene interspersed to fine effect.”
At the press conference for the film, Catherine Breillat talked about the stroke she suffered in October 2004 that left half of her body paralyzed. Via Allocine:
“Simply put, that makes me laugh because I use numbers as symbols for everything, and 11 represents a body that is hemiplegic. And this happens to be my eleventh film. The courage to make this film stems from [producer] Jean-François Lepetit, for this is the most financially burdensome film Ive ever made. The most burdensome film to carry around, too, since its a costume drama [the pun here is: heavy costumes = heavy film]. But filmmaking is my life, and my life in its plenitude has been invested in this film. I don’t believe its a hemiplegic film.”
Une vieille maîtresse stars Asia Argento and Fuad Ait Aatou.
60th Cannes Film Festival Official Competition Line-Up
Opening film: WONG Kar Wai, My Blueberry Nights (Hong Kong), with Jude Law, Norah Jones, David Strathairn, Rachel Weisz
Fatih AKIN, Auf der Anderen Seite / The Edge of Heaven (Germany / Turkey), with Hanna Schygulla
Catherine BREILLAT, Une vieille maîtresse (France), with Asia Argento, Fu’ad Aït Aattou, Roxane Mesquida, Michael Lonsdale, Yolande Moreau, Anne Parillaud, Léa Seydoux, Jean-Claude Binoche
Christophe HONORÉ, Love Songs / Les Chansons d’amour (France), with Ludivine Sagnier, Louis Garrel, Chiara Mastroianni, Clotilde Hesme, Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet, Brigitte Roüan
Naomi KAWASE, Mogari no mori / The Mourning Forest (Japan / France)
KIM Ki-duk, Soom / Breath (South Korea)
Emir KUSTURICA, Zavet / Promise Me This (Serbia-Montenegro / France)
LEE Chang-dong, Secret Sunshine (South Korea)
Cristian MUNGIU, 4 Luni, 3 saptamini si 2 zile / 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Romania), with Anamaria Marinca, Laura Vasiliu, Vlad Ivanov, Alexandru Potocean, Luminita Gheorghiu
Raphaël NADJARI, Tehilim (Israel / France)
Carlos REYGADAS, Stellet Licht (Mexico / France / The Netherlands)
Ulrich SEIDL, Import Export (Austria)
Alexander SOKUROV, Alexandra (Russia / France)
Quentin TARANTINO, Death Proof (United States)
Béla TARR, The Man from London (France / Hungary / Germany)
Gus VAN SANT, Paranoid Park (United States / France)
Andreï ZVIAGUINTSEV, Izgnanie / The Banishment (Russia)
Closing film: Denys ARCAND, L’Âge des ténèbres / The Age of Ignorance (Canada / France) (Out of Competition)
Cannes Film Festival 2007 – Out of Competition Film Line-Up:
Michael MOORE, Sicko (United States) Note: Moore’s documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 won the Palme d’Or at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival
Steven SODERBERGH, Ocean’s Thirteen (United States), with Academy Award winner George Clooney (Syriana), Academy Award nominee Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting), Brad Pitt, Scott Caan, Casey Affleck, Don Cheadle, Elliott Gould, Al Pacino, Bernie Mac, Carl Reiner, Ellen Barkin, Eddie Izzard, Julian Sands, Jerry Weintraub, David Paymer, Vincent Cassel, Andy Garcia
Michael WINTERBOTTOM, A Mighty Heart (United States / United Kingdom), with Academy Award winner Angelina Jolie (Girl, Interrupted), Dan Futterman (Oscar-nominated screenwriter for Capote), Archie Panjabi
Johnnie TO, Triangle (Hong Kong)
Closing film: Denys ARCAND, L’Âge des ténèbres / The Age of Ignorance (Canada / France) (Out of Competition), with Marc Labrèche, Diane Kruger, Rufus Wainwright, Emma de Caunes, Caroline Néron, Didier Lucien
Olivier ASSAYAS, Boarding Gate (France), with Asia Argento, Michael Madsen, Kelly Lin
Catherine OWENS and Mark PELLINGTON, U2 3D
Jane BIRKIN, Boxes (France), with Jane Birkin, Geraldine Chaplin, Michel Piccoli, Natacha Régnier, Lou Doillon, Adèle Exarchopoulos, John Hurt, Tcheky Karyo, Annie Girardot
Ken BURNS and Lynn NOVICK, The War / La Guerre (United States)
Mehdi CHAREF, Cartouches gauloises (France / Algeria)
Leila CONNERS PETERSEN and Nadia CONNERS, The 11th Hour / 11e heure, Le Dernier virage (United States), documentary with Leonardo DiCaprio
Claude LELOUCH, Roman de gare (France), with Fanny Ardant, Dominique Pinon, Audrey Dana, Michèle Bernier
Jean-Pierre LIMOSIN, Young Yakuza (France)
Ermanno OLMI, Centochiodi (Italy), with Raz Degan
Nicolas PHILIBERT, Back to Normandy / Retour en Normandie (France)
Volker SCHLÖNDORFF, Ulzhan (Germany / Kazakhstan / France), with Philippe Torreton, David Bennent
WANG Bing, He Fengming / Chronicle of a Chinese Woman (Hong Kong)
<3>Cannes Film Festival Classics + Un Certain Regard & Cinéfondation Line-Up
Bound by Chastity Rules directed by Shin SANG-OK (South Korea)
Brando (2007) directed by Leslie GREIF and Mimi FREEDMAN (United States)
Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed / The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) directed by Lotte REINIGER (Germany)
Donne-moi tes yeux / My Last Mistress (1943) directed by Sacha GUITRY (France)
Dracula (1958) directed by Terence FISHER (United Kingdom)
Hamlet (1948) directed by Sir Laurence OLIVIER (United Kingdom)
Hondo (1953) directed by John FARROW (United States)
Kanal (1957) directed by Andrzej WAJDA (Poland)
Limite / Limit (1931) directed by Mário PEIXOTO (Brazil)
Made in Jamaica (2006) directed by Jérôme LAPERROUSAZ (France)
Man of Cinema: Pierre Rissient (2007) directed by Todd MCCARTHY (United States)
Maurice Pialat: L’Amour existe (2007) directed by Anne-Marie FAUX and Jean-Pierre DEVILLERS (France)
Mikey and Nicky (1976) directed by Elaine MAY (United States)
Never Apologize: A Personal Visit with Lindsay Anderson (2007) directed by Mike KAPLAN (United States)
Padurea Spinzuratilor (1964) directed by Liviu CIULEI (Romania)
Pourquoi Israel / Israel Why (1973) directed by Claude LANZMANN (France)
Richard III (1956) directed by Sir Laurence OLIVIER (United Kingdom)
Rio Bravo (1959) directed by Howard HAWKS (United States)
Suspiria (1977) directed by Dario ARGENTO (Italy)
Transes (1981) directed by Ahmed EL MAANOUNI (Morocco / France)
12 Angry Men (1957) directed by Sidney LUMET (United States)
Words for Battle (1941) directed by Humphrey JENNINGS (United Kingdom)
Yoyo (1965) directed by Pierre ETAIX (France)
UN CERTAIN REGARD LINE-UP
Opening Film: HOU Hsiao Hsien, Le Voyage du ballon rouge / The Flight of the Red Balloon (France / Taiwan)
Roy ANDERSSON, Du levande / You, the Living (Sweden / France / Germany / Denmark / Norway)
Valeria BRUNI-TEDESCHI, Le Rêve de la nuit d’avant / Actress (France)
Carmen CASTILLO, Calle Santa Fe / Santa Fe Sreet (Chile / France / Belgium)
Lee Isaac CHUNG, Munyurangabo / Liberation Day (Rwanda)
Lola DOILLON, Et toi, t’es sur qui? / Just About Love? (France)
Enrique FERNANDEZ and César CHARLONE, El Baño del papa (Uruguay / Brazil / France)
Ana KATZ, Una novia errante / A Wandering Bride (Argentina / Spain)
Eran KOLIRIN, Bikur hatizmoret / The Band’s Visit (Israel / France)
Harmony KORINE, Mister Lonely (United Kingdom / Ireland / France / United States)
Kadri KÕUSAAR, Magnus (Estonia / United Kingdom)
LI Yang, Mang Shan / Blind Mountain (China / Hong Kong)
Daniele LUCHETTI, Mio fratello è figlio unico / My Brother Is an Only Child (Italy)
Cristian NEMESCU, California Dreamin’ (Nesfarsit) / California Dreamin’ (Endless) (Romania)
Jaime ROSALES, La Soledad / Solitary Fragments / Fragments of Loneliness (Spain)
Barbet SCHROEDER, L’Avocat de la terreur / The Terror’s Advocate (France)
Céline SCIAMMA, Naissance des pieuvres / Water Lilies (France)
Robert THALHEIM, Am ende kommen Touristen / And Along Come Tourists (Germany)
Ekachai UEKRONGTHAM, Kuaile gongchang / Pleasure Factory (Singapore / Thailand)
Ye che / Night Train by Yinan DIAO
Cannes 2007 – Cinéfondation Line-Up
A Reunion directed by HONG Sung-Hoon (South Korea)
Aditi Singh directed by Mickael KUMMER (France)
Ahora todos parecen contentos directed by Gonzalo TOBAL (Argentina)
Berachel bitha haktana / Your Younger Daughter Rachel directed by Efrat COREM (Israel)
Chinese Whispers directed by Raka DUTTA (India)
For the Love of God directed by Joe TUCKER (United Kingdom)
Goyta directed by Joanna JUREWICZ (United States / Poland)
Halbe Stunden / Half Hours directed by Nicolas WACKERBARTH (Germany)
Minus directed by Pavle VUCKOVIC (Serbia-Montenegro)
Mish’ Olim / Pathways directed by Hagar BEN-ASHER (Israel)
Neostorozhnost / Imprudence directed by Alexander KUGEL (Russia)
Rondo directed by Marja MIKKONEN (Finland)
Ru dao / Way Out directed by CHEN Tao (China)
Saba directed by Gregorio GRAZIOSI and Thereza MENEZES (Brazil)
Triple 8 Palace directed by Alexander KU
Vita di Giacomo by Luca GOVERNATORI (France)