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Cannes Week Previews: Ousmane Sembène's 'Borom Sarret' & Euzhan Palcy’s 'Simeon' Are 2013 Cannes Classics

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by Tambay A. Obenson
May 13, 2013 1:40 PM
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The Cannes Film Festival section, Cannes Classics, celebrates the heritage of film, and aims to highlight classic/masterpiece works of the past, which are presented with brand new or restored prints.

This year's Cannes Classics include, of note, Ousmane Sembène's 1963 20-minute short film, Borom Sarret, will be one of the restored prints screened.

His first film, Borom Sarret (a Wolof expression that means cart driver), has been heralded as the beginning of Black African Cinema - a stark masterpiece that chronicles a frustrating day in the life of a sympathetic, embittered Dakar cart driver, in post-Colonial Senegal, which leaves him cheated out of his wages and deprived of his cart.

Narrating his own tale in a running voice-over, with obvious cynicism about the then state of Senegal and the effect modernization has had on the country and its people, the cart driver simply wants to earn enough enough money to feed his family at the end of the day, but customers who are too poor to pay him as well as parasitic foreigners, get in the way of him accomplishing his goal.

Also of note is Euzhan Palcy’s 1992 comedy musical fairytale, Simeon. Her 3rd film, the fantastical story follows a 10-year-old girl who rescues the spirit of an dying music teacher, and in the process, secures a guardian angel who guides her and her musically-inclined father, to Paris and back, in search of a recording career. 

The film is a celebration of Caribbean music, dance, and culture, and features performances by members of the popular pan-African zouk band, Kassav

It's a rarely-screened film, so this should be a treat for those who will be in attendance at Cannes next month.

The films selected for the 2013 Cannes Classic edition will be presented with those who restored the films present, as well as the directors that are still alive.

This year’s program is made up of 20 feature-length films and 3 documentaries. 

Including Borom Sarret and Simeon, this year's Cannes Classic program will screen the following:

RESTORED PRINTS

BOROM SARRET (1963, 20’) by Ousmane Sembène

CHARULATA (CHARLUTA: THE LONELY WIFE) (1964, 1:57) by Satyajit Ray

CLEOPATRA (1963, 4:03) by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

FEDORA (1978, 1:50) by Billy Wilder

GOHA (1957, 1:18) by Jacques Baratier

HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR (1959, 1:32) by Alain Resnais

IL DESERTO DEI TARTARI (THE DESERT OF TARTARS) (1976, 2:20) by Valerio Zurlini

LA GRANDE ABBUFFATA (LA GRANDE BOUFFE) (1973, 2h05) by Marco Ferreri

LA REINE MARGOT (1994, 2:39) by Patrice Chéreau

LE JOLI MAI (1963, new 2013 cut: 2:25) by Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme

LES PARAPLUIES DE CHERBOURG (THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG) (1964, 1:31) by Jacques Demy

LUCKY LUCIANO (1973, 1:55) by Francesco Rosi

MAYNILA: SA MGA KUKO NG LIWANAG (THE NAIL OF BRIGHTNESS) (1975, 2:04) by Lino Brocka

PLEIN SOLEIL (BLAZING SUN) (1960, 1:55) by René Clément

SANMA NO AJI (AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON) (1962, colour, 2:13) by Yasujirō Ozu 

THE APPRENTICESHIP OF DUDDY KRAVITZ (1974, 2:00) by Ted Kotcheff

THE LAST DETAIL (1973, 1:44) by Hal Ashby

THE LAST EMPEROR 3D (1987, 2h43) by Bernardo Bertolucci

VISIONS OF EIGHT (1973, 1:49) by Youri Ozerov, Milos Forman, Mai Zetterling, Claude Lelouch, Arthur Penn, Michael Pfleghar, John Schlesinger, Kon Ichikawa.

In honour of the 50th anniversary of Cocteau’s death, LA BELLE ET LA BETE by Jean Cocteau (1946, 1:34) as well as OPIUM (2013, 1:15), a musical comedy directed by par Arielle Dombasle, will be shown during a very special evening.

Euzhan Palcy’s film, SIMEON (1992, 1:55) will be screened in honour of the 100th birthday of Aimé Césaire.

TWO DOCUMENTARIES ABOUT CINEMA: 

CON LA PATA QUEBRADA (2013, 1:23) by Diego Galán (Spain)

A STORY OF CHILDREN & FILM (2013, 1:40) by Mark Cousins (Great Britain)

Finally, in tribute to Joanne Woodward (presence to be confirmed), who can be seen with husband Paul Newman on the poster of the 66th edition, the Festival will screen the final film she produced: SHEPARD & DARK by Treva Wurmfeld (2013, 1:29).

In addition, Cannes Classics will also be part of CINEMA DE LA PLAGE where the following restored films will be shown:

JOUR DE FETE (France, 1949, 1:27) by Jacques Tati

THE GENERAL (1926, 1:18) by Buster Keaton

THE BIRDS (1963, 2:09) by Alfred Hitchcock

LE GRAND BLEU (THE BIG BLUE) (1988, 2:16) by Luc Besson

THE LADIES’ MAN (1961, 1:35) by Jerry Lewis

L’HOMME DE RIO (THE MAN FROM RIO) (France, 1964, 1:52) by Philippe de Broca

SAFETY LAST (1923, 1:13) by Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor

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