'The Tree Of Life,' 'Drive' & 'Melancholia' Head Up Mouth-Watering 2011 Cannes Line-Up

by Oliver Lyttelton
April 14, 2011 10:14 AM
10 Comments
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Almodovar, Paolo Sorrentino, Takashi Miike, The Dardenne Brothers & Lynne Ramsay; Also In Line-Up; 'Pirates 4,' 'Kung Fu Panda 2' & 'The Beaver' To Play Out Of Competition



This morning brought one of the moments on the calendar that every serious film lover awaits with bated breath: the announcement of the line-up for this year's Cannes Film Festival, still the most prestigious on the circuit. Year after year, some of the world's best directors hold off to debut their new films on the Croisette, and virtually every year brings at least one stone-cold classic -- along, of course, with the famous Cannes bombs. With last year's selection generally deemed to be the weakest in a while, has this year's batch (the 64th!) turned things around? We've heard the rumors for months now, and we knew that Woody Allen's latest, "Midnight in Paris," would be opening the festival on May 11th, but little solid fact otherwise. So -- how's it looking?

Pretty damn good, really. The big news is that, as widely expected, Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" will be premiering at the festival, although more surprising is that it'll actually be in competition -- the first time that the director's been in competition for the Palme D'Or. The biggest surprise is probably the presence of Nicolas Winding Refn's minimalist crime thriller "Drive," which stars Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Albert Brooks -- a film that's easily been one of our most anticipated of the year, and our excitement's only increased with the news.

The main selection also includes a number of high-profile auteurs who were widely expected to be featuring at the festival, most notably Pedro Almodovar's latest, the sci-fi/horror tinged "The Skin That I Live In," which sees the Cannes veteran reunite with Antonio Banderas, Lars Von Trier's apocalyptic drama "Melancholia," former Palme D'Or winners Nanni Moretti and The Dardenne Brothers, with "We Have A Pope" and "The Kid With The Bike" respectively, and Finnish helmer Aki Kaurismaki's "Le Havre."

There's also the long-awaited return of British director Lynne Ramsay, with her Tilda Swinton-toplining adaptation of "We Need To Talk About Kevin," along with Paolo Sorrentino's off-the-wall "This Must Be The Place," starring Sean Penn as a bored rock star hunting down a war criminal. Australian first-timer Julia Leigh has the erotic drama "Sleeping Beauty," starring "Sucker Punch" headliner Emily Browning, in competition, while Naomi Kawase, who won the Grand Prix prize a few years back, returns with "Hanezu no Tsuki," and there are new films from Turkey's Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Romania's Radu Mihaileanu, Takashi Miike and Bertrand Bonello. France has new films from veteran Alain Cavalier and "Pardonnez-Moi" director Maïwenn Le Besco, while Israeli director Joseph Cedar, who picked up an Oscar nomination for "Beaufort" in 2007, returns with "Footnote."

On the surface, at least, it's a much, much stronger line-up than last year, although obviously anything could happen. But for the first time in a while, the balance seems to be struck between Hollywood talent who'll attract press attention (Sean Penn, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Tilda Swinton, Kirsten Dunst), and old Croisette favorites. As in the last few years, we'll be there bringing you our verdicts on as much as we can squeeze into our schedule.

As for the traditional out-of-competition slots, there's the usual blockbusters in there, with, as predicted a few days ago, "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" and "Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom Of Doom" both screening along with, more surprisingly, Jodie Foster's "The Beaver." The Nicolas Sarkozy biopic "La Conquete" will also appear -- we premiered the trailer a little while ago, if you missed it.

The Un Certain Regard strand will kick off, as previously announced, with Gus Van Sant's teen romance "Restless," starring Mia Wasikowska, while Sundance favorite "Martha Marcie May Marlene" will also screen. There's new films from Cătălin Mitulescu, Bruno Dumont and Kim Ki Duk, among others, while the one we're most excited for is Joachim Trier's "Oslo, August 31st," the director's follow-up to Playlist favorite "Reprise." The festival kicks off with "Midnight in Paris" on May 11th, and runs until the 22nd.

In Competition:
"The Skin That I Live In" - Pedro Almodovar
"L'Apollonide"" - Betrand Bonello
"Footnote" - Joseph Cedar
"Paterre" - Alain Cavalier
"Once Upon A Time In Anatolia" - Nuri Bilge Ceylan
"The Kid With The Bike" - The Dardenne Brothers
"Le Havre" - Aki Kaurismaki
"Hanezu no Tsuki" - Naomi Kawase
"Sleeping Beauty" - Julia Leigh
"Tree of LIfe" - Terrence Malick
"La Source de Femmes" - Radu Mihaileanu
"Polisse" - Maïwenn Le Besco
"Harakiri" - Takashi Miike
"We Have A Pope" - Nanni Moretti
"Melancholia" - Lars Von Trier
"This Must Be The Place" - Paolo Sorrentino
"Drive" - Nicolas Winding Refn
"We Need To Talk About Kevin" - Lynne Ramsay

Un Certain Regard:
"Restless" - Gus Van Sant
"Martha Marcy May Marlene" - Sean Durkin
"The Hunter" - Bazur Bakuradze"
"Halt auf freier Strecke" - Andreas Dresen
"Skoonheid" - Oliver Hermanus
"Hors Satan" - Bruno Dumont
Les Neiges du Kilimandjaro" - Robert Guédiguian
"The Days He Arrives" - Hong Sang-Soo
"Bonsai" - Christian Jimenez
"Tatsumi" - Erik Khoo
"En maintenant, on va ou?" - Nadine Labaki
"Ariang" - Kim Ki Duk
"Loverboy"- Cătălin Mitulescu,
"Toomelah" - Ivan Sen
"Yellow Sea" - Na Hong-Jin,
"Miss Bala" - Gerardo Naranjo,
"L'exercice de l'Etat" - Pierre Schoeller,
"Oslo, August 31st" Joachim Trier
"Travailler fatigue" - Juliana Rojas, Marco Dutra

Out of Competition:
"The Beaver" - Jodie Foster
"The Artist" - Michel Hazanavicius
"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" - Rob Marshall
"La Conquete" - Xavier Durringer
"Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom Of Doom" - Jennifer Yuh

Special Screenings:
"Labrador" - Frederikke Aspock
"Le maître des forges de l’enfer" - Rithy Panh
"Un documentaire sur Michel Petrucciani" - Michael Radford
"Tous au Larzac" - Christian Rouaud

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10 Comments

  • Ryan | April 14, 2011 12:57 PMReply

    For a guy who's not really popular, sang soo gets to make a lot of movies. I guess it pays to be good.

  • Christopher Bell | April 14, 2011 11:57 AMReply

    Hahaha new hong sang soo. called it.

    no haneke though. hm. and another name change for new dardenne.

  • Mark | April 14, 2011 11:26 AMReply

    Wow, stellar line-up. Malick, Refn, Kaurismaki, Mikke and the return of Ramsay. Wish I was going.

  • jon | April 14, 2011 3:43 AMReply

    Days of Heaven was in competition at Cannes. Malick won Best Director that year.

  • Leah Zak | April 14, 2011 3:14 AMReply

    @pedant -- Thanks for the catch!*

    *more fishing jokes. but in seriousness, we appreciate the assist, as occasionally coffee just isn't enough. :)

  • Jay | April 14, 2011 3:09 AMReply

    Actually, Terrence Malick has been in the competition section at Cannes before, way back in 1979 for "Days of Heaven". He won the Best Director prize.

  • Pedant | April 14, 2011 2:51 AMReply

    Bated breath. Unless you have been eating worms.

    Now back to the movies.

  • rotch | April 14, 2011 2:44 AMReply

    Sad to see Lanthimos's Alps didn't make it on time. Great lineup any who.

  • Michael | April 14, 2011 2:42 AMReply

    Any Sang-soo is good news. Any Ki-duk is really really bad news.

    Where are Jia and Hou? I was really looking forward to their films. I'd since given up hope on Wong sneaking in his film, but I thought the other two would have something new for us. Oh well. I guess it won't be too long.

  • Ryan | April 14, 2011 1:07 AMReply

    Also, can't wait to see Albert Brooks on the red carpet looking uncomfortable. I'm still pulling for a special Cannes anniversary screening of "Modern Romance".

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