Cannes Critics' Week Celebrates First-Timers, Shuts Out Americans and Women from Competition

Festivals
by Sophia Savage
April 23, 2012 2:36 PM
1 Comment
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"J'enrage de son absence" IRIS PRODUCTIONS
The Cannes Critics' Week will be packed with first-time filmmakers, save one. The festival's artistic director, Charles Tesson, tells Variety, "the films themselves imposed this choice," and that it was not their intention to have such a uniformly fresh batch of talent.

He adds, "All films are first features except for Sandrine [Bonnaire]'s, which is a second first feature in a way, since her first film was a documentary and her new film is fiction." Bonnaire's ["J'enrage de son absence," starring William Hurt] will join "Broken" from director Rufus Norris (starring Tim Roth and Cillian Murphy, the only British film in Critic's Week) and Alice Winocour's "Augustine" as Special Screenings playing out of competition. Adding insult to injury, the Cannes festival continues to shut women directors out of competition slots, relegating its women directors to "special screenings" status.

Of the seven competition films, none hail from the states (last year Jeff Nichols' home-grown "Take Shelter" was the standout). Countries represented include France, India, Bulgaria, Spain, Israel, Argentina, Germany and Mexico.

Tesson sums up the competition films as "titles that all look at the reality of the world we live in, though they use very different styles."

SPECIAL SCREENINGS

"Broken," U.K., Rufus Norris -- Opener

"Augustine," France, Alice Winocour

"J'enrage de son absence," France-Luxembourg-Belgium, Sandrine Bonnaire

COMPETITION

"Aqui y alla," Spain-U.S.-Mexico, Antonio Mendez Esparza

"Au galop," France, Louis-Do de Lencquesaing

"Hors les murs," Belgium-Canada-France, David Lambert

"Peddlers," India, Vasan Bala

"Los salvajes," Argentina, Alejandro Fadel

"Sofia's Last Ambulance" Germany-Croatia-Bulgaria, Ilian Metev

"Les voisins de dieu," Israel-France, Meni Yaesh
 

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1 Comment

  • Lisa Nesselson | April 23, 2012 6:21 PMReply

    "Shuts out," "shuns, "insult to injury..." -- unless the films that WERE selected all turn out to be poorly made, this is pretty silly terminology. It's called Critics Week because there are 7 films (plus goodies on the side).
    "Countries represented include France, India, Bulgaria, Spain, Israel, Argentina, Germany and Mexico" -- unless these are all sub-par films, how could anybody be upset just because the US is not represented this year?
    RE:""Adding insult to injury, the Cannes festival continues to shut women directors out of competition slots, relegating its women directors to "special screenings" status.""
    Un Certain Regard (films by Catherine Corsini and by Sylvie Verheyde) is a full-fledged member of the Official Selection. If one or both of them turn out to be "better" than Competition titles, then it's fair to ask why. (But the programmers also need to keep the number of films by French directors to a reasonable percentage of the total in the Competition. It's also entirely possible that the fimmakers actually preferred a non-competing slot.)
    And there is absolutely NO shame in being slated for a "Special Screening" -- far from it.
    Each year in France, fully a third of first features distributed in theaters are directed by women (and almost all of those are either written or co-written by their female directors).
    Yes, there were four women in Competition last year and that was terrific. But one could certainly argue that a film such as "Sleeping Beauty" might have fared better had it not been in Competition.
    According to the weekly entertainment listings, in commercial cinemas this week in Paris there are 21 features directed (or co-directed in 3 cases) by women. And, needless to say, there are dozens of American movies in French theaters this minute. So, festival programmers don't see those as categories that must be "defended" at all costs.
    We have to assume they're looking for the best films that are ready in time and/or haven't been swiped by another section of the festival.
    Judging by the names, 3 (maybe even 4) of the 10 films in the shorts Competition were directed by women. (Remember, there's a Palme d'Or for a feature AND a Palme d'Or for a short.)

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