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

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood April 23, 2012 at 2:36PM

The Cannes Critics' Week will be packed will first-time filmmakers, save one...
"J'enrage de son absence"
IRIS PRODUCTIONS "J'enrage de son absence"

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."


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

"Augustine," France, Alice Winocour

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


"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

This article is related to: Cannes, Festivals, Festivals, News, News, Directors

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.