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Rating Likely Candidates for Cannes

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 30, 2010 at 5:41AM

Of the 40 films on indieWIRE's Cannes wish list--a clever way of reporting what might be going without knowing for sure what will be announced on April 15--I hear that Oliver Stone's Wall Street Never Sleeps and Woody Allen's You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger are going, while Cannes negotiations for The Tree of Life are proceeding smoothly re: Brad Pitt and Sean Penn walking the red carpet and doing a press conference without the retiring director, which is a big concession for Cannes.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Of the 40 films on indieWIRE's Cannes wish list--a clever way of reporting what might be going without knowing for sure what will be announced on April 15--I hear that Oliver Stone's Wall Street Never Sleeps and Woody Allen's You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger are going, while Cannes negotiations for The Tree of Life are proceeding smoothly re: Brad Pitt and Sean Penn walking the red carpet and doing a press conference without the retiring director, which is a big concession for Cannes.

Which other films are most likely to debut at the May fest? Sight unseen, I rank each of the indieWIRE 40 from 1 (least likely) to four (most likely) stars to wind up in the Cannes official selection. We will soon know.

Mike Leigh's Another Year is a likely UK competition title. ****

Oren Peli's follow-up to Paranormal Activity, Area 51, seems outside the Cannes sight lines to me, unless it fits into a midnight show or Director's Fortnight. It's hard to imagine it in competition. *

Aurora, directed by Cristi Puiu (The Death of Mr. Lazarescu a must-see) is a likely Romanian competition title. ****

The Beaver is not a far-fetched idea, because the Cannes programmers would want director Jodie Foster and star Mel Gibson on the red carpet, adding star lustre to their line-up--out of competition though. Summit will decide whether it serves their purposes to launch the film in Cannes: they won't spend unless they believe the cash will come back. **

Thompson on Hollywood

Biutiful from director Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu (now separated from Babel, Amores Perros and 28 Grams writer Guillermo Arriaga, Inarritu wrote this with Armando Bo), is a natural for inclusion in the competition. I can't wait. This is Focus International, not domestic. So Cannes makes sense as a strong launch pad for a North American distributor. And the fest will want Javier Bardem on the steps. ****

Darren Aronofsky's $148-million Black Swan started shooting in December in Manhattan for Phoenix and Fox Searchlight and is nowhere close to ready, my sources say.*

French director Olivier Assayas (the fab Summer Hours) is a Cannes regular, so expect Carlos--a series of three 90-minute features-- to be in the competition. IFC acquired the films at the AFM. ****

While it's true that Cannes has played Sylvester Stallone movies in the past--I'll never forget following Stallone up the Palais red carpet steps as he ascended to meet Elizabeth Taylor at the top, white dog in her arms, for Renny Harlin's Cliffhanger--I highly doubt that his comeback bid The Expendables, which also stars Jason Statham and Jet Li, is on their must-see list. While I could imagine Lionsgate and all the foreign distributors wanting to make a market/press splash by showing some footage, the movie isn't due to break worldwide until August. *

Is Doug Liman a Cannes auteur? Well, this political indie effort might fit the bill, and the fest might want to get Fair Game stars Penn and Naomi Watts for the Palais steps. Participant and River Road could use Cannes to find a distributor willing to pay for the film, although Bill Pohlad's Apparition could do the honors. **

David O. Russell's Flirting With Disaster did play Cannes in 2007 1996 in Un Certain Regard, so the fest could smile on Paramount's The Fighter** (Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg, Amy Adams). Long-delayed Nailed* (Jake Gyllenhaal-Jessica Biel), which lacks a distributor, could be tied up in bankruptcy court.

The Grand Master would be a natural competition title if Wong Kar-Wai is finished, but it's slated for 2011 release in Hong Kong. One source says it won't be ready, another says it will be. **

Here, directed by documentarian-turned-feature-helmer Braden King and starring The Messenger's Ben Foster, sounds like a strong candidate for Director's Fortnight or Un Certain Regard. * [UPDATE: Word is King will not be finished in time.]

Clint Eastwood likes to bring his films to Cannes, so Hereafter could follow Changeling and Mystic River as Fest entries. And the Cannes brass would also be eager for Matt Damon to show. ***

Is Gregg Araki ready to make the transition to the Cannes competition (Smiley Face showed in Director's Fortnight in 2007)? Kaboom could be it--or wind up back in the Fortnight. ***

Guillaume Canet's Little White Lies starring Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard seems like a competition shoo-in. He hasn't been in competition before, and Tell No One was a hit.****

While Director's Fortnight discovered Xavier Dolan (Canadian Oscar submission I Killed My Mother), it's hard to imagine the festival bumping him up with his follow-up, Love Imagined. It would help if he had notable cast. (It's all about those Palais steps!) **

Robert Rodriguez was in Cannes competition with Sin City, but the fest wanted Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof without Rodriguez's gorey Grindhouse contribution, Planet Terror. So Machete would seem to be in that vein and thus not a likely Cannes entry--except for one mitigating factor: Robert DeNiro. That could bring the movie into midnight contention. **

Meek's Cutoff director Kelly Reichardt is just the sort of global critics' darling that Cannes could bump from Un Certain Regard (Wendy and Lucy) to main competition. She's due. ****

Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) is already in the auteur club. He's been finished with Jerusalem-set Miral for a while, so he's in. ****

I loved Anh Hung Tran's The Scent of Green Papaya. I agree with Brian Brooks: Norwegian Wood, starring Rinko Kikuchi, looks like a shoo-in for a competition slot.****

Francois Ozon's Potiche looks likely too but UPDATE: Ozon wanted opening night; it's a commercial film, so they may blow the fest off. *

Word is that neither John Cameron Mitchell's Rabbit Hole* nor Bruce Robinson's Rum Diary* will be done in time.

Danish director Susanne Bier should be a Cannes auteur; she was on the jury in 2008, but has never been in the competition. It's time to redress that omission: she'll be back in her native language with The Revenge. ***

Spain's Julio Medem (the excellent Sex and Lucia) has also never been in the Cannes competition, but Room in Rome could change that, too. UPDATE: Or not. Word is this one won't make it.*

If Cam Archer's Shit Year, starring Ellen Barkin, ends up in the Cannes selection, it would probably be in Director's Fortnight. *

In France, what Jean Luc Godard wants, he gets, so if he wants Socialisme, starring Patti Smith in this year's fest, he'll be in. ***

Somewhere starring Stephen Dorff, is directed by Cannes favorite Sofia Coppola, but she is due to give birth in late May, so Focus may debut this semi-autobiographical L.A. film at Venice and Telluride instead. *

Stephen Frears' adaptation of the graphic novel Tamara Drewe, starring Gemma Arterton, would seem a natural (he's had two films in competition and Sony Pictures Classics is on board), but the UK director would need to finish it in time. The French distrib will make the call on whether to submit the sexy comedy. **

Julie Taymor may be ready to make her Cannes debut at long last with her latest Shakespeare film, The Tempest, starring Helen Mirren as Prospera. But Disney/Miramax is the distributor, which could be a problem. *

Three, from Germany's Tom Tykwer (Run, Lola, Run) seems a likely competition entry, as it wasn't finished in time for Berlin, UPDATE: but he seems to be in no rush to finish it for Cannes either. *

Showing animated features like last year's opener Up out-of-competition is an honorable tradition at Cannes, and Pixar's 3-D Toy Story 3 easily fits that niche. UPDATE: But it looks like it's not happening.*

Assuming Terrence Malick feels ready to show The Tree of Life in May, it should be in the competition, with Pitt and Penn lending starry support. ***

Bela Tarr screened a rough cut of The Turin Horse in Budapest before Berlin, so signs look promising for a Cannes competition berth. ****

Gus Van Sant is always welcome on the Croisette, so assuming he's done with his latest untitled film starring Mia Wasikowska, he's a likely returning regular. ***

La Vida Util, from Federico Veiroj, would mark the Uruguayan director's second Cannes entry, so signs looks good. ***

Oliver Stone's Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps starring Michael Douglas and Carey Mulligan is in; Fox wants it out of competition. Too bad, Stone should be in with the auteurs with his first Cannes entry.****

Peter Weir marks his first film since Master & Commander with the 40s war prisoner-escape film The Way Back, starring Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell, Ed Harris and Saoirse Ronan. Produced by Scott Rudin and National Geographic Films (now led by ex-Miramax chief Daniel Battsek), it is not clear who is distributing the film. The decision on Cannes has not yet been made. But it could be a strong launch for an eventual awards contender. UPDATE: Word is this was never going to aim for Cannes, and figuring out distribution is still in order.*

Milk screenplay Oscar-winner Dustin Lance Black makes his directorial debut with What's Wrong with Virginia? That makes him a new kid on the block at Cannes --ripe for adoption and mentorship, most likely in Director's Fortnight, if the film is right. Ed Harris stars. **

Word is, Woody Allen's romantic comedy You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger starring Josh Brolin and Naomi Watts is definitely in. Cannes perennial Allen usually screens out of competition. ****



This article is related to: Directors, Festivals, Headliners, Oliver Stone, Clint Eastwood, Woody Allen, Cannes, Brad Pitt, Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster


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