By Jake Howell

Cannes Slate

(Editor’s Note: Welcome to Jake Howell, who will bring a young, new, and sometimes Canadian perspective to our Cannes coverage this year.)

Cannes Artistic Director Thierry Frémaux has revealed the full slates of both the Competition and Un Certain Regard programs, and the film world has been officially enticed for the glamorous film spectacular this coming May.

“American cinema is back in force”, said Frémaux at the announcement conference. (I wonder if Robert Redford has anything to say about that?) Nevertheless, the Competition slate has a grand total of six American-produced films this year. Despite that being rather uncharacteristic of Cannes, it should prove to be an exciting Festival, with American films headed by Jeff Nichols (Mud), Lee Daniels (The Paperboy), Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom), John Hillcoat (Lawless), Andrew Dominik (Killing Them Softly), and Walter Salles (On The Road) all competing for the coveted Palme d’Or.

The slate has also raised a few eyebrows; most noticeably due to the unfortunate lack of representation from the fairer sex. A grand total of zero films in the Competition this year are by female directors, who seem to have been relegated to the Competition’s brother, the Un Certain Regard program. Also sentenced to UCR is 23-year-old Canadian Xavier Dolan, who while three for three in his career for Cannes premieres, was expected to be joining the Competition with Laurence Anyways. However, at close to three hours long, it’s possible Dolan’s latest was doomed by scheduling issues.

Speaking of Canadians, both David Cronenberg and his son Brandon will also be screening films in the south of France this year. The father/son combo will likely be subjected to a bonanza of interesting stylistic comparisons – some fairly done, some perhaps not – when May rolls around. Brandon’s first feature, Antiviral, will screen in Un Certain Regard, while his father’s Cosmopolis will go for gold in the Competition.

Indeed, according to Twitter, Twilight fans are absolutely ravenous that their beloved Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart (R-Patz and K-Stew, respectively) will be reunited, in human form no less, in Cannes. Pattinson is the star of Cosmopolis, and Stewart plays Marylou in the adaptation of iconic Beat novel On The Road. The teen-girl demographic has assuredly never been more interested in an auteur-centric film festival.

There are a few other intriguing aspects of this year’s Competition: for example, not since 2008’s Blindness has the opening film been in Competition, but Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom will change that. Missing from the line-up is 2011 Palme winner Terrence Malick, whose latest project was apparently not ready.

Also missing is Lars von Trier, 2011’s persona non grata, who has no upcoming films yet announced. Of course, this makes the subject of last year’s Hitler quagmire a non-starter in terms of his Cannes eligibility, which is rather fortunate. It’s always nice to avoid controversy.

For the full list of films, check out the Festival’s website:

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One Response to “Cannes Slate”

  1. Libby says:

    Good to see you here, Jake. Thanks for your insights!
    Looking forward to reading your comments from Cannes soon.

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon