THE 62ND ANNUAL CANNES FILM FESTIVAL LINE UP

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FROM VARIETY

Never say never again…

Last year, CANNES director THIERRY FREMAUX swore the competition would be “recentred and renewed,” opening up to lesser known directors and out of left of field motion pictures.

Twelve months later, the competition at the 62ND CANNES FILM FESTIVAL reads like a who’s who of revered regulars, including four previous PALME D’OR winners.

QUENTIN TARANTINO, ANG LEE, PEDRO ALMODOVAR and LARS VON TRIER will face off against JANE CAMPION, MICHAEL HANEKE, JOHNNIE TO and PARK CHAN WOOK in CANNES’ biggest heavyweight auteur smackdown in recent memory.

All have snagged competition berths at next month’s grand cinematic celebration on the FRENCH RIVIERA. The official line up was unveiled yesterday at a packed press conference at PARIS’ GRAND HOTEL by Monsieur Fremaux and fest president GILLES JACOB.

The plethora of world cinema’s great and good begs the question of whether it’s part cause or part consequence of the thinnest American presence in competition since 2006. Only two U.S. titles are in the battle for the PALME – INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS and TAKING WOODSTOCK.

QUENTIN TARANTINO’S INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, a WWII actioner starring BRAD PITT, DIANE KRUGER and MIKE MYERS leads the Croisette charge for the U.S., followed by ANG LEE’S TAKING WOODSTOCK, a comedic take on the legendary concert with LIEV SCHREIBER, JEFFREY DEAN MORGAN and EMILE HIRSCH.

Monsieur Fremaux said QUENTIN, who’s pushing to complete his pic in time, has promised to deliver a 35mm print, not just a digital copy – which pushes forward the competition deadline by days.

Even in the noncompeting sidebars of the OFFICIAL SELECTION, which usually showcases big name HOLLYWOOD fare, it’s slim pickings for the U.S. this year.

SAM RAIMI’S horror opus DRAG ME TO HELL, all ready a highlight in an unfinished version at March’s SXSW fest, scored a MIDNIGHT SCREENING slot.

Aside from this year’s opening film, the PIXAR 3D toon UP, the only other U.S. film in the OFFICIAL SELECTION is LEE DANIELS’ SUNDANCE multiprize winner, PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH By SAPPHIRE in UN CERTAIN REGARD.

Among names strongly rumored to have been offered slots but not figuring in the final selection, the most prominent is FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA with his indie project TETRO, starring VINCENT GALLO. Pic was offered a noncompeting slot, but the two time PALME D’OR winning director – reportedly miffed at not being welcomed back to the competition – declined.

In most years, the out of competition titles includes HOLLYWOOD crowd pleasers — such as last year’s INDIANA JONES & THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL and KUNG FU PANDA — but American fare is little represented this year.

In 2009, the U.S. films were simply not there to be selected, Monsieur Fremaux remarked. He might also have added that, as the studios increasingly eyeball their bottom lines, they’ve become much more cautious about making such an expensive roll of the dice with a CANNES competition screening.

There are 14 first films among the 52 pics of the whole Official Selection. Amping up the FORTRESS AUTEUR look of this year’s PALME D’OR race, the competition features not a single name new to CANNES or any first timers, placing tried and tested world cinema grand filmmakers front and centre.

Explaining their presence, THIERRY FREMAUX commented that he’d been spoiled.

“It’s as if every great director phoned every other great filmmaker and said, ‘Let’s make sure we’re ready for Cannes.’ “

In recent years, the competition has experimented with fresh directions, though since his highpoint in 2004, Monsieur Fremaux had seemed to gradually yield to a more conservative style of programming. This year’s OFFICIAL SELECTION suggests that once the availability of pictures from so many top filmmakers became clear, and with U.S. movies at a premium, he decided to go with the flow.

The abundance of top directors — like a classic program by current fest president and former programmer GILLES JACOB — gives this year’s CANNES shape, identity and an obvious talking point, plus a convenient argument against those complaining about the lack of American fare.

“In competition, we have some of the world’s most famous and greatest auteurs, but some of their films are more mainstream and open than could be thought,” Monsieur Fremaux stated.

AUSTRALIA’S JANE CAMPION jumps in with a BRITISH period romance, BRIGHT STAR. Its central force is ill fated 19th century English poet JOHN KEATS. It stars BEN WISHAW and ABBIE CORNISH.

KEN LOACH’S LOOKING FOR ERIC turns on a lovelorn postal worker mentored by Gallic soccer star turned thespian ERIC CANTONA.

PEDRO ALMODOVAR brings BROKEN EMBRACES, a genre blender starring Penelope Cruz as a star crossed actor.

MICHAEL HANEKE (CACHE) chronicles nascent fascism in the 1913 set costumer THE WHITE RIBBON and MARCO BELLOCCHIO examines the life of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s secret child in VINCERE.

ALAIN RESNAIS’ LES HERBES FOLLES, JACQUES AUDIARD’S A PROPHET, XAVIER GIANNOLI’S IN THE BEGINNING and GASPAR NOE’S last minute submission ENTER THE VOID proudly fly the FRENCH flag, which has one of its biggest festival presences in recent years — especially if one includes coproductions such as BRIGHT STAR, LOOKING FOR ERIC, LARS VON TRIER’S ANTICHRIST, JOHNNIE TO’S VENGEANCE and TSAI MING LIANG’S FACE.

The 62ND CANNES is the first to unspool under the current global recession. But its competition also reflects the global melting pot — in ever more prevalent English language productions from foreign helmers, the pics’ patchwork border hopping financing and directors tackling foreign cultures or culture clashes.

Pairing WILLEM DAFOE and CHARLOTTE GAINSBOURG, ANTICHRIST, a forest cabin set chiller, is made in English.

“There are no limits. No borders. Look at TARANTINO – a pure American making his latest film in Germany and in FRANCE,” Monsieur Fremaux said.

Somewhat similarly, MAP OF THE SOUNDS OF TOKYO, from Spaniard ISABEL COIXET, is set in Tokyo, stars Spain’s SERGI LOPEZ and Japan’s RINKO KIKUCHI and features both English and Japanese dialogue.

Vampire thriller THIRST, from South Korea’s PARK CHAN WOOK (GRAND PRIX WINNER OLDBOY), leads a strong Asian presence in competition that includes Hong Kong helmer JOHNNIE TO’S VENGEANCE, starring JOHNNY HALLYDAY on the rampage in H.K.; Filipino director BRILLANTE MENDOZA’S KINATAY and FACE, a FRENCH set extravaganza from Taiwan based maverick TSAI MING LIANG.

China’s LOU YE (SUMMER PALACE) is back at CANNES with a reportedly torrid young love triangle tale SPRING FEVER.

The “newest” director is BRITISH ANDREA ARNOLD, who segues from her acclaimed debut RED ROAD (which won the CANNES JURY PRIZE in 2006) to the teenage girl drama FISH TANK.

Returning after a seven year break is Middle East helmer ELIA SULEIMAN with the Palestinian family saga THE TIME THAT REMAINS. The Palestinian director last competed in CANNES with DIVINE INTERVENTION, which won the JURY PRIZE in 2002.

The festical closes MAY 24 with COCO CHANEL & IGOR STRAVINSKY, starring ANNA MOUGLALIS and MADS MIKKELSEN and directed by Dutch vet JAN KOUNEN.

Playing out of competition is TERRY GILLIAM’S fantasy film THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS. It features HEATH LEDGER’S last performance, with JUDE LAW, JOHNNY DEPP and COLIN FARRELL sharing HEATH’S role.

ALEJANDRO AMENABAR’S Roman Egypt set epic AGORA, starring RACHEL WEISZ as real life astrologer HYPATIA OF ALEXANDRIA, also found an out of competition slot.

Beyond DRAG ME TO HELL, a MIDNIGHT SCREENING slot went to MARINA DE VAN’S psychodrama/thriller NE TE RETOURNE PAS starring MONICA BELLUCCI and SOPHIE MARCEAU.

Monsieur Fremaux has fought for years against UN CERTAIN REGARD’S rep as a competition rejects’ basket, calling it a section of discovery.

“UN CERTAIN REGARD is an alternative. Not a second division section.”

But this year’s line up still has a large dose of CANNES faves, including Japan’s HIROKAZU KOREEDA with AIR DOLL (about a clerk falling for an inflatable female doll) and Romanian director CRISTIAN MUNGIU (anthology pic TALES FROM THE GOLDEN AGE).

The OFFICIAL SELECTION’S 52 films include 46 world premieres. They were culled from 1,670 features received from 120 countries. Announced by GILLES JACOB, this year’s competition jury, presided over by FRANCE’S ISABELLE HUPPERT, includes Americans ROBIN WRIGHT and JAMES GRAY.

Still to be announced are CANNES CLASSIC, the short film selection, and the CINEFONDATION’S choice.

The DIRECTORS’ FORTNIGHT and CRITICS’ WEEK both announce their full programs today in PARIS. It remains to be seen if some forgotten competition titles, such as FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA’S TETRO, will resurface in either section.

THE 62ND CANNES FILM FESTIVAL

OPENER:

UP

CLOSER:

COCO CHANEL & IGOR STRAVINSKY

IN COMPETITION:

BRIGHT STAR – JANE CAMPION

SPRING FEVER – LOU YE

ANTICHRIST – LARS VON TRIER

ENTER THE VOID – GASPAR NOE

FACE – TSAI MING LIANG

LES HERBES FOLLES – ALAIN RESNAIS

IN THE BEGINNING – XAVIER GIANNOLI

A PROPHET – JACQUES AUDIARD

THE WHITE RIBBON – MICHAEL HANEKE

VENGEANCE – JOHNNIE TO

THE TIME THAT REMAINS – ELIA SULEIMAN

VINCERE – MARCO BELLOCCHIO

KINATAY- BRILLANTE MENDOZA

THIRST – PARK CHAN WOOK

BROKEN EMBRACES – PEDRO ALMODOVAR

MAP OF THE SOUNDS OF TOKYO – ISABEL COIXET

FISH TANK – ANDREA ARNOLD

LOOKING FOR ERIC – KEN LOACH

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS – QUENTIN TARANTINO

TAKING WOODSTOCK – ANG LEE

OUT OF COMPETITION:

THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS – TERRY GILLIAM

THE ARMY OF CRIME – ROBERT GUEDIGUIAN

AGORA – ALEJANDRO AMENABAR

MIDNIGHT SCREENINGS:

A TOWN CALLED PANIC – STEPHANE AUBIER/VINCENT PATAR

NE TE RETOURNE PAS -MARINA De VAN

DRAG ME TO HELL – SAM RAIMI

SPECIAL SCREENINGS:

PETITION – ZHAO LIANG

L’EPINE DANS LE COEUR – MICHEL GONDRY

MIN YE -SOULEYUMANE CISSE

JAFFA – KEREN YEDAYA

MANILA – ADOLFO ALIX JR./RAYA MARTIN

MY NEIGHBOR, MY KILLER – ANNE AGHION

UN CERTAIN REGARD:

SAMSON & DELILAH – WARWICK THORNTON

ADRIFT – HEITOR DHALIA

THE WIND JOURNEYS – CIRO GUERRA

DEMAIN DES L’AUBE – DENIS DERCOURT

IRENE – ALAIN CAVALIER

AIR DOLL – HIROKAZU KOREEDA

INDEPENDANCE – RAYA MARTIN

LE PERE DE MES ENFANTS – MIA HANSEN LOVE

DOGTOOTH – YORGOS LANTHIMOS

NOBODY KNOWS ABOUT THE PERSIAN
CATS – BAHMAN GHOBADI

EYES WIDE OPEN – HAIM TABAKMAN

MOTHER – BONG JOON HO

THE SILENT ARMY – JEAN VAN DE VELDE

TO DIE LIKE A MAN – JOAO PEDRO RODRIGUES

POLICE, ADJECTIVE – CORNELIU PORUMBOIU

TALES FROM THE GOLDEN AGE – HANNO HOFER/RAZVAN MARCULESCU/CRISTIAN MUNGUI/CONSTANTIN POPESCU/IOANA URICARU

TALE IN THE DARKNESS – NIKOLAY KHOMERIKI

TZAR – PAVEL LOUNGUINE

NYMPH – PEN EK RATANARUANG

PRECIOUS – LEE DANIELS

FEATURE FILM JURY:

ISABELLE HUPPERT (PRESIDENT)

ASIA ARGENTO

NURI BILGE CEYLAN

LEE CHANG DONG

JAMES GRAY

HANIF KUREISHI

SHU QI

ROBIN WRIGHT

LA CINEFONDATION & SHORT FILM JURY:

JOHN BOORMAN (PRESIDENT)

BERTRAND BONELLO

FERID BOUGHEDIR

LEONOR SILVEIRA

ZHANG ZIYI

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