Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer
The Farewell To Middle-earth Issue
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe: Get 12 Issues For £25
Buy the perfect Christmas present this year
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue
Empire Blogs
Words From The Wise

Back to all blogs Comment Now

Cannes 2013: Some Thoughts On The Official Lineup

Posted on Saturday April 20, 2013, 14:38 by Damon Wise in Words From The Wise
Cannes 2013: Some Thoughts On The Official Lineup

Although the internet very nearly ruined any surprises this year, the Cannes Film Festival remains a somewhat bespoke event that makes it almost literally impossible to predict, even though the guessing game starts earlier every year. As ever, the initial reactions pointed out what's NOT there, something which also started earlier this year when new films by regulars Pedro Almodóvar, Woody Allen and Lars Von Trier were all nixed by the rumour mill in the run-up to Thursday's announcement. Having said that, most of the anticipated titles seem to be in the mix, the only notable no-shows – mostly because they simply won't be ready – appear to be Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave, Spike Jonze's Her, Terry Gilliam's Zero Theorem and Jonathan Glazer's Under The Skin. Personally, I was relieved that Lee Daniels' The Butler didn't make the cut, and I'm wondering if Jim Jarmusch's vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive might pop up in another section in the coming weeks. Indeed, Ari Folman's The Congress, his long-awaited follow-up to the harrowing animated confessional Waltz With Bashir – has just been confirmed to open Directors’ Fortnight.

Overwhelmingly, commentators this year have pointed to the dearth of women in the official selection, which somewhat bemuses me since the year there were four of them (2011), nobody seemed to break out the bunting. (This year at Sundance a full half of the competition films were by women, which seemed to go almost entirely reported.) So it's unlikely there'll be too much rallying for the lone female in the Competition – Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi with Un Chateau En Italie – since the press in Cannes don't like to dwell on positives. Looking down the rest of the Competition list, it's another very big year for the US, a territory that blows hot and cold on the Croisette. Cannes favourites the Coen brothers will be bringing Inside Llewyn Davis, Alexander Payne is returning for the first time since About Schmidt with Nebraska, James Gray – who, like Johnnie To, is practically an institution here – will be there with Lowlife, and Steven Soderbergh is presenting his HBO Liberace movie Behind The Candelabra (and not as a Special Screening, as assumed).

Internationally, there aren't the equivalent veterans of previous years, and I'm thinking here of the likes of Abbas Kiarostami, Alain Resnais and Hou Hsiao-Hsien (incidentally, Jean-Luc Godard's 3D film Goodbye To Language was another title that quickly dropped off the Definitely In list). It is left to Roman Polanski to represent the old guard with Venus In Fur, not a remake of the Sacher-Masoch story but an adaptation of a Broadway play by David Ives. Other than Polanski, the median age seems to be early fifties this year, and the festival does seem to be trying to create a new wave of favourites. Top of the list here has to be Denmark's Nicolas Winding Refn with Only God Forgives, his follow-up to Drive and right up the festival's alley with Larry Smith's exquisite cinematography. Making his Cannes debut (I think) with The Past, Iran's Asghar Farhadi is not to be under-estimated, having had widespread international success with the Oscar-nominated A Separation. The talented and prolific François Ozon has been welcomed back for the the first time since Swimming Pool ten years ago (with Young And Beautiful), and another relatively recent Cannes adoptee, Paulo Sorrentino, attends with The Great Beauty. Meanwhile, a dark horse for the Palme D'Or would be Abdelatiff Kechiche, whose 2008 film Couscous won big at the French Oscars (the Césars) and whose Blue Is The Warmest Colour clocks in at a very important-seeming 187 minutes.

Asian cinema is very ably represented by Japan's Hirokazu Kore-eda (Like Father Like Son) and China's Jia Zhangke (A Touch Of Sin), both fixtures on the festival circuit. However, it will be interesting to see whether Takeshi Miike's Straw Shield is the wild card it seems to be (like Refn's Drive, two years ago). Miike popped up last time with one of his bonkers anime knock-offs in the Midnight Screenings section, and before that in Competition with the more traditional period movie Death Of A Samurai. Straw Shield, however, could see the Japanese maverick in crossover mode, telling the Ransom-like story of a hitman who enters a witness protection scheme when a bounty is placed on his head. If Miike reigns in the violence, it could find favour with Steven Spielberg's jury.

Over in Un Certain Regard, usually a place for discovery, we find Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring in the opening slot, a move seen by some as a demotion, although plenty of arguably bigger names have premiered here in the last few years (Gus Van Sant, Bruno Dumont, Manoel De Oliveira). It's more surprising that Claire Denis is here, with her Les Salauds languishing next to yet another film by the relentless James Franco, As I Lay Dying, and if this is part of a longterm attempt to reinvigorate UCR, it may have backfired. It's hard to know what to make of the rest, sight unseen, although Fruitvale Station, previously just Fruitvale, will be bringing with it a head of awards-season steam, having won the Grand Prize at Sundance and been picked up by Harvey Weinstein.

Which only leaves us with the various remaining strands, and, no, I don't know the difference between Out Of Competition and Special Screenings. In the former, the pairing of JC Chandor's All Is Lost and Guillaume Canet's Blood Ties could provide classy, if more mainstream entertainment (and I hated both their last movies), and in the latter we have the frankly strange-sounding Seduced And Abandoned, a 1964 kidnap comedy by James Toback, alongside sports movies featuring the unlikely likes of Roman Polanski (again), in the Jackie Stewart racing doc Weekend Of A Champion, and Stephen Frears, with the HBO drama Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight. Ignoring the Jerry Lewis tribute, as any non-French person in their right minds will, my only gripe this year is that the Midnight Screenings section is as dull as always; only two films: one of them is a Johnnie To movie (Blind Detective), the other an Indian cop thriller (Monsoon Shootout). Maybe some more interesting genre titles – Ben Wheatley's A Field In England, Alejandro Jodorowsky's La Danza De La Realidad or (some hope!) Bong Joon-ho's Snowpiercer – will turn up in Directors' Fortnight or Critics Week.

Login or register to comment.

Comments

1 Acho
Posted on Saturday April 27, 2013, 20:21
Nice round up, thanks. Looking forward to the write-ups during the festival itself.

I thought Waltz With Bashir was really great, so interested to see how The Congress is.

Log in below, or register to post comments
Username:
Password:
Remember Me:

CATEGORIES

Empire States (440)

Under The Radar (334)

Infinite Lives (92)

Small Screen (57)

Words From The Wise (36)

Cannes 2011 (28)

Off The Wire (24)

Comic-Con 2010 (21)

Casting Couch (2)

Oscars 2011 (1)


RECENT POSTS

Final report: The Kid With A Bike, Le Havre, Michael, Walk Away Renee, The Murder, Oslo 31 August
By Damon Wise

This Must Be The Place
By Damon Wise

The Artist
By Damon Wise

Drive
By Damon Wise

Cannes Videblogisode #9
By Amar Vijay

Cannes Videblogisode #8
By Amar Vijay

Cannes Videblogisode #7
By Amar Vijay

Cannes In Pictures: Volume 6
By Amar Vijay

Cannes Videblogisode #6
By Amar Vijay

The Skin I Live In
By Damon Wise


RECENT COMMENTS

Drive
"So it's more of an 80s homage? Judging by the title, as well as the theme, I thought this would be a"  Manfrendshensindshen
Read comment

Cannes Videblogisode #6
"Good 'un!"  Manfrendshensindshen
Read comment

Cannes Videblogisode #8
"I live my life like I'm in a Carry On film, Megan."  Chris Hewitt
Read comment

Cannes Videblogisode #8
"My bra just fell off LOL amazing Carry On film vibe there. Have to say though, Chris is scarier when"  megank13
Read comment

Cannes In Pictures: Volume 6
"★good★ look love--- w w w - jordansforking - c o m   qeedsss
Read comment

Melancholia
"More on this will follow in the magazine later; I met Lars after the banning and heard his views on "  Damon_Wise
Read comment

Cannes Videblogisode #6
"Heh hee hee hee. So, Chris, twitter profile pic now, right?"  Ethanial
Read comment

Cannes Videblogisode #4
"Is that the young Mike Cimino playing "Neil LaBute?"  Manfrendshensindshen
Read comment

Cannes In Pictures: Volume 4
"Fair point usually but in that dress I think we should make an exception for Cheryl"  ErnestWilde
Read comment

Cannes Videblogisode #4
"Aha. Sam informs me that he had to cross the line as his original shooting angle would have ended up"  Chris Hewitt
Read comment


POPULAR POSTS

Cannes 2011: Tree Of Life: First Reaction
13 comments

Cannes Videblogisode #2
8 comments

Cannes Videblogisode #5
7 comments

Cannes Videblogisode #4
5 comments

Cannes Videblogisode #6
3 comments

Cannes In Pictures: Volume 4
3 comments

Cannes 2011: The Tree Of Life
2 comments

Cannes Videblogisode #1
2 comments

Melancholia
2 comments

Cannes Videblogisode #8
2 comments


BLOGGERS
Damon Wise (298)
Helen O'Hara (181)
James Dyer (86)
Amar Vijay (71)
Ali Plumb (56)
James White (29)
Phil de Semlyen (21)
Owen Williams (21)
Simon Braund (6)
Nev Pierce (4)
Ally Wybrew (2)
Ben Kirby (1)
David Parkinson (1)
Dan Jolin (1)
Ian Nathan (1)

SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

SAVE UP TO 69% GET 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY £25
Get the best seat in the house by subscribing to the world's biggest movie magazine today. Save up to 69% and every month you'll get exclusive subscriber-only covers, access to the biggest stars and the best news, reviews and behind-the-scenes reports straight from the set. Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Review Of The Year: 40 Worst Posters Of 2014
One-sheets that you'd rather not have on your wall

Hobbit Q&As: Ian McKellen On Finally Saying Goodbye And Farewell To Gandalf The Grey
Read our exclusive Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies interviews

Review Of 2014: Empire's Interviews Of The Year
Crews! Chan! Chickens?! The chats we loved in 2014...

Gallery: Peter Jackson Prop Art: The Bigiatures
An exclusive look inside the director's secret warehouse

Review Of 2014: The Best TV Moments Of The Year
We celebrate the small screen's biggest scenes

A Day In The Life Of An Orc
Three of Mordor's finest describe life in the Dark Lord’s employ

20 Great Films You (Probably) Didn't See In 2014
The underseen joys and unreleased gems of the last 12 months

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)