Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
100 Greatest Videos Games Of All Time
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Empire Visits The Hobbit's VFX Team
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
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 (439)

Under The Radar (317)

Infinite Lives (92)

Small Screen (57)

Words From The Wise (35)

Cannes 2011 (28)

Off The Wire (24)

Comic-Con 2010 (21)

Casting Couch (2)

Oscars 2011 (1)


RECENT POSTS

i, Robot Goes 3D On Blu-Ray
By James White

DreamWorks Touts New 'Toon Footage
By James White

Golden Globes 2012
By James White

James Cameron Talks Titanic 3D
By James White

The 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony: What Can We Expect?
By Helen O'Hara

The Sorcerer's Apprentice Edit Bay Visit
By James White

Shutter Island: A Thriller Out Of Time?
By Damon Wise

What Chris Nolan Could Bring To Superman
By James White

The Oscar Back-And-Forth
By Helen O'Hara

The Oscar Race: What Upsets Would You Like To See?
By Damon Wise


RECENT COMMENTS

Little Favour, Big Impact
"A really good short film. Gripping from the outset, a noir-ish action thriller with an interesting s"  Jaks
Read comment

i, Robot Goes 3D On Blu-Ray
"I received this yesterday with high expectations Now I am an advocate for 3D and a massive "  BigNickUK
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"Someone at E! needs to get fired! Their coverage was shocking! Thanks god for Empire showing me the "  guysalisbury
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
""Harvey Weinstein’s nickname apparently being The Punisher. Write your own Thomas Jane jo"  loafroaster
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"Have to agree with the previous comments about the coverage by E! Truly inept. Other than that, high"  wgfuzzydunlop1
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"Sadly boredbluekoala is spot on with the description of E!'s shockingly incompetent handling of the "  spacemonkey95
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"Great, so let's get the Oscars back on the BBC then."  Cameron1975Williams
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"I don't know which broadcast everyone else was watching, but the one shown by 'E' in the UK was shoc"  boredbluekoala
Read comment

Golden Globes 2012
"Either Gervais was told to tone it down this year or he just couldn't come up with anything funny (m"  BenTramer
Read comment

James Cameron Talks Titanic 3D
"As a younger generation movie lover, i am thrilled by the fact that Titanic is coming back to the bi"  AusteV
Read comment


POPULAR POSTS

You Wouldn't Steal A Car...
140 comments

Should Spider-Man Have Gone 3D?
27 comments

Spielberg's Harvey: Why It's A Good Idea
26 comments

What Chris Nolan Could Bring To Superman
21 comments

The Oscar Back-And-Forth
18 comments

James Cameron Talks Titanic 3D
16 comments

The Oscar Race: What Upsets Would You Like To See?
11 comments

Golden Globes 2012
7 comments

The Sorcerer's Apprentice Edit Bay Visit
3 comments

The 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony: What Can We Expect?
2 comments


BLOGGERS
Damon Wise (297)
Helen O'Hara (167)
James Dyer (86)
Amar Vijay (71)
Ali Plumb (56)
James White (29)
Phil de Semlyen (19)
Owen Williams (15)
Ally Wybrew (2)
Ben Kirby (1)
Ian Nathan (1)
Dan Jolin (1)
David Parkinson (1)

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Rogues Gallery: Powers Boothe
Sin City's Roark talks us through his most memorable baddies

Richard Attenborough: In Celebration
Saluting a man who made a lasting impact on cinema and beyond…

Exclusive: Luc Besson Talks Lucy
'There is no bullshit with Scarlett Johansson'

Video: Daniel Radcliffe Talks What If...
On Gordon Ramsay, swearing and date movies

The 24 Best Film-Related Ice Bucket Challenges
The viral craze that won’t quit takes in some of Hollywood’s finest

Who Shot First? The Complete List Of Star Wars Changes
An exhaustive chronology of George Lucas' post-release tinkering

Film Studies 101: A Film Buff's Guide To Movie Movements
Everything you need to know about cinema's key groups

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

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 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! 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  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)