The Cannes Film Festival revealed, on Sunday, new information about the selected films that are taking part across its different competitions. Although the films will not be screened to the public due to the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, they will be credited as having been chosen at Cannes, and will be allowed to be screened at other festivals.
The 73rd edition’s sections were categorised on the back of different criteria. These cover the “faithful”, directors who have been included in an official selection before. Another category focuses on the newcomers, included in the official selection for their very first time. There is also a category devoted to the first features, in an extension of the festival’s trademark passion for unearthing new talent.
There will be a category devoted to documentary films, a genre that has been represented in official selection for two decades now. There will also be five comedy films, a genre that remains under-represented at the Cannes Film Festival, alongside four animated films from France, Japan, Denmark and the US.
The French Dispatch by Wes Anderson (USA)
In The French Dispatch, shot in Angoulême and featuring an international cast (including Frances McDormand, Léa Seydoux, Bill Murray, Mathieu Amalric, Benicio del Toro), Anderson offers up a work of art. It is comprised of a series of extraordinary miniatures, assembled to form an unprecedented whole in the history of cinema. An ode to the power of journalism, this film is a continuation of Anderson’s invaluable and unpredictable style.
Été 85 by François Ozon (France)
A dark, brooding tale of passion focuses on friendship and love, or perhaps the opposite, between two boys in the mid-eighties at a seaside resort in Normandy. Ozon plays around with genres in a film that upholds his inimitable style, in which staging is everything. The original soundtrack sees Bananarama and The Cure make their comeback. This will be the first Official Selection film to be released in cinemas on 14 July.
Asa Ga Kuru by Naomi Kawase (Japan)
Kawase’s new film, Asa Ga Kuru (True Mothers), weaves a complex tale of adoption and motherhood, shot with purposeful clarity and transparency, and lashings of humility. The director’s impressionistic, sensuous style is on full display here, in her inserts of the wind and other snapshots of the landscape in which her characters are embedded. This is a humanistic telling of a poignant story.
Lovers Rock by Steve McQueen (UK)
A flirty film constructed in the form of an epic trance, featuring slow-burning desire set to music in Swinging Sixties London in an antithesis of social distancing measures. This is the perfect film for easing out of lockdown.
Mangrove by Steve McQueen (UK)
This is Steve McQueen’s second Official Selection offering this year. The director made his Cannes début with Hunger (Caméra d’Or 2008) and is now returns to Competition. Mangrove is the story of Notting Hill’s Caribbean locals and their fight for respect in the face of the police harassment that has been ongoing for years. The Mangrove Nine trial is told with grace by a cast of extraordinary actors and a camera that delves deep behind the scenes in a tale that has echoes in contemporary racial tensions.
Another Round (original title: Druk, meaning “drunk” and a little something more, according to the director), examines the fascination fifty-something men have with alcohol – and the mid-life identity crisis that can see them put the wine bottle over evenings spent with family. This is a film that is politically incorrect and upsetting, whichever way you look at it. Druk embodies the full Vinterberg effect, his ease in building mood and an atmosphere of proximity and friendship, the care and attention he pours into his broken characters. Expect an exceptional line-up, including Mads Mikkelsen, Maria Bonnevie and Thomas Bo Larsen, to name but a few.
ADN (DNA) by Maïwenn (France/Algeria)
After Polisse, winner of the Jury Prize in 2011, and Mon Roi, which garnered the Best Actress Award for Emmanuelle Bercot’s performance in 2015, Maïwenn is back in the Official Selection. This time, she evokes, not without humour, the toxic heritage of her parents and her Algerian roots, through the loss of her beloved grandfather. The event triggers in her a need to get closer to Algeria. A maelstrom of tenderness and violence in which she plays herself, with Fanny Ardant as her mother, Marine Vacth as her sister and Louis Garrel as her best friend.
Last Words by Jonathan Nossiter (USA)
Last Words presents film as the start and end of the world, with Harold Lloyd, Toto, Anna Magnani, and Louis Lumière taking their rightful place in eternity. Having first landed in Competition with Mondovino and Signs and Wonders, director Jonathan Nossiter had no idea just how relevant his film and the notion of cinema and survival would become in the current climate and pandemic. A heart-stopping cast includes Nick Nolte, Charlotte Rampling, Alba Rohrwacher and Stellan Skarsgård.
Heaven: To the Land of Happiness by Im Sang-Soo (South Korea)
Im Sang-soo is unafraid of poor taste, and even goes as far as to play on it. A buddy movie in which the actors, including veteran Min-Sik Choi, enchant in a screenplay packed full of twists and turns. It is an entertaining film that Im Sang-soo injects with a little slapstick style. An examination of a country the director deems overly materialistic and all too often soulless, in which Im Sang-soo’s customary deadpan humour is rolled out with ease.
El Olvido Que Seremos (Forgotten we’ll be) is an historical epic shot in Colombia by Spanish filmmaker Fernando Trueba, who won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for Belle Époque in 1994. Adapted for the screen based on Héctor Abad Faciolince’s book with the same title, published by Gallimard in France, the present here is shot in black and white, while the past is infused with colour. The film is the story of childhood’s paradise lost, and the nightmare of a country crippled by violence, where families are torn apart. A child’s vision of his much loved and loving father is well served by Javier Cámara’s masterful performance as a medical authority and father figure.
Peninsula by Yeon Sang-Ho (South Korea)
Sang-Ho Yeon is a deft hand in the art of weaving heart-rending relationships between characters – even as they fight off a zombie attack. After the sensational Train to Busan, the South Korean master of genre film is back with a highly inventive, fast-paced offering. Peninsula is an artful and idiosyncratic blend of John Carpenter-style science-fiction and South Korea’s very own walking dead.
In the Dusk by Sharunas Bartas (Lithuania)
A young man in a Lithuanian village at the close of World War II struggles under the USSR’s grip over his country. How does one resist oppression? Lithuanian filmmaker Sharunas Bartas tackles this historical topic as he explores the soul of a nation, and the spirit of a people. In it, Bartas questions how a teenager might form a sense of self in the midst of major national conflict, and brings to light the deep imprints left by one people’s dominance over another. A threatening, foreboding film underpinned by a cruelly steady hand, In the Dusk (original title: Au Crépuscule) is an incredibly contemporary snapshot that serves as a perfect mirror image of the world we live in today.
Des Hommes (Home Front) by Lucas BELVAUX (Belgium)
Lucas Belvaux’s 11th feature film is an adaptation of Laurent Mauvignier’s eponymous novel. The story of the Algerian war’s veterans whose past comes back to haunt them 40 years later. Set in a small village where everyone knows each other, the film captures the leaden blanket of silence that fell on France after the “war that shall not be named”. It is done in flashback narration guided by the memory of Gérard Depardieu, Catherine Frot, and Jean-Pierre Darroussin.
The Real Thing by Kôji Fukada (Japan)
Undoubtedly, The Real Thing is one of Fukada’s best to date and one of this year’s most moving works. Four hours steeped in obsessive, thwarted love, destiny that clings on for dear life, an epic emotional fragility, all brought to life by mesmerising actors (Japan’s pool of incredible talent seems endless) – and a filmmaker deeply inspired by the stories he tells.