Lives through a lens
The lowdown on the feature documentaries screening in all the festival sections. Profiles by Louise Tutt.
A Special Day (Fr)
65th anniversary special screening
Dirs Gilles Jacob, Samuel Faure
A 52-minute celebration of Cannes using archive material and official footage to spotlight an array of directors as they present their films at the 60th edition of the festival in 2007.
Contact Films Distribution, www.filmsdistribution.com
The Central Park Five (US)
Dirs Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon
A film about the ongoing fight for justice of five African-American men wrongly jailed for the rape of a woman, who came to be known as the Central Park Jogger, in New York City in 1989. Ken Burns is a frequent PBS documentary film-maker, Sarah Burns is his daughter and author of a book about the case, The Story Of A Wilding. McMahon is her husband.
Contact PBS, www.pbs.org
Les Invisibles (Fr) [pictured]
Dir Sebastien Lifshitz
Told through the eyes of four people with nothing in common except each is gay, Lifshitz - the director of 2009’s Plein Sud - explores what it means to be homosexual in France today.
Sales Doc + Film International, www.docandfilm.com
Journal De France (Fr)
Dirs Claudine Nougaret, Raymond Depardon
France is captured on film by photographer and film-maker Depardon as he travels alone around the country with a large-format camera. Nougaret is his long-time partner.
Contact Wild Bunch, www.wildbunch.biz
Mekong Hotel (Thai-UK)
Dir Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Produced by Keith Griffiths of the UK’s Illuminations Films, this 61-minute documentary from Thai auteur Weerasethakul follows the making of a horror film at a hotel on the Mekong river. Weerasethakul won the Palme d’Or for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives in 2010.
Sales The Match Factory, email@example.com
Dir Candida Brady
UK film-maker Brady follows actor Jeremy Irons as he visits Iceland, Vietnam and Brazil to investigate the world’s problem of waste and global pollution. Irons says he was inspired to take part after witnessing the impact of Al Gore’s environmental call to arms An Inconvenient Truth.
Contact Blenheim Films, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Music According To Tom Jobim (Braz)
Dir Nelson Pereira Dos Santos
The latest film from Nelson Pereira Dos Santos is screening as part of Cannes’ special tribute to Brazilian cinema this year. The Music According To Tom Jobim is a love letter to the late, great Brazilian Bossa Nova master Antonio Carlos ‘Tom’ Jobim, whose most famous composition was The Girl From Ipanema. Tobim’s story is told purely through a musical collage of the people who sang his songs, including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland and Dizzy Gillespie. The film was well-received at last year’s CPH:DOX festival in Copenhagen and at the New York Film Festival.
Contact Regina Filmes, email@example.com
The Oath Of Tobruk
Dir Bernard-Henri Lévy
Well-known French philosopher and journalist Lévy will present The Oath Of Tobruk (Le Serment De Tobrouk), a film made during the conflict that led to the ousting of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The film follows men and women in Libya, Paris, London and New York. Key figures of the Libyan revolution will attend the screening and show solidarity with Syrian protestors.
Contact Rezo Films, www.rezofilms.com
Polluting Paradise (Ger)
Dir Fatih Akin
Akin, whose The Edge Of Heaven played in Competition at Cannes in 2007, returns to his grandfather’s Black Sea village of Camburnu to witness the decision by the Turkish government to place a huge rubbish dump nearby. Polluting Paradise paints a portrait of the elderly villagers protesting the dump; the young have mostly left the village. Akin also filmed scenes from The Edge Of Heaven in Camburnu.
Contact The Match Factory, www.the-match-factory.com
Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir (UK)
Dir Laurent Bouzereau
Controversial auteur Polanski talks openly about his life including his childhood in Nazi-occupied Poland and the sexual assault that forced him to leave the US in the late 1970s. The on-screen interview with Polanksi was shot by his friend and the film’s producer, Andrew Braunsberg, while Polanksi was under house arrest in Gstaad in 2009 and 2010. The film first screened at the 2011 Zurich Film Festival.
Contact HanWay Films, www.hanwayfilms.com
Sofia’s Last Ambulance (Bul-Cro-Ger)
Dir Ilian Metev
Metev, a graduate of the UK’s National Film and Television School, follows a long, exhausting day in the life of a doctor, nurse and ambulance driver on the frontline of emergency medicine in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia. The film highlights the shocking lack of finances and resources in the city.
Contact Films Boutique, firstname.lastname@example.org
Room 237 (US)
Dir Rodney Ascher
Ascher’s head-first plunge into the hidden meanings behind Stanley Kubrick’s divisive horror film The Shining went down well with critics and audiences at Sundance in January. IFC Midnight picked up North American rights just before Cannes. Five devoted fans of the Kubrick’s 1980 movie expound a wide range of theories about every aspect of the 1980 horror film, including genocide, government conspiracy and the very nature of history.
Contact The Film Sales Company, www.filmsalescorp.com
Woody Allen: A Documentary (US)
Dir Robert Weide
Produced as part of PBS’s American Masters series and screened on US TV late last year, Curb Your Enthusiasm director Robert B Weide takes a trip down memory lane with the hallowed film-maker, musician and stand-up comic. Weide interviews key figures in Allen’s life, including actresses Diane Keaton and Scarlett Johansson. The film screened in the US as a three-part series on PBS late last year.
Contact HanWay Films, www.hanwayfilms.com
Method To The Madness Of Jerry Lewis (US)
Dir Gregg Barson
The legendary Hollywood comic and film-maker plays an active role in Barson’s affectionate tribute. Heavyweight stars including Jerry Seinfield, Billy Crystal, Quentin Tarantino, Eddie Murphy, Steven Spielberg and Alec Baldwin line-up to pay tribute to Lewis. Barson’s film screened on US channel Encore in 2011.
Contact Starz Media, www.starzglobal.com
Me And Me Dad (Ire-UK)
Dir Katrine Boorman
John Boorman’s daughter, Katrine, directs this study of the often delicate relationship between a daughter and her father. Boorman’s many credits include Point Blank, Deliverance, Excalibur and, more recently, The Tailor Of Panama. The documentary received completion funding from the Irish Film Board.
Contact High Point Media Group, email@example.com
Claude M Le Cinema (Fr)
Dir Emmanuel Barnault
Produced by Movie Da Productions for French TV channel Cine +, this tribute to Claude Miller features interviews with his wife and producer Annie Miller, director Bertrand Blier and actress Charlotte Gainsbourg. Thérese Desqueyroux, the last film of Miller, who died in April, is the closing film of the festival.
Contact Catherine Chevassu, C& Co, firstname.lastname@example.org