As Berlin draws to a close, selectors at the Cannes Film Festival are facing such a deluge of films from the world’s greatest auteurs that many will no doubt be rejected from official selection.
The lineup of titles ready for the May 13-24 festival is daunting, and many of the film-makers involved are accustomed to competition slots.
Pedro Almodovar’s Broken Embraces opens in Spain on March 18 and is expected to land on the Croisette for its international premiere as is customary with the Spanish master’s past few films.
Lars Von Trier’s psychological horror movie Antichristwhich features Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg has been getting strong advance word and should secure a competition slot for the 2002 Palme d’Or winner.
Similarly Michael Haneke is primed to return to competition with The White Ribbon featuring his Funny Games star Susanne Lothar. And Quentin Tarantino is working to ready his World War II epic Inglourious Basterds starring Brad Pitt and told in a host of different languages. It opens in the US on August 21.
Two years after The Edge Of Heaven, Fatih Akin is back with Soul Kitchen, Jane Campion, 1993 Palme d’Or winner for The Piano, is back with her Keats romance Bright Star.
And Ang Lee, who hasn’t played in competition since 1996, could find a berth with his comic period piece Taking Woodstockwhich opens in the US on Aug 1.
Other US titles likely to unveil in May include Jim Jarmusch’s latest The Limits Of Control featuring Isaach de Bonkole and Todd Solondz’s Forgiveness, a follow up of sorts to his Quinzaine 1998 hit Happiness, will be ready with a cast led by Charlotte Rampling and Paul Reubens.
Cannes favourites and Palme d’Or winners the Coen Brothers have a new movie A Serious Man featuring a cast of little known character actors.
Palme d’Or winners Michael Moore (Untitled documentary) and Steven Soderbergh both have new films - Soderbergh actually has two in The Girlfriend Experience and The Informant, while studio tentpoles which could attend include Ron Howard’s Angels And Demons which might follow its predecessor The Da Vinci Code to the Croisette in advance of its May 15 worldwide opening.
Other English language titles ready in time include Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium Of Dr Parnassus which features Heath Ledger’s final performance, Philip Ridley’s return to the screen Heartless, Jaco Van Dormael’s $50m fantasy Mr Nobody with Jared Leto, Neil Jordan’s Ondine with Colin Farrell who could also be Cannes-bound for Danis Tanovic’s Triage, and Alejandro Amenabar’s ancient Egypt epic Agora.
From the UK comes Cannes favourite Ken Loach with his Looking For Eric starring soccer star Eric Cantona and Andrea Arnold’s second feature Fish Tank with Michael Fassbender.
As always, the French contingent is a powerful one. Jacques Audiard should be ready with Un Prophete, Sylvain Chomet with his animated L’Illusioniste, the Larrieu brothers with This Is The End, Bruno Dumont with Hadewijch, Jan Kounen with Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, Claire Denis with White Material(although the fact that it stars jury president Isabelle Huppert could preclude it from competition), Marina de Van with Ne Te Retourne Pas and, if he can complete the special effects in time, Gaspar Noe could return for the first time since he shocked the Croisette with Irreversible in 2002 with Enter The Void.
From Romania, Palme d’Or winner Cristian Mungiu is back with Tales From the Golden Age, a personal history of the late communist period in Romania in six separate stories, two of which he will direct.
From Germany Margarethe Von Trotta returns with Vision- Hildegard Von Bingen which reteams her with Barbara Sukowa. From Australia, Sarah Watt (Look Both Ways) has a new film, My Year Without Sex.
2009 offers a particularly strong lineup of films from Asia led by Park Chan-wook’s vampire drama Thirst (Korea), Tsai Ming-Liang’s France-set Face (Taiwan), Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Air Doll (Japan), Johnnie To’s Vengeance (Hong Kong/France) starring French legend Johnny Hallyday, Tian Zhuangzhuang’s The Warrior And The Wolf (China), Pen-Ek Ratanaruang’s supernatural drama Nymph (Thailand), Bong Joon Ho’s Mother (Korea) and Hong Sang-Soo’s latest (Korea) which has yet to be titled in English.
The Cannes lineup is announced at a press conference in Paris on April 23.