Bookended by two films about time travel, the Fortnight runs May 17-27 and will showcase 21 features and 10 shorts.
Michel Gondry will open Directors’ Fortnight this year with The We And The I, his New York-shot film about a group of high-school children who travel into the future. The selection will close with Noémie Lvovsky’s Camille Rewinds (Camille Redouble), about a 40-year-old mother, recently abandoned by her partner, who travels back in time to her teenage years when they first met.
The non-competitive and independent-minded sidebar, founded in 1969 in the wake of the student protests of 1968, will showcase 21 features and 10 shorts in total. This year marks the first Directors’ Fortnight with Edouard Waintrop at the helm. A former critic at Libération and director of Switzerland’s International Film Festival of Fribourg, Waintrop was appointed artistic director last summer after the controversial exit of Frédéric Boyer.
British director Ben Wheatley’s dark comedy Sightseers – about a couple who go on a killing spree while on a caravan holiday — will be given a Special Screening, as will The Night In Front (La Noche de Efrente), the final film shot by Raul Ruiz in his native Chile shortly before this death last August.
There are six first films in the line-up including US filmmaker Rodney Ascher’s documentary Room 237, examining the theories revolving around the meaning of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, which premiered at Sundance earlier this year.
Other debut films include La Sirga from Colombia’s William Vega, which won the top prize at Cinelatino’s Films in Progress in Toulouse last month, and feature-length animation The King Of Pigs from South Korea’s Yeun Sang-Ho, a film about school bullying which premiered to critical acclaim at the Busan International Film Festival late last year.
Iranian filmmaker Massoud Bakhshi will also premiere his semi-autobiographical first film A Respectable Family, a family drama spanning 30-years of contemporary Iranian post-revolution history.
The Fortnight may be non-competitive but the debut films are still eligible for the Cannes Film Festival’s Caméra d’Or prize, covering all first films screening across the festival and the parallel sections.
Other feature-length animations in the Fortnight include Ernest And Celestine, an adaptation of Gabrielle Vincent’s popular children’s books about a mouse and a bear who are best friends. A Town Called Panic (Panique Au Village) directors Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar have joined forces with Benjamin Renner for the production. Les Armateurs, the Paris-based animation house behind such features as Kirikou and The Triplets Of Belleville, produced the film.
The selection also boasts a strong Latin American presence. Alongside Colombia’s Vega, the line-up includes Uruguayan director Pablo Stoll Ward’s family comedy 3 and the semi-autobiographical Infancia Clandestina, about the lives of two children under the Argentinean military dictatorship of 1976-83 from Benjamin Ávila.
Also screening is No from Chile’s Pablo Larraín, set against the backdrop of Augusto Pinochet’s 1988 referendum aimed at giving him another term in power, and starring Gael Garcia Bernal as an adman who attempts to devise a campaign to sway the electorate against the dictator.
Notable Cannes returnees include Spain’s Jaime Rosales with his tale of loss and amnesia Dream And Silence (Sueño Y silencio). The director was last at the festival with Solitary Fragments (La Soledad) in Un Certain Regard in 2007.
Veteran Algerian filmmaker Merzak Allouache also returns to the Croisette for the first time in 16 years with Le Repenti, the tale of a repentant Islamic militant set against the backdrop of reigning Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s 1999 Amnesty Act, granting amnesty to all Islamist groups who agreed to lay down their arms.
India’s Anurag Kashyap, whose Udaan was the first Indian film in Official Selection in sixteen years in 2010 when it screened in Un Certain Regard, will be at the Fortnight with his epic gangster film Gangs of Wasseypur, set against the backdrop of India’s coal capital Dhanbad.
Waintrop told Screen that putting the selection together had been “a joy, a total pleasure”.
Commenting on the reported tension between the Fortnight and France’s powerful sales agents and distributors last year, Waintrop said: “As long as you keep people informed of what is going on and let them know as quickly as possible whether you’re going to take a film or not, there isn’t any tension.
“I learned that pretty early on. It’s the only real request from the sales agents and distributors because they are also under pressure from the producers and filmmakers over whether a film has been selected or not.”
Looking to the future of the sidebar Waintrop, who is on a one-year contract, said he that if he stays on next year he would like to re-capture the spirit of the Etats Generaux meetings in 1968 which led to the creation of the Fortnight in 1969. To this end, the event plans to hold four debates examining the state of French, Indian, Arab and Latin American cinema this year.
“I think the Fortnight should be more of a meeting place for cineastes from around the world… there should be more exchange,” he said.
The full Directors’ Fortnight line-up:
(*denotes first film eligible for the Caméra d’Or)
3, dir. Pablo Stoll Ward (Uruguay)
Adieu Berthe, dir. Bruno Podalydès (France)
Alyah, dir. Elie Wajeman (France)*
Camille Rewinds (Camille Redouble), dir. Noémie Lvovsky (France) (Closing Film)
The King Of Pigs (Dae Gi Eui Wang), dir. Yeun Sang-Ho (South Korea)*
Dangerous Liaisons, dir. Jin-ho Hur (China)
Ernest And Célestine, dir. Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, Benjamin Renner (France, Belgium, Luxembourg)
Fogo, dir. Yulene Olaizola (Canada)
Gangs Of Wasseypur, dir. Anurag Kashyap (India)
Infancia Clandestina, dir. Benjamin Ávila (Argentina)
La Sirga, dir. William Vega (Colombia)*
No, dir. Pablo Larraín (Chile)
Opération Libertad, dir. Nicolas Wadimoff (Switzerland)
Hold Back (Rengaine), dir. Rachid Djaidani (France)*
Le Repenti, dir. Merzak Allouache (Algeria)
Room 237, dir. Rodney Ascher (US)*
Dream And Silence (Sueño Y Silencio), dir. Jaime Rosales (Spain)
The We And The I, dir. Michel Gondry (US) (Opening Film)
A Respectable Family (Yek Khanévadéh-e Mohtaram), dir. Massoud Bakhshi (Iran)*
The Night In Front (La Noche De Enfrente), dir. Raul Ruiz (Chile, France)
Sightseers, dir. Ben Wheatley (UK)
Avec Jeff, A Moto, dir. Marie-Eve Juste (Canada)
Rodri, dir. Franco Lolli (France)
Konigsberg, dir. Philipp Mayrhofer (France)
Porcos Raivosos, dir. Leonardo Sette (Brazil)
Os Vivos Tamben Choram, dir. Basil da Cunha (Switzerland)
Drawn From Memory (Portret Z Pamieci), dir. Marcin Bortkiewicz (Poland)
The Curse, dir. Fyzal Boulifa (UK, Morocco)
Tram, dir. Michaela Pavlátová (Czech Republic, France)
The Living Dead (Os Mortos-Vivos), dir. Anita Rocha da Silveira (Brazil)
Wrong Cops, dir. Quentin Dupieux (France)