Screen previews this year’s Cannes Critics’ Week (running May 15-23), featuring films from first and second-time feature directors.
Abou Leila (Alg-Fr-Qat) - Dir. Amin Sidi-Boumediene
Algerian filmmaker Sidi-Boumediene has enjoyed festival success with his short films, and his second short Al Djazira won best Arab film at Abu Dhabi Film Festival in 2012. Feature debut Abou Leila follows two friends as they travel through the Sahara looking for the titular terrorist. A co-production between Algeria’s Thala Films and France’s In Vivo Films, the project participated in Cannes’ Cinefondation in 2016 and TorinoFilmLab in 2017.
Contact: Films Boutique
Dwelling In The Fuchun Mountains (China) - Dir. Gu Xiaogang
Named after an ancient Chinese handscroll landscape painting, this closing film of Critics’ Week is Gu’s first part of a trilogy. Produced by Dadi Film and Factory Gate Films, the drama was shot during four seasons, slowly unfolding the lives of a family’s ageing mother and four sons. Gu previously directed Planting For Life, a documentary produced by CNEX, about a white-collar worker who left metropolitan Shanghai to start a new life as an organic farmer.
Contact: Antoine Guilhem, Wild Bunch
Heroes Don’t Die (Fr-Bel-Bos & Herz) - Dir. Aude Léa Rapin
The feature debut of French short filmmaker Rapin — who won Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival’s grand prize for 2015 short Ton Cover Au Hazard and screened follow-up Long Live The Emperor at Locarno Film Festival in 2016 — Heroes Don’t Die is produced by France’s Les Films du Worso and Radar Films together with Belgium’s Scope Pictures and Bosnia’s SSCA/Pro. Playing here as a non-competitive Special Screening, it follows a young actor who believes he may be the reincarnation of a deceased soldier and journeys to Sarajevo to uncover the truth.
Contact: Le Pacte
I Lost My Body (Fr) - Dir. Jérémy Clapin
French illustrator-turned-filmmaker Clapin debuted his 2008 short animation Skhizein at Cannes, where it won the discovery award, and now brings his first feature to Critics’ Week. The animated I Lost My Body is an adventure of a severed hand that traverses Paris in an attempt to find its owner, and was recently showcased at the 2019 European animation co-production forum Cartoon Movie.
Land Of Ashes (Costa Rica-Arg-Chile-Fr) - Dir. Sofia Quiros Ubeda
Costa Rican director Ubeda returns with her debut feature after her short Selva screened in Critics’ Week in 2017. Land Of Ashes tells of a 13-year-old girl coming of age as her grandfather approaches death. Costa Rica’s Sputnik Films produces with Murillo Cine (Argentina), La Post Producciones (Chile) and Promenade Films (France).
Contact: Totem Films
Litigante (Col-Fr) - Dir. Franco Lolli
Five years after the world premiere of his debut feature Gente De Bien, Colombian director Lolli returns to Critics’ Week with his Bogota-set story starring Carolina Sanin about a single mother and lawyer implicated in a corruption scandal who begins a romantic relationship for the first time in years. Backers include FDC Proimagenes (Colombia), CNC Aide aux Cinémas du Monde (France) and TorinoFilmLab. Ad Vitam distributes in France and Cinecolombia in Colombia.
Contact: Gaelle Mareschi, Kinology
Our Mothers (Guat-Bel-Fr) - Dir. Cesar Diaz
Diaz’s feature debut takes place in Guatemala in 2013 as a young anthropologist tasked with identifying people who have disappeared in the Civil War thinks he may have found a clue as to the whereabouts of his missing father. Armando Espitia and Emma Dib star and Geraldine Sprimont of Belgium’s Need Productions and Delphine Schmit of France’s Perspective Films produce.
Contact: Pyramide International
The Unknown Saint (Fr-Ger-Leb-Mor-Qat) - Dir. Alaa Eddine Aljem
Moroccan short filmmaker Aljem (The Desert Fish, 2015) was named one of Screen International’s Arab Stars of Tomorrow in 2016. Feature debut The Unknown Saint sees a criminal recently released from prison who returns to the spot where he buried his loot years ago, only to find that a religious shrine has been built directly on top of it. The project won an Open Doors Lab ICAM prize at Locarno in 2015, and participated in Sundance Screenwriters Lab in 2016 and Cannes’ La Fabrique des Cinemas du Monde in 2017.
Contact: The Match Factory
Vivarium (Ire-Bel-Den) - Dir. Lorcan Finnegan
Irish filmmaker Finnegan has assembled an impressive cast for his second feature: Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots star as a young couple who come under the influence of a mysterious estate agent while searching for their perfect home. Finnegan’s 2016 feature debut Without Name received funding from Screen Ireland, which has also supported Vivarium. A co-production between Ireland’s Fantastic Films, Belgium’s Frakas Productions and Denmark’s PingPongFilm, Vivarium is also supported by Belgium’s Wallimage fund and Eurimages.
Contact: XYZ Films
A White, White Day (Ice-Den-Swe) - Dir. Hlynur Palmason
After shooting his Locarno-award-winning debut Winter Brothers in Denmark, Palmason returns to his native Iceland for his second feature. In the remote East Fjords, an off-duty police chief becomes obsessed with the idea his late wife had an affair, while his investigation threatens his relationship with his daughter and granddaughter. Ingvar E Sigurdsson, one of Iceland’s best-known actors with credits including Of Horses And Men, reunites with the director after appearing in Palmason’s 2013 award-winning short A Painter.
Contact: Jan Naszewski, New Europe Film Sales
You Deserve A Love (Fr) - Dir. Hafsia Herzi
As an actress, Herzi won awards including the 2008 best female newcomer César for Abdellatif Kechiche’s Secret Of The Grain, and was named an EFP Shooting Star in 2009 before directing short Le Rodba in 2010. She takes the starring role in her feature directing debut about a woman coming to terms with a relationship break-up. Herzi also wrote the screenplay for this Special Screening selection, and produces through Les Films de la Bonne Mere.
Contact: Antoine Guilhem, Wild Bunch