Screen previews this year’s Cannes Directors’ Fortnight line-up, running May 15-25, which is overseen for the first time by artistic director Paolo Moretti this year.
Alice And The Mayor (Fr) - Dir. Nicolas Pariser
Writer/director Pariser makes his Cannes debut with a political comedy from Bizibi Productions, about a mayor who finds his attitudes challenged when he consults Alice, a brilliant young philosopher. The stars are hugely popular in France: veteran Fabrice Luchini and Anaïs Demoustier, whose films include Valérie Donzelli’s 2015 Competition entry Marguerite & Julien. Also featured is TV humourist Nora Hamzawi, recently seen in Olivier Assayas’ Non-Fiction.
Contact: Bac Films
All About Yves (Fr) - Dir. Benoit Forgeard
French multidisciplinary artist-turned-filmmaker Forgeard premiered his debut feature Gaz De France in the Cannes parallel section ACID in 2015. His second feature is a high-concept work revolving around a struggling rapper who develops a relationship with a smart fridge called Yves, with surprising consequences for his music. William Lebghil, who appeared in Thomas Lilti’s medical student drama The Freshman, stars. Emmanuel Chaumet at Ecce Films (In Bed With Victoria) produces.
Contact: Le Pacte
And Then We Danced (Swe-Georgia-Fr) - Dir. Levan Akin
A Swedish director of Georgian heritage, Akin delivers his most personal film to date — about two rival male dancers who fall in love, despite living in a homophobic society. The director’s credits include Certain People, which launched at Tribeca in 2012, and The Circle, which showed at the Berlinale in 2015. And Then We Danced was pitched as a work-in-progress at Les Arcs in December.
Contact: Totem Films
The Bare Necessity (Fr) - Dir. Erwan Le Duc
French sports journalist-turned-filmmaker Le Duc first drew attention with Cannes Critics’ Week 2016 short Virgin Soldier, about an injured soldier who tells his comrade his dying wish is not to die a virgin. This debut feature (which was provisionally titled Perdrix) stars Swann Arlaud as a young man who falls in love with an enigmatic young woman (Maud Wyler), whose arrival affects his tight-knit family. Fanny Ardant plays his mother. It is produced by Stéphanie Bermann and Alexis Dulguerian at Paris-based Domino Films.
Blow It To Bits (Fr) - Dir. Lech Kowalski
Workers at the GM&S car plant in central France hit the headlines in 2017 when they occupied the factory and threatened to blow it up in protest at its planned closure. European underground documentarian Kowalski delivers a characteristically up-close and raw portrait of this struggle, which has gained extra relevancy in the age of France’s gilets jaunes protests. The filmmaker, whose credits include D.O.A.: A Rite Of Passage, capturing the UK’s punk scene, On Hitler’s Highway and East Of Paradise, is one of 16 directors making their Cannes debut at Directors’ Fortnight this year.
Contact: Odile Allard, Revolt Cinema
Deerskin (Fr) - Dir. Quentin Dupieux
French director Dupieux — also known as techno-music artist Mr Oizo — has developed his outré line of surreal comedy both in France and the US, notably with 2010 Critics’ Week title Rubber. He follows his cop farce Keep An Eye Out with this year’s Directors’ Fortnight opener, from Atelier de Production and Arte France Cinema. French comedy mainstay Jean Dujardin (The Artist) is a man obsessively in love with his deerskin jacket, with Cannes favourite Adele Haenel co-starring.
Dogs Don’t Wear Pants (Fin-Lat) - Dir. Jukka-Pekka Valkeapaa
Years after losing his wife in a drowning accident, a widower starts to feel alive again when he meets a dominatrix. Tom Of Finland’s Pekka Strang and The Midwife’s Krista Kosonen lead the cast. Aleksi Bardy’s Helsinki Filmi produces. Valkeapaa’s 2008 debut feature The Visitor was developed at Cannes Residence and premiered at Venice; his 2014 drama They Have Escaped played at Venice and Toronto.
Contact: Karoliina Dwyer, The Yellow Affair
An Easy Girl (Fr) - Dir. Rebecca Zlotowski
French filmmaker Zlotowski debuted her first feature Dear Prudence in Critics’ Week in 2010, landed in Un Certain Regard in 2013 with Grand Central and travelled to Venice with Planetarium in 2016. Her fourth feature explores female empowerment and sexuality. Newcomer Mina Farid co-stars as a teenager whose eyes are opened to love, sex and relationships during a holiday with an older cousin (Zahia Dehar). Frédéric Jouve at Les Films Velvet produces.
Contact: Antoine Guilhem, Wild Bunch
First Love (Jap-UK) - Dir. Takashi Miike
Miike has played in Competition with Hara-Kiri: Death Of A Samurai (2011) and Shield Of Straw (2013). Set in Tokyo, First Love follows a boxer and a call girl as they are caught up in a drug-smuggling scheme. The film is a co-production between Japan’s Muneyuki Kii and Misako Saka, with Jeremy Thomas of the UK’s Recorded Picture Company; the latter has worked with Miike on Cannes titles Blade Of The Immortal (2017), Hara-Kiri (2011) and 13 Assassins (2010). Contact: HanWay Films
For The Money (Arg) - Dirs. Luciana Acuna, Alejo Moguillansky
Moguillansky’s historical drama The Gold Bug played at La-Roche-sur-Yon in 2014, which new Directors’ Fortnight artistic director Paolo Moretti has programmed for some years. Buenos Aires-based filmmaker collective El Pampero Cine, which Moguillansky co-founded, produced For The Money, which tells of a miserable troupe of Argentinian artists and a girl on a theatre tour. Acuna co-directs.
Contact: El Pampero Cine
Ghost Tropic (Bel) - Dir. Bas Devos
Just a few months after he premiered his second feature Hellhole in Berlin’s Panorama section — his first, Violet, won the grand prix of the Generation14plus international jury in 2014 — Belgian director Devos brings his third feature to Cannes. Ghost Tropic follows a 58-year-old woman (Saadia Bentaieb) as she makes her way home on the Brussels metro after dark has set in. A co-production between Belgium’s Quetzalcoatl, Minds Meet and 10:80 Films, it is supported by the Flanders Audiovisual Fund.
Contact: Minds Meet
Give Me Liberty (US) - Dir. Kirill Mikhanovsky
Mikhanovsky’s absurdist comedy was one of the more-admired films at Sundance, when it premiered at the start of the year. Now the director is back with the “definitive world premiere” of his film about a Russian-American driver who ferries people with disabilities around Milwaukee, including a funeral party.
Contact: Antoine Guilhem, Wild Bunch, CAA
The Halt (Philippines), Dir. Lav Diaz
Diaz returns to Cannes with The Halt (Ang Hupa), a political sci-fi drama about a dictator and the death of morality and truth — set in a world where people live without the sun. Spring Films and Sine Olivia Pilipinas are producing, with Piolo Pascual leading the cast. Diaz’s recent films have won many awards in A-list festivals, including 2016’s The Woman Who Left, which took the Venice Golden Lion. In 2013, his film Norte, The End Of History was in Un Certain Regard. Contact: Indie Sales
The Lighthouse (US) - Dir. Robert Eggers
There is plenty of buzz swirling around Eggers’ black-and-white fantasy horror after his feature debut The Witch. The Lighthouse stars Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe as lighthouse keepers on a suitably remote and mysterious island in the 1890s. Conditions on the shoot were harsh and Pattinson revealed he came close to hitting Eggers after the director repeatedly sprayed a hose in his face. A24, New Regency and RT Features produced, and A24 distributes in the US and handles worldwide sales.
Lillian (Austria) - Dir. Andreas Horwath
Horwath, the Austrian documentary maker whose Helmut Berger, Actor premiered in Venice in 2015, brings his fiction debut to Directors’ Fortnight. Based on the true story of Russian immigrant Lillian Alling, who tried to walk from New York to Russia in the 1920s, the film is produced by prolific Austrian filmmaker Ulrich Seidl, who himself played in Competition with both Paradise: Love in 2012 and Import Export in 2007.
Oleg (Lat-Bel-Lith-Fr) - Dir. Juris Kursietis
A Latvian immigrant tries to find work as a butcher in Brussels but becomes involved with a Polish criminal in the second feature from Latvian filmmaker Kursietis, whose 2014 debut Modris premiered in Toronto. Oleg is produced by Latvia’s Tasse Film, Belgium’s Iota Productions and Lithuania’s In Script, and supported by National Film Centre of Latvia, Brussels Centre du Cinema et de l’Audiovisuel and the Belgian Tax Shelter. Developed at Equinoxe Europe screenwriting lab, Oleg was selected for Karlovy Vary’s Eastern Promises Industry Days initiative in 2018.
Contact: Best Friend Forever
The Orphanage (Den-Afg-Fr-Ger-Lux) - Dir. Shahrbanoo Sadat
Sadat, who won Fortnight’s main prize in 2016 with her Cinéfondation-developed Wolf And Sheep, returns with a very different Afghanistan-set story. The drama — with playful touches of Bollywood — follows a 15-year-old who is taken into a Soviet orphanage in Kabul in the 1980s. Everything changes when civil war breaks out. Wolf And Sheep’s Katja Adomeit is on board as producer again for the second part of Sadat’s planned quintology, all based on an unpublished autobiography by Anwar Hashimi.
Contact: Hédi Zardi, Luxbox
Particles (Switz-Fr), Dir. Blaise Harrison
The debut feature from French cinematographer Harrison, following his 2013 documentary Harmony, which premiered in Locarno, follows a group of teens navigating their final year of high school at the base of Switzerland’s Jura mountains, near the Large Hadron Collider. Particles is a co-production between France’s Les Films Du Losange and Switzerland’s Bande A Part Films; the companies previously worked together on Barbet Schroeder’s Cannes 2017 documentary The Venerable W.
Contact: Alice Lesort, Les Films Du Losange
Sick Sick Sick (Braz-Neth-Fr) - Dir. Alice Furtado
This is the feature directing debut from Furtado, who presented her short Duel Before Nightfall (2011) at the Cinéfondation selection. Sick Sick Sick tells the story of Silvia, an introspective adolescent not interested in the daily routines of family and school, who becomes fascinated by a haemophiliac classmate who was previously expelled from several schools — then their friendship is interrupted by a serious accident. Brazil’s Estudio Giz produces in co-production with Baldr Film (Netherlands) and Ikki Films (France).
Contact: Alpha Violet
Song Without A Name (Peru-Sp-US) - Dir. Melina Leon
Leon’s feature debut is the first film by a female Peruvian director to screen in Cannes. Song Without A Name is described as a true story occurring at the height of Peru’s political crisis in the 1980s, as a young mother from the Andes enlists the support of a journalist as she tries to recover her newborn after it is abducted at a fake health clinic. Activist-performer Pamela Mendoza leads the cast. La Vida Misma Films is the lead producer and Switzerland’s Bord Cadre Films recently came on to provide post-production funds.
Contact: Hédi Zardi, Luxbox
Tlamess (Tun-Fr) - Dir. Ala Eddine Slim
Tunisia’s Slim burst onto the international festival circuit in 2016 with The Last Of Us, an allegorical take on transcontinental migration from Africa to Europe. His second feature explores the topic of masculinity in the Arab world, revolving around an unexpected connection between a young military deserter and the pregnant wife of a wealthy businessman living in a villa in the forest. Slim produces under the banner of his Tunis-based Exit Productions with Pierre Menahem and Juliette Lepoutre at Paris-based Still Moving.
Contact: Pamela Leu, Be For Films
To Live To Sing (China-Fr) - Dir. Johnny Ma
Chinese-Canadian Ma’s second film is a contemporary take on a traditional Chinese opera, exploring how traditional values collide against the tide of modern change. With real members of a travelling troupe depicting themselves, the film adopts a hybrid docu-fiction approach. House On Fire’s Vincent Wang from France is co-producing. In 2016, Ma’s feature debut Old Stone premiered in Berlin’s Forum, and won the City of Toronto award for best Canadian first feature and best first feature at the Canadian Screen Awards.
Contact: Films Boutique
Wounds (US) - Dir. Babak Anvari
This may not be its festival debut, but Anvari’s follow-up to Under The Shadow is nevertheless one of the most talked about selections, given that Netflix snapped up international rights shortly after Wounds’ Sundance world premiere. That means the streaming platform has a film on the Croisette, albeit one playing in a sidebar. Armie Hammer stars opposite Dakota Johnson as a New Orleans bartender who experiences terrifying forces when he picks up a phone left in the bar. United Artists Releasing will distribute in the US.
Zombi Child (Fr) - Dir. Bertrand Bonello
One of France’s most intransigently individual directors, Bonello has previously had three features in Competition: Tiresia (2003), House Of Tolerance (2011) and Saint Laurent (2014). His new film, starring newcomers Louise Labeque and Wislanda Louimat, returns to the roots of the zombie mythos, with a story about a dead man revived in 1962, and a Haitian student 55 years later. Production companies are Les Film du Bal and Bonello’s My New Picture, with backing from Arte France Cinema.