Screen staff preview each of the titles in the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight section, which this year includes films from Mia-Hansen-Love, Alice Winocour, and Alex Garland.
Dir. Manuela Martelli
Chilean actress Martelli’s feature directing debut is set during the early years of the Augusto Pinochet regime and follows a woman who faces a dilemma when a priest asks her to shelter a dissident. Aline Kuppenheim, Nicolas Sepulveda, Hugo Medina and Alejandro Goic star. Chile’s Cinestacion produces with Wood Producciones in co-production with Argentina’s Magma Cine. The film received project support from Produire au Sud at Festival des 3 Continents (France, 2015), AustraLAB, BAL and 3 Puertos Cine at Cinemart (Chile, 2014) and went through Ventana Sur’s Proyecta sidebar in Buenos Aires in 2018. It was selected for Cinélatino, Rencontres de Toulouse earlier this year where it won three prizes.
El Agua (Switz-Sp-Fr)
Dir. Elena Lopez Riera
Lopez Riera’s debut short Pueblo played in Directors’ Fortnight 2015, and now she returns with her first feature. El Agua follows a couple embarking on a torrid love affair during a long, hot summer in southeast Spain, and was selected for Cannes’ Cinéfondation and San Sebastian’s Ikusmira Berriak residences. A Screen Spain Star of Tomorrow in 2021, Lopez Riera participated in the Berlinale Talent Campus in 2017, and her short film Those Who Lust won a Pardino d’Ora at Locarno in 2018.
Contact: Elle Driver
Dir. Youssef Chebbi
Awarded a Doha Film Institute grant for feature narrative production in 2020, Tunisian crime drama Ashkal follows an investigation when the calcined body of a caretaker is found on a construction site in Carthage. It is the second fiction feature from Chebbi, whose debut Black Medusa — co-directed with brother Ismael Chebbi — premiered at Rotterdam in 2021. Before that, he co-directed doc feature Babylon, about Libyan refugees who fled to Tunisia after the 2012 insurrection. Ashkal is produced by Fares Ladjimi at Paris-based Supernova Films, with Poetik Film (France) and Blast Film (Tunisia).
Contact: The Party Film Sales
Continental Drift (Switz-Fr)
Dir. Lionel Baier
Swiss writer/director Baier’s last film was 2015 drama Vanity, which was in the running for the Cannes Queer Palm, and his latest work tells of an EU humanitarian worker and her estranged son who must face their differences while working in a Sicilian migrant camp. Producers are Max Karli and Pauline Gygax of Geneva-based Bandita Films, the company the Rita Productions pair founded in 2017 with Band A Parte Films’ Baier, Jean-Stéphane Bron, Ursula Meier and Frédéric Mermoud. Bandita was most recently behind Meier’s Berlin 2022 Competition entry The Line.
Contact: Alice Lesort, Les Films du Losange
The Dam (Fr-Sudan-Leb-Ger-Serbia-Qat)
Dir. Ali Cherri
Lebanese filmmaker and artist Cherri’s short films Pipe Dreams, The Disquiet and The Digger — spanning fiction and documentary — have collectively played Berlin, Rotterdam and Toronto film festivals. This feature debut is a political fable set against the backdrop of the 2018 Sudanese revolution, about a brickyard worker who builds a mysterious construction made of mud. While the Sudanese people rise to claim their freedom, his creation takes on a life of its own. Co-written by Geoffroy Grison in collaboration with Bertrand Bonello, The Dam is produced by Janja Kralj at KinoElektron in co-production with Galerie Imane Fares (both France), DGL Travel (Sudan), Twenty Twenty Vision Filmproduktion (Germany) and Trilema (Serbia).
Contact: Clément Chautant, Indie Sales
De Humani Corporis Fabrica (Fr)
Dirs. Véréna Paravel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor
Paravel and Castaing-Taylor made a splash on the international stage with their 2012 commercial fishing documentary Leviathan, which premiered in competition at Locarno and went on to win several festival accolades. Caniba, their 2017 essay on cannibalistic desire, premiered in Venice’s Horizons, and they now bow their latest, a portrait of the human body filmed in five Parisian hospitals. Les Films du Losange will distribute in France and handles international sales.
Contact: Alice Lesort, Les Films du Losange
Enys Men (UK)
Dir. Mark Jenkin
Jenkin returns with the follow-up to his 2019 Berlinale premiere Bait, for which he won the Bafta for outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer. He has reteamed with that film’s leads Mary Woodvine and Edward Rowe for this psychological horror set in 1973 on a Cornish island inhabited by a solitary wildlife volunteer, whose reality steadily morphs into a nightmare. It is produced by Denzil Monk for his Cornish production company Bosena. Film4 co-financed.
Contact: Protagonist Pictures
Falcon Lake (Can-Fr)
Dir. Charlotte Le Bon
French-Canadian actress Le Bon has starred in Anthropoid, The Hundred-Foot Journey and The Promise and makes her feature directing debut adapted from Bastien Vives’ graphic novel Une Soeur. The coming-of-age story stars Monia Chokri and follows a teenager who falls in love with an older girl during a family holiday in rural Quebec. The project received $260,000 (€250,000) in support from Eurimages in late 2020 and was co-produced by France’s Onzecinq, Cinéfrance Studios and Les Productions Du Ch’timi alongside Canada’s Metafilms.
Contact: Memento International
The Five Devils (Fr)
Dir. Léa Mysius
Writer/director Mysius’ debut feature Ava premiered in Critics’ Week in 2017, where it won the SACD Award for best feature. She has subsequently written and co-written screenplays for the likes of Arnaud Desplechin (Ismael’s Ghosts, which opened Cannes in 2017) and Jacques Audiard (Paris, 13th District, which played in Competition last year and was nominated for five Césars including best adapted screenplay). Mysius’ second feature as director is the story of a little girl who is able to reproduce and capture any scent; the smell of her long-lost aunt leads her into dark past memories. F Comme Film produces the film in co-production with Trois Brigands Production (both France).
Contact: Flavien Eripret, Wild Bunch International
Funny Pages (US)
Dir. Owen Kline
The coming-of-age story about a teenage cartoonist, who rejects the comforts of his suburban life in a quest for soulful purpose, marks the feature directing debut from Kline, who played the young brother to Jesse Eisenberg in Noah Baumbach’s 2005 indie favourite The Squid And The Whale. The producer roster includes Elara Pictures’ Sebastian Bear-McClard and Oscar Boyson, filmmaker duo Benny and Josh Safdie, and screenwriter/editor Ronald Bronstein — who all worked together on the Safdies’ Good Time and Uncut Gems.
God’s Creatures (Ire-UK)
Dirs. Saela Davis, Anna Rose Holmer
In Davis’s directing debut, and Holmer’s follow-up to 2015 Venice premiere The Fits, Emily Watson plays a mother living in an Irish fishing village, torn between protecting her son (Paul Mescal) and her own sense of morality. Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly (Lady Macbeth) produces for Nine Daughters, with a screenplay by Shane Crowley. The drama was developed with the support of Screen Ireland, BBC Film and A24 and is co-financed by A24, BBC Film, Screen Ireland and the Western Region Audiovisual Producers Fund.
The Green Perfume (Fr-Bel)
Dir. Nicolas Pariser
Paris-born Pariser returns to Quinzaine with the closing film after Alice And The Mayor played here in 2019, winning top prize for best European film — and following his Locarno-launched 2015 debut Le Grand Jeu. Le Parfum Vert, as it is billed in French markets, follows a Comédie-Francaise actor (Vincent Lacoste) who is suspected by police of poisoning a fellow member of the troupe who dies on stage, and is chased by the titular mysterious organisation behind the killing. Sandrine Kiberlain, also in Cannes with November (out of Competition) and Diary Of A Fleeting Affair (Cannes Premiere) co-stars. France’s Bizibi produces in co-production with France 2 Cinéma and Belgium’s Versus Production.
Contact: Orange Studio
Dir. Philippe Faucon
Moroccan writer/director Faucon’s debut feature L’Amour played in Cannes’ Perspectives Cinema Francais section in 1990 and both Fatima (2015) and Amin (2018) bowed in Directors’ Fortnight, with Fatima going on to win three César awards including best film. His latest is set during Algeria’s war for independence in the 1950s and 1960s, and follows a group of ‘harkis’ — Algerians who fought for France. It is produced by Faucon’s own Istiqlal Films, in co-production with Belgium’s Les Films du Fleuve.
Contact: Alberto Alvarez, Pyramide Films
A Male (Col-Fr-Neth-Ger)
Dir. Fabian Hernandez
Colombia- and France-based filmmaker Hernandez studied at Sorbonne University in Paris and arrives with his feature debut, a Colombia-set drama about a 16-year-old who must decide whether to conform to male stereotypes in his tough Bogota neighbourhood or explore his sensitive nature and sexuality identity. Manuel Ruiz Montealegre’s Colombian Medio de Contencion Producciones produces with France’s In Vivo Films, Fortuna Films (Netherlands) and Black Forest Films (Germany). A Male (Un Varon) went through the 2019 TorinoFilmLab and the 2021 San Sebastian WIP Latin sidebar.
Dir. Alex Garland
Ex Machina director Garland makes his Croisette and A-list festival debut with a macabre horror. Jessie Buckley plays a woman who retreats to the English countryside to heal following the tragic death of her husband, only to attract unnerving attention from local men, all of whom are played by Rory Kinnear. Paapa Essiedu and Gayle Rankin round out the cast. It is produced by Andrew Macdonald and Allon Reich for DNA Films and financed and distributed by A24.
The Mountain (Fr)
Dir. Thomas Salvador
Actor/filmmaker Salvador’s second feature following 2014’s Vincent — which played at San Sebastian and was nominated for a Lumiere award for best first film — sees Salvador take the role of a 40-year-old Parisian man who decides to make a nomadic life for himself in the peaks of Chamonix. The screenplay for The Mountain is written by Salvador and Naila Guiguet, who was selected for Critics’ Weeks’ Next Steps 2020, and Le Pacte will distribute in France as well as handle international sales.
Contact: Camille Neel, Le Pacte
One Fine Morning (Fr)
Dir. Mia Hansen-Love
Fifteen years after her first film All Is Forgiven (2007) played Directors’ Fortnight, Hansen-Love returns to premiere her eighth feature, the semi-autobiographical One Fine Morning. Also written by Hansen-Love, it stars Léa Seydoux — who appears in David Cronenberg’s Competition entry Crimes Of The Future — as a woman juggling single motherhood, an ill father and an unexpected love affair. Hansen-Love previously played in Un Certain Regard with Father Of My Children (2009) and in Competition with last year’s Bergman Island.
Contact: Alice Lesort, Les Films du Losange
Dir. Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk
Ukraine’s Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk has made several short films, including Weightlifter, which effected a sweep of festivals in 2018 and 2019. Debut feature Pamfir, which was developed at the TorinoFilmLab, Midpoint and Cannes’ Cinéfondation, follows the titular family man who is forced to return to the activities of his troubled past when his only child starts a fire in the prayer house. The international co-production is produced by Bosonfilm (Ukraine), Les Films d’Ici (France), Madants (Poland) and Quijote Films (Chile).
Contact: Clément Chautant, Indie Sales
Paris Memories (Fr)
Dir. Alice Winocour
Writer/director Winocour is a Cannes regular: her 2005 short Kitchen played in Competition; her 2012 debut feature Augustine bowed in Critics’ Week; Mustang (2015), which she co-wrote with director Deniz Gamze Erguven, premiered in Directors’ Fortnight before being nominated for the best foreign-language Oscar; and Disorder (aka Maryland, 2015) launched in Un Certain Regard. Now, after debuting her last film Proxima (2019) in Toronto, she returns to Cannes with Paris Memories (Revoir Paris), which stars Virginie Efira (Benedetta) as the survivor of a terrorist attack searching for the man who saved her life.
Contact: Pathé International
Dir. Pietro Marcello
While he has enjoyed great success on the global festival circuit with previous works including Crossing The Line (2007), The Mouth Of The Wolf (2009) and Martin Eden (2019), this Directors’ Fortnight opener marks Marcello’s second appearance on the Croisette after Futura bowed in the sidebar last year. Scarlet (L’Envol) follows a woman finding her purpose between 1919 and 1939. Producer is Charles Gillibert of France’s CG Cinéma, most recently behind Cannes Competition titles Annette and Bergman Island, with Italy’s Avventurosa and Rai Cinema. Le Pacte will distribute in France.
Contact: Jeanne Loriotti, Orange Studio
The Super 8 Years (Fr)
Dirs. Annie Ernaux, David Ernaux-Briot
The feature debut of celebrated French author Annie Ernaux, whose books include Passion Simple and Happening — both of which have been adapted for the big screen in recent years — together with her son David Ernaux-Briot, The Super 8 Years is a documentary crafted from home-video footage shot between 1972 and 1981. It is produced by France’s Les Films Pelléas, which is also behind fellow Directors’ Fortnight entry One Fine Morning by Mia Hansen-Love.
Contact: Totem Films
Under The Fig Trees (Tun-Fr-Switz)
Dir. Erige Sehiri
Tunisian-French director Sehiri makes her fiction feature debut following 2018 documentary feature Railwaymen and several shorts. Awarded the $10,500 (€10,000) post-production second prize last November at Marrakech International Film Festival’s Atlas Workshops talent and project incubator, the film follows a group of teenage girls working as fig pickers. The director shot in Kesra, her father’s Berber village in northwest Tunisia. Sehiri produces in co-production with Akka Films (Switzerland) and Maneki Films (France).
Dir. Joao Pedro Rodrigues
Portuguese filmmaker Rodrigues is no stranger to the Croisette: his 2005 feature Two Drifters played in Directors’ Fortnight, while his 2009 transgender drama To Die Like A Man bowed in Un Certain Regard. A co-production between Portugal’s Terratreme Filmes and Filmes Fantasma and France’s House On Fire Productions, Will-O’-The-Wisp (aka Fogo-Fatuo) is set in 2069 and sees a king on his deathbed reminiscing about his youthful relationship with another man.
Contact: Terratreme Filmes
Profiles by Nikki Baughan, Charles Gant, Melanie Goodfellow, Tara Judah, Melissa Kasule, Jeremy Kay, Geoffrey Macnab, Lee Marshall, Wendy Mitchell, Jean Noh, Jonathan Romney, Michael Rosser, Mona Tabbara, Silvia Wong