Following today’s launch of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival Official Selection, one of the notable absences was Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.
The long-gestating and troubled project is finally complete, and many had predicted a Cannes premiere in an Out Of Competition slot, but the title was missing from this morning’s confirmed list.
Festival director Thierry Frémaux addressed the absence in his post-reveal press conference.
“This movie – as well as others – is in a conflict that’s been brought to the courts,” commented the Cannes chief. However, while Don Quixote is “not announced” Frémaux also said that the festival’s “selection is not complete”, hinting it could be added at a later date.
The film is caught up in a legal battle in a French court, with a ruling not set to be handed down until June 15 this year. It is yet to be seen whether some kind of agreement could be reached to allow the film to play in Cannes.
Jeremy Thomas, who is an executive producer on Don Quixote, confirmed to Screen he remained “hopeful” the film could find a place in Official Selection but admitted for now he “doesn’t know what is going on” and that we will have to “wait and see”.
Thomas, who has a storied history of premiering films in Cannes’ main programme, does have one film in this year’s Competition, Matteo Garrone’s Dogman, on which he is a producer. “My arrow is aimed at that beautiful screen [in Cannes], it doesn’t get any better than that for getting the film out,” Thomas commented.
Last year, Cannes gave four films Out Of Competition slots, so it seems likely extra titles will be announced for the selection in the coming days.
Were Don Quixote to be added, it would be a boost for the UK, which is only represented by a single feature across the Official Selection, Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War, a Poland-France-UK co-production with the involvement of both the BFI and Film4.
“Cold War is a terrific film and Cannes is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate the value of co-production,” commented BFI Film Fund head Ben Roberts.
Added Film4 director Daniel Battsek: ”Cold War is a magnificent piece of cinema and following on from the huge success of Ida, confirms Pawel Pawlikowski as a filmmaker of unique talents.”
Further UK titles about which there had been speculation they would receive a Cannes premiere include Mike Leigh’s Peterloo - “It’s Cannes’ loss because the film is spectacular,” added Ben Roberts - and Asif Kapadia’s Maradona, both of which now look more likely to be teed up for an Autumn festival slot (Leigh’s Vera Drake won the Golden Lion at Venice in 2004).