Cannes competition includes Malick, Almodóvar, von Trier

Posted by · 3:06 am · April 14th, 2011

After weeks of speculation, this year’s Cannes lineup was unveiled in spectacularly long-winded fashion by fest director Thierry Frémaux this morning. (French TV networks clearly got so bored with his sidebar discussions on each title he announced that they helpfully cut to commercial halfway through the press conference.)

Anyway, the speculation was largely borne out — most of the names you expected to see here are present and correct, including such Cannes regulars as Pedro Almodóvar, Lars von Trier, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and the Dardenne brothers.

Meanwhile, the question on whether or not Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” would play in competition has been answered in the affirmative. Malick’s inclusion makes this to second Cannes competition slate in a row to feature only one American filmmaker, though it’s something of an upgrade from from last year’s Doug Liman head-scratcher.

[More thoughts, and the full lineup, after the cut.]

The biggest surprise here is probably seeing Bruno Dumont, a two-time Grand Prix winner at the fest, relegated to Un Certain Regard, generally (if not always fairly) perceived as the second-string contest. He’s in esteemed company, however: also dipping to the smaller league after three Competition runs (and one Palme d’Or win) is Gus Van Sant, whose seemingly fantasy-tinged teen romance “Restless” will open the section. In their place, I doubt many expected to see “Valhalla Rising” director Nicolas Winding Refn granted Competition status for his Ryan Gosling-Carey Mulligan thriller “Drive.”

The most pleasant surprise of the morning suggests Cannes brass heard the complaints that greeted last year’s all-male Competition lineup: this year, a record four female directors are in the running for the Palme d’Or, including Australian debut filmmaker Julia Leigh and the long-absent Lynne Ramsay. The latter’s first film in nine years, an adaptation of the Lionel Shriver bestseller “We Need to Talk About Kevin” headlined by Tilda Swinton, eclipses even “The Tree of Life” and “Melancholia” on my ‘most-anticipated’ list, but there’s an awful lot to look forward to here.

I’ll offer further thoughts on the potential highlights of the lineup a little later. Bear in mind that as many as three further Competition entries could be announced in the coming weeks (giving hope, among others, to fans of “Dogtooth” director Yorgos Lanthimos, whose latest was widely expected to show up this morning). Don’t forget that I’ll be in Cannes again for the full duration of the festival to bring you first-hand reports and reviews. The fun starts on May 11.

Here’s the full rundown:

“The Skin I Inhabit,” Pedro Almodóvar
“L’apollinide (Souvenirs de la maison close),” Bertrand Bonello
“Pater,” Alain Cavalier
“Footnote,” Joseph Cedar
“Once Upon a Time in Anatolia,” Nuri Bilge Ceylan
“Set Me Free,” Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
“Le Havre,” Aki Kaurismäki
“Hanezu No Tsuki,” Naomi Kawase
“Sleeping Beauty,” Julia Leigh
“Polisse,” Maïwenn
“The Tree of Life,” Terrence Malick
“The Source,” Radu Mihaileanu
“Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai,” Takashi Miike
“Habemus Papam,” Nanni Moretti
“We Need to Talk About Kevin,” Lynne Ramsay
“Michael,” Markus Schleinzer
“This Must Be the Place,” Paolo Sorrentino
“Melancholia,” Lars von Trier
“Drive,” Nicolas Winding Refn

Un Certain Regard
“The Hunter,” Bakur Bakuradze
“Halt auf freier Strecke,” Andreas Dresen
“Hors Satan,” Bruno Dumont
“Martha Marcy May Marlene,” Sean Durkin
“The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” Robert Guédiguian
“Skoonheid,” Oliver Hermanus
“The Day He Arrives,” Hong Sangsoo
“Bonsaï,” Cristián Jiménez
“Tatsumi,” Eric Khoo
“Arirang,” Kim Ki-duk
“Where Do We Go Now?,” Nadine Labaki
“Loverboy,” Catalin Mitulescu
“Yellow Sea,” Na Hong-jin
“Miss Bala,” Gerardo Naranjo
“Trabalar Cansa,” Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra
“L’exercice de l’État,” Pierre Schöller
“Toomelah,” Ivan Sen
“Oslo, August 31,” Joachim Trier
“Restless,” Gus Van Sant

Out of Competition
“Midnight in Paris,” Woody Allen (opening film)
“The Conquest,” Xavier Durringer
“The Beaver,” Jodie Foster
“The Artist,” Michel Hazanavicius
“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” Rob Marshall

“Wu Xia,” Chan Peter Ho-Sun
“Days of Grace,” Everardo Gout

“Out of Bounds,” Frederikke Aspöck
“Le maître des forges de l’enfer,” Rithy Panh
“Michel Petrucciani,” Michael Radford
“Tous Au Larzac,” Christian Rouaud

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43 responses so far

  • 1 4-14-2011 at 3:17 am

    James Stewart said...

    Now, In Contention return to the normal pace, or only in May

  • 2 4-14-2011 at 3:18 am

    toro913 said...

    Trailer for Sleeping Beauty, looks pretty assured for a first feature

  • 3 4-14-2011 at 4:54 am

    Michael said...

    Wow, that competition line-up looks pretty damn nice. SO jealous of you Guy! ;^P I can’t wait to read your reviews and all of the coverage of the goings on at the fest. I know you are gonna have a great time and be able to tell us about how great some of these films are that we will probably end up having to wait until December to see.

  • 4 4-14-2011 at 5:04 am

    Anton said...

    Does anyone know when the remaining 3 slots will be filled?

  • 5 4-14-2011 at 5:35 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Anton: As and when they’re confirmed. There’s no set date.

  • 6 4-14-2011 at 5:42 am

    Anton said...

    Thanks, Guy. I always thought surprise entries should not be limited to Venice. Everybody wants a bit of a switcheroo.

  • 7 4-14-2011 at 5:56 am

    Mike_M said...

    This is a great list… a bunch of films I am highly anticipating for sure.

  • 8 4-14-2011 at 5:58 am

    Lance McCallion said...

    Disappointed Ratanaruang’s new one didn’t make it in anywhere.

  • 9 4-14-2011 at 6:13 am

    Sieben said...

    Most excited for the newest from Refn, Hong, Ceylan, Khoo, and of course Malick. Great line-up, not quite devoid of big names but also not completely unimaginative.

  • 10 4-14-2011 at 7:10 am

    key lime said...

    Any chance the new Carlos Reygadas film is one of the late additions after his last one did so well in the Un Certain Regard section?

  • 11 4-14-2011 at 7:28 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Actually, “Silent Light” was in the 2007 Competition and tied for the Jury Prize.

    There are several surprising omissions, including Reygadas, Lanthimos, Chantal Akerman, Brillante Mendoza and Andrei Zyvagintsev. Any of them (among many others) could be among the late entries.

  • 12 4-14-2011 at 7:55 am

    key lime said...

    My mistake. I think I was getting Silent Light’s trajectory mixed up with the Amat Escalante film he produced some time ago.

  • 13 4-14-2011 at 10:20 am

    Maxim said...

    “though it’s something of an upgrade from from last year’s Doug Liman head-scratcher”

    Not only are your targets easy and lame, the fact that they are made after his movie’s non-emberessment all point to a much more serious primitivity of thinking.

    And answer me this, prince, which part exactly made you scrath your head – the movie or the Doug’s mere presence?

  • 14 4-14-2011 at 11:27 am

    Brian Duffield said...

    Sleeping Beauty is the best screenplay I’ve ever read. Could not be more excited.

    I’m assuming TREE OF LIFE wins the Palm D’or, right?

  • 15 4-14-2011 at 11:58 am

    Matthew Starr said...

    I think Guy liked Fair Game so he is probably alluding to Doug Liman’s “mere presence”.

  • 16 4-14-2011 at 12:00 pm

    Matthew Starr said...

    Also interestingly enough Doug has gone from Cannes last year to Tribeca this year where he is interviewing Alec Baldwin. Interesting.

  • 17 4-14-2011 at 12:31 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Maxim: The movie is fine — down-the-line middlebrow craftsmanship. For that very reason, it was an unusual choice as the lone representative of American cinema in the world’s most high-profile art film contest. So yes, I consider it puzzling that Cannes selectors passed on Kelly Reichardt last year, but picked Doug Liman.

  • 18 4-14-2011 at 12:34 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Brian: I doubt “The Tree of Life” will win the Palme d’Or, however good it is — the film enters the race with far too many expectations, and festival juries usually like to zig where we expect them to zag. Plus, I have a feeling that an American jury president (Robert De Niro) handing the prize to the one American film in competition would raise eyebrows in some quarters.

  • 19 4-14-2011 at 12:47 pm

    Average Joe said...

    Excited about Winding Refn in the lineup. I thought Valhalla Rising was an amazing film.

  • 20 4-14-2011 at 2:05 pm

    Temistocle said...

    from Italy: Moretti’s Habemus Papam is a masterpiece. Michel Piccoli ( as the Pope) probably will win price as best actor

  • 21 4-14-2011 at 3:06 pm

    Filmoholic said...

    Where’s Cronenberg?

  • 22 4-14-2011 at 3:09 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Cronenberg will likely wait until Toronto to premiere “A Dangerous Method”, as he did with “Eastern Promises” — Canadian filmmakers are encouraged to do so these days.

  • 23 4-14-2011 at 4:14 pm

    Fitz said...

    I was hoping to hear some feedback of ‘Method’ sooner, but I will gladly wait until Toronto.

  • 24 4-14-2011 at 4:22 pm

    Brian Duffield said...

    Is there a list any where of Jury Heads and the films that won? The last American-American combo I can recall is Tarantino and Fahrenheit, which was sketchy as all get out.

    I’m currently of the opinion that Malick could just win everything this year (director wise), and he’s never won the Palme. It just seems to be the feeling in the ether.

    Of course, that’s a long ways off to be completely wrong about everything.

  • 25 4-14-2011 at 7:09 pm

    Chris138 said...

    Anyone think that there is a chance Malick will actually attend Cannes?

  • 26 4-14-2011 at 7:17 pm

    Average Joe said...

    Chris138, didn’t Malick actually speak at a festival a couple of years ago; Venice maybe?

    I LOVE the trailer for Sleeping Beauty. I always love when a film that’s completely off my radar pops out of nowhere and wows me. Well, I haven’t seen the film yet, but that trailer has me hooked.

  • 27 4-14-2011 at 8:54 pm

    Chris138 said...

    Average Joe: I believe you’re right. He spoke at the Rome Film Festival.

  • 28 4-15-2011 at 3:56 am

    ChrisG said...

    Agree @ Average Joe. Sleeping Beauty looks great and is now among my top 10 films I want to see this year. I hope it will get a release in 2011.

    Looking forward to Guy’s reaction on SB, as well as on Tree, Melancholia, Kevin, Almodóvar and others.

  • 29 4-15-2011 at 7:24 am

    Matthew Starr said...

    Can someone tell me how to pronounce Nicholas Winding Refn?

  • 30 4-15-2011 at 11:39 am

    Speaking English said...

    Nicholas – Nicholas
    Winding – Winding
    Refn – Ref-ehn

  • 31 4-15-2011 at 4:27 pm

    Jasmine said...

    Tarantino/Fahrenheit wasn’t all that sketchy of a choice seeing as Tarantino himself was pushing to give it to Oldboy and that Fahrenheit 9/11’s screening had one of the best responses (longest standing ovation ever, possibly?) in the festival’s history. At least it’s not nearly as sketchy as when Clint Eastwood’s jury shocked the world by giving it to Pulp Fiction. ;)

    My initial gut feelings are that Kaurismäki and Ceylon duke it out for the Palme, Banderas and Swinton take the acting trophies while Drive and Sleeping Beauty get some sort of conciliatory prizes. Of course it’s impossible to tell until you feel out the actual atmosphere of the festival as it’s happening (I wouldn’t have predicted Uncle Boonmee leading into last year’s festival but before its announcement the buzz was much more favorable to my predicting it).

  • 32 4-16-2011 at 12:39 am

    Glenn said...

    Rumour has it a third Australian film is set to join the festival (either in competition or in Director’s Fortnight). What it is I could not divulge.

  • 33 4-16-2011 at 8:40 am

    Plainview said...

    #31- The Fahrenheit choice was VERY controversial, because it was clearly a political one.

    Also, I haven’t seen the movie after 2004 (who has?), but it would probably be very funny to rewatch it, as this is a movie that certainly didn’t get better with time.

  • 34 4-16-2011 at 10:08 am

    mgl82 said...

    “Cronenberg will likely wait until Toronto to premiere “A Dangerous Method”, as he did with “Eastern Promises” — Canadian filmmakers are encouraged to do so these days.”

    Guy, I read this rumour about TIFF pressuring Canadian filmmakers on The Playlist blog as well. Where does this information come from?

    “Plus, I have a feeling that an American jury president (Robert De Niro) handing the prize to the one American film in competition would raise eyebrows in some quarters.”

    Raised eyebrows certainly didn’t stop Huppert from handing the Palm to Haneke. Or the festival from featuring Binoche on the poster the same year she took best actress. I suspect that the festival often sets up these kinds of potential narratives as a way of rewarding their favourites. Another example might be the Burton/Weerasethakul handoff, where the jury president, a fantasy filmmaker, handed the Palm to the only fantasy film in the lineup. DeNiro giving Malick top honours is a very real possibility, perhaps even the desired outcome on the part of the programmers, eyebrows be damned.

  • 35 4-16-2011 at 2:38 pm

    Speaking English said...

    ***Also, I haven’t seen the movie after 2004 (who has?), but it would probably be very funny to rewatch it, as this is a movie that certainly didn’t get better with time.***

    This comment is completely misguided.

  • 36 4-17-2011 at 6:17 am

    Ben M. said...

    I have no problem with Fair Game playing Cannes last year. Not one of the best movies of last year but a good film nonetheless and certainly better than a lot that has been in Cannes competition.

    I had assumed Tree of Life would be out of competition, so I’m a bit surprised to see it there. I’m also interested in how Restless will be received, I have gut feeling this film could be better than people are expecting, though I don’t like that Sony delayed its January release at the last minute just so it can play the festival circuit and have a better chance at awards.

  • 37 4-17-2011 at 9:22 am

    Plainview said...

    #35- Of course it’s possible that the movie actually looks better now than it did back then, but honestly I doubt it.

  • 38 4-18-2011 at 2:56 am

    matsunaga said...

    I thought Kung Fu Panda 2 will participate in Out of Competition… Can anyone confirm this…. Guy perhaps? Thanks….

  • 39 4-18-2011 at 9:40 am

    Afrika said...

    Drive? really?

    where is A Dangerous Method? UUuugh!!!

  • 40 4-18-2011 at 11:51 am

    han said...

    I don’t understand the rumor for Carlos Reygadas competing. He’s still writing the script!!!

  • 41 4-19-2011 at 2:49 pm

    Jane said...

    I didn’t say that it wasn’t looked at as a political statement, but as I said, it was still perfectly well received enough upon screening that it didn’t seem too out of the ordinary that it would have been chosen and it had very little to do with Tarantino’s connection to Moore through Weinstein.

  • 42 5-01-2011 at 4:49 am

    ElRocho said...

    Michael Radford? Seriously?

  • 43 12-01-2012 at 10:08 pm

    Tsi said...

    I admire Robert and Kristen how they asenwr questions pertaining to them as boy and girlfriend. They will acknowledge that title when it pertains to work, but they will not asenwr any questions when it has nothing to do with film. They keep their privacy while still acknowledging what they are to each other, but they need go no further to define it. Bravo to both of them.