Sunday, 17 April 2011

Cannes 2011: Who's missing?

There is a lot to say about the Cannes selection so I am going to split it into several posts. And first of all I am going to start with those who were expected in the Croisette but did not make it.

The dates of the Cannes Film Festival put it in a rather unique position in the festival and award calendar. It has no real competition as other major film fests are earlier in the year (Sundance in January, Berlin in February), or much later (Toronto and Venise in September). And many films are produced almost specifically with a Cannes selection in mind, still being the most important film festival in the world, that can make (or break!) a film.

But the spring date has its drawback, especially for Hollywood Oscar baits, as many studios worry that even if a film gets noticed, and get a prize even, the buzz might fade away long before the oscar race begins, which is why they favour the double bill of Toronto/Venice.

So here is the list of the ones we were expecting in Cannes but did not make it:

Wuthering Heights by Andrea Arnold

Andrea Arnold had been the darling of Cannes so far, with her first two films Red road and Fish tank being presented and each winning the supporting prize of "Jury prize" so it is baffling that she did not make the line up. It is an different direction she is taking, adapting such an iconic book and making a period drama, after two realistic and gritty movies. Perhaps the film is just not quite good enough, or she is saving it for the awards season (and the September UK release is pointing towards that.

A dangerous method by David Cronenberg

Kiera Knightley in A dangerous method

Another Cannes regular in the latest part of his career. His latests charts the intense relationship between Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), which gave birth to psychoanalysis. Which the added presense of Keira Knightley and Vincent Cassel, this would have added some star wattage to the Croisette. This is most obviously being kept for Cronenberg native Toronto, and will be hoping for a few acting academy nods next March.

The Grandmasters by Wong Kar Wai

The film, the story of martial arts grand master Ip Man, who trained Bruce Lee, was delayed just not finished. This should come as no surprise for all the fans of the Chinese esthete, who likes to take his time. So much so that 2046 was said to have been finished mere hours before its presentation at the Grand Palais in Cannes. While I am a big fan of his, his two latest, 2046 and Blueberry nights, both shown in Cannes, were seen as disappointments with critics so let's just hope he find his mojo back. The poster looks gorgeous.

Haywire by Steven Soderbergh

Everybody knew about his big 3D project, Contagion, out in autumn, so it is almost as if Steven Soderbergh got his one out of a hat. He is one of the few directors that can say has been "made" by Cannes (alongside Quentin Tarantino), thanks to his Palme d'Or win for his first film as a fresh 28 year old director, Sex, lies and videotape. The synopsis for his new one, about a double crossed hitwoman on a revenge, makes it sound like a female Bourne, and an unlikely candidate, yet it was expected at one of the Out of competition, midnight screenings, reserved for more "out there" movies.

Unlike what I was reporting at first, the selection is not actually finished yet, with three more slots up for grab (and no closing film announced yet), but it is unlikely any one of those will make it.


  1. It's Freud and Jung, not Jung and Freud.

    Freud and Jung did not give birth to psychoanlaysis. Freud and Breuer did in the 1895 Studies in Hysteria. Breuer then dropped out as Anna O, the real discoverer of psychoanalysis, scared him out of his wits. The case studies are brilliant to read. But Freud was the master and he was there first. Jung came to him to collaborate but soon developed differently. Freud was a fundamentalist and wanted psychoanalysis grounded in technique with only carefully thought out deviations within the college of cardinals. Jung deviated. Then they broke with each other.

  2. Thanks for the insightful comment and correction. Given the mixed reactions in Venise, sounds like Cannes did not miss much! Will still see it out of curiosity for Cronenberg, but I can't remember last time he made a good film