Never believe Festival directors who are forced to build complex conceptual architectures in order to bind their choices together.
Whilst last year it appeared that the Festival had decided to dedicate itself to discovering new talents, this year the list of directors in competition looks like the caption for a family photo: four of the 20 film-makers selected have already won the Palme D’Or, Jane Campion, Ken Loach, Quentin Tarantino and Lars Von Trier – the latter is actually in competition for the eighth time.
Michael Haneke, Alain Resnais and Jacques Audiard have also already won awards.
And our own Bellocchio, as well as Pedro Almodovar and Ang Lee, are also very familiar with La Croisette.
There is just one debut: Spain’s Isabel Coixet.
So the image of a harvest (good vintages/bad vintages. In other words: we take what’s available), often used by Festival directors, becomes particularly credible.
With so many important names, 2009 is a very good vintage for Cannes.
Few surprises but, on paper, some great cinema.
The US has just one film in competition this time, Tarantino’s long-awaited “Inglorious Bastards” (although we can add “Woodstock” by Ang Lee).
Penalized (as director Fremaux justifies), by the screenwriters’ strike, the Americans still have the honor of opening with the animated film “Up”, directed by Pete Docter.
The stars and stripes will still be seen in the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs section with five movies in competition, led by Francis Ford Coppola’s “Tetro”, the story of two brothers who emigrate from Italy to Argentina.
Based on an original screenplay by Coppola and filmed in black and white, the movie is ideally linked to “Rumble Fish” which starred a then promising Mickey Rourke.
Going back to the competition, there is a big Asian contingent (five movies by Johnny To, Park Chanwook, Brillante Mendoza, Tsai Ming-liang and Lou Ye), whilst Spanish cinema returns to the forefront with the aforementioned Almodovar (“Los Abrazos Rotos”) and Isabel Coixet (“Map of the Sounds of Tokyo”) (plus, out of competition, “Agorà ” by Alejandro Amenabar), and the “Semaine de la Critique” has a Spanish flavor.
However, the strongest presence this year will be from France which has three films in competition: “Les Herbes folles” by Alain Resnais, “Un prophete” by Jacques Audiard and “A l’origine” by Xavier Giannoli. French cinema products can be found in every section: 36 films “” productions and co-productions “” will be featured at this edition of the Festival.
On the eve of the festival, Unifrance will be promoting itself with the eloquently titled documentary: “The French film industry goes on a business trip”.
The same cannot be said for the Italian movie industry, the only film in competition, “Vincere” by Marco Bellocchio, is being sold around the world by Celluloid Dreams (which, it goes without saying, is a French company).