The 64th Cannes Film Festival opens on May 11th with Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” and closes with the romantic comedy “Les bien-aimés” by Christophe Honoré, in which Catherine Deneuve sings with her daughter, Chiara Mastroianni.
The very French stamp of this Festival is emphasized by the presence of the country’s First Lady, Carla Bruni, in Allen’s movie, alongside “La Consuete” by Xavier Durringer about the rise to power of President Nicolas Sarkozy: there is a climate of expectation surrounding this movie, particularly in France, just a few months away from the presidential elections.
But the most important feature of Cannes 2011 is what lies at its center: a high impact calendar of events including the presence of prestigious Festival “habitués” like Pedro Almodovar, who returns to La Croisette with his “La Piel que abito”, Lars Von Trier with “Melancholia”, the Dardenne brothers (“Le gamin a vélo”) and Aki Kaurismà¤ki (“Le Havre”).
Possibly the highest amount of expectation surrounds “The Tree of Life”, by cult director Terrence Malick: the movie is produced by Brad Pitt and stars Sean Penn.
The latter is more or less the superstar of this edition of Cannes as he also stars in “This Must be the Place” as the heavily madeup rockstar, Cheyenne.
He is directed by Paolo Sorrentino who met the actor in Cannes in 2008, and began working with him on a number of projects. Sorrentino’s movie is one of the two pillars supporting the Italian presence in competition at Cannes this year.
The other is a controversial movie, much debated at home and, for this reason, very “Cannes”, “Habemus Papam” by Nanni Moretti (produced by Fandango for Rai Cinema).
Perhaps the image of Italy at Cannes is best depicted by a triptych with, at the top, Bernardo Bertolucci, who is being awarded an honorary Golden Palm by the Festival.
Then there is the Italian director Alice Rorhwacher (sister of actress Alba) with her debut movie “Corpo Celeste” at the Quinzaine des Realisateurs, and Italian actress, Jasmine Trinca, who appears in the movie in competition by Bertrand Bonello “L’Apollonide Souvenirs de la maison close” as Julie, a prostitute in a Parisian brothel in the early 20th century.
There are also some traces of Italy in “Michel Petrucciani”, by Michael Radford, a special event.
The life of the famous French jazz musician of Italian origin is told in a docu-film co-produced by Italy’s Andrea Stucovitz’s Partner Media Investment, along with France and Germany.
The Marché will feature “Hidden”, promoted as the first Italian-produced 3D movie, whilst producer Marta Donzelli of Vivo Film will be representing our country as one of the 25 Producers on the Move, selected by European Film Promotion, to be held from May 14th “” 17th. As usual the point of reference for the Italian industry will be the Italia Pavilion, inside the International Village, managed by Cinecittà Luce and ANICA (with the contribution of the Directorate-Generale of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Assets and Activities) which will host meetings, debates and press conferences.
Going back to the bill for the 64th Cannes Film Festival, out of competition the spotlight will be on the fourth episode of Rob Marshall’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” saga, starring Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz (to be viewed with 3D glasses like “Ishimei”, the Samurai movie by Japan’s Takashi Miike ), “”˜The Beaver”, where Jodie Foster directs Mel Gibson, and “Restless” by Gus van Sant.
At a festival which, in the words of its director, is aiming for even more “˜’geographical, generational and stylistic diversity”, there are two debut works in competition, “Sleeping Beauty” by Julia Leigh and “Michael” by Markus Schleinzer .
The president of the competition jury will be Robert De Niro, assisted by Jude Law, Uma Thurman and Johnny To, amongst others.
Heading the Un Certain Regard jury will be Emir Kusturica, whilst the Cinefondation jury president is Michel Gondry.