Festival de Cannes sidebar Critics' Week will fete its 50th birthday in May with pregnant teenagers, a slut, a serial killer and Isabelle Huppert at the Palais, organizers said on Monday. The sidebar will kick off with Valerie Donzelli’s French title La Guerre est Declaree on May 12th. In the autobiographical title, Donzelli tells the story of a couple who find out their child has an incurable disease. “We’re completely blown away by what’s happening, but she also manages to make us laugh,” the sidebar's artistic director Jean-Christophe Berjon said in an interview, adding: “It’s about how love can help us to get through all of the horrors we live through.”
Autobiography is the theme of this year’s out of competition titles. On May 16th, Critics' Week will celebrate its 50th year with a special 50th anniversary screening at the Palais of Eva Ionesco’s My Little Princess with the films stars and Critics' Week veterans Isabelle Huppert and Denis Lavant set to join the celebration.
The sidebar will close with Katia Lewkowicz’s Why are you Crying? a comedy about family featuring an A-list Gallic cast including Emmanuelle Devos, Nicole Garcia and Benjamin Biolay. “It’s like champagne bubbles – it sparkles. In Cannes, we need this kind of comedy,” Berjon explained.
Also screening out of competition is Jonathan Caouette’s Walk Away Renee, the latest title from the Tarnation director that Berjon describes as boasting “a tenderness, serenity and creativity that creates a complicity between the audience and the director.”
Jeff Nichols will represent the US in competition with his Sundance title Take Shelter about a husband and father in a small Ohio town whose visions of an impending storm lead him down a path of obsession. The psychological drama meets catastrophe film stars Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain and Shea Whigham. Sony Pictures Classics has already snagged the stateside rights.
The competition features four first films and two second features among its seven titles.
In Delphine and Muriel Coulin’s 17 Filles, two girls from the same high school accidentally become pregnant and their seventeen friends decide to get pregnant to support them. “It’s their way of rebelling against society, a real revolutionary movement,” Berjon said of the unique story.
From down under, Australian helmer Justin Kurzel will present his first film Snowtown, the portrait of a serial killer that Berjon describes as “very, very dark and very violent.”
Israeli director Hagar Ben Asher will screen his first feature The Slut, an Israeli-German co-production. Berjon warns that The Slut is “a very adult film,” but adds that it’s “never vulgar.”
Zou Peng will heat up the competition with Chinese title Sauna on Moon, “a sensual, almost impressionistic film” according to Berjon.
Bulgarian director Konstantin Bojanov will bring his first feature Ave to the competition.
Pablo Giorgelli’s Argentinian title Les Acacias will switch genres completely for a story light on the dialogue but heavy on the emotion. “With just a few exchanges of words, we understand everything,” Berjon said.
The Critics Week sidebar runs May 12th – 20th in Cannes.