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Cannes Film Festival Unveils Competition Lineup

Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival

The red carpet will be busy at the 64th annual Festival de Cannes thanks to an all-star Competition roster of veteran directors, plus a Hollywood flurry of premieres and a high-profile jury.

PARIS -- Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life will join a host of international titles when the 64th annual Festival de Cannes goes back to its roots with films from fest vets including The Dardenne brothers, Pedro Almodovar, Lars von Trier and Nanni Moretti plus high-profile out-of-competition titles promising red carpets burning with A-list Hollywood talent.

After more than a year of waiting, fest artistic director Thierry Fremaux finally got to plant Malick’s Tree of Life at the famous festival. The film’s director and stars Brad Pitt and Sean Penn are expected to make Croisette cameos, with Penn set for red carpet double duty in Paolo Sorrentino’s English-language Italian title This Must Be the Place.

Helmer Nicolas Winding Refn will join Malick to present his first film Drive, starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan, in the film about a stunt driver moonlighting as a criminal getaway driver that hits stateside theaters in September.

While the Competition is light on U.S. helmers, stars and stripes will be flying throughout the 10-day film fete thanks to a Robert De Niro-led VIP jury and high-profile out-of-competition premieres including Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Jodie Foster’s The Beaver, Sarkozy biopic The Conquest and Woody Allen’s fest opener Midnight in Paris.

The selection features 49 feature films from 33 countries including 44 world premieres and a 19-film Competition.

De Niro’s Jury will be announced next week according to Fremaux.

“Great filmmakers make great films and the Festival de Cannes welcomes them with open arms,” Fremaux said Thursday at the news conference before announcing the Competition.

While rumored to not be finished in time, Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In will indeed inhabit the Competition lineup. Fremaux pointed out that the premiere marks the first time an Almodovar film will screen first in Cannes before it bows in the director’s home country of Spain. Sony Pictures Classics will release the title stateside in November.

Italian director Nanni Moretti will host a premiere for Habemus Papam starring Michel Piccoli as a Pope struggling with his responsibilities.

From the U.K., cinephiles are already talking about Lynne Ramsay’s highly anticipated We Need to Talk About Kevin starring Tilda Swinton and John C Reilly.

Japanese helmer Naomi Kawase will head to town with her fifth feature Hanezu no Tsuki. Fellow Japanese helmer Takashi Miike will premiere his Hara-Ki: Death of a Samurai.

From the typically underrepresented country of Israel, Joseph Cedar will premiere his Footnote about two competing professors.

Prolific, Paris-based director Radu Mihaileanu will represent his native Romania with La Source des Femmes with rising French starlettes Hafsia Herzi and Leila Bekhti. “I’m very happy – Arab women will walk up the red carpet steps in Cannes. May the light shine on them!” Mihaileanu said in an interview just after hearing the news.

Filmmaking duo Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne will premiere their latest title The Kid With a Bike starring Cecile de France and Dardenne regular Jeremie Renier.

Maiwenn will showcase her third feature Polisse starring French rap star Joey Starr alongside Karine Viard, Marina Fois and Nicolas Duvauchelle in the film about the child protection unit of the French police force.

Bruno Dumont’s The Empire set in Northern France stars David Dewaele as a loner combating evil in a small village.

Finnish helmer Aki Kaurismaki will screen his second French-language title Le Havre following its release in his native Finland.

From Oz, Julia Leigh will screen erotic fairytale Sleeping Beauty starring Emily Browning.

German helmer Markus Schleinzer will introduce the word to Michael.

Bertrand Bonello will bring audiences to a French brothel with House of Tolerance starring Noemie Lvovsky as a disfigured prostitute marked with a tragic smile.

Alain Cavalier will screen Pater starring Vincent Lindon.

Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan will premiere his Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. France showed its love for the filmmaker on Wednesday with a prestigious French Order of Arts and Letters title. Ceylan was named best director in Cannes in 2009 for Three Monkeys after winning the Grand Jury Prize in 2003 for Uzak.

Fremaux and co have made sure to add some Hollywood-infused flavor to the mix.

As previously announced, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris will open the fest on May 11 and the title’s VIP cast Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Carla Bruni, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates and Adrien Brody promise Midnight madness on the Croisette to kick off the festivities.

And ho, ho, it’s a pirates life for Cannes with Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides set for a gala premiere May 14 with huge red carpet potential including stars Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz. Foster will premiere her Mel Gibson-starrer The Beaver. Xavier Durringer’s The Conquest, about president Nicolas Sarkozy’s rise to power will also screen out of Competition and promises to be a politically charged and likely controversial screening. The film stars actor Denis Podalydes in the presidential role opposite Florence Pernel, Bernard Le Coq, Samuel Labarthe, Hippolyte Girardot, Dominique Besnehard and Gregory Fitoussi.

Michel Hazanavicius, the director behind the OSS117 “French James Bond” franchise, will screen his black and white silent comedy The Artist featuring an international cast of John Goodman, James Cromwell and Berenice Bejo.

This year’s Un Certain Regard lineup features a VIP selection of titles. Sean Durkin will represent the U.S. with his first film, Martha Marcy May Marlene, that screened at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Bruno Dumont is ready to deliver his sixth film The Empire, which is set in the Pas-de-Calais region in the northernmost part of France. David Dewaele plays a mysterious man who lives in the dunes and combats evil in a small village community.

Asian titles are strong in the category. From Singapore, Eric Khoo’s Tatsumi will vie against Korean titles Kim Ki-Duk’s Arirang, Na Hong-jin’s Yellow Sea and Hong Sang-soo’s The Day He Arrives.

Cannes vet Robert Guedeguian will be back in sunny Cannes with The Snows of Kilimanjaro starring the director’s familiar faces Jean-Pierre Darroussin and Ariane Ascaride. Pierre Schoeller will screen The Exercise of State.

Norwegian director Joachim Trier’s Oslo, August 31st will compete against Australia’s Ivan Sen with Toomelah; South Africa’s Oliver Hermanus with Skoonheid; Brazil’s Juliana Rojas with Travailler Fatigue; Mexico’s Gerardo Naranjo with Miss Bala; Russia’s Bakur Bakuradze with The Hunter; Romania’s Catalin Mitulescu’s with Loverboy; Lebanon’s Nadine Labaki with Et Maintenant on va ou?; Germany’s Andreas Dresen with Halt auf freier Strecke and Cristian Jimenez’ with Bonsai.

Juries and last-minute additions will be announced in the coming days. The Festival de Cannes runs May 11-22. 

 

OPENING FILM
"Midnight in Paris," Woody Allen

COMPETITION
"Drive," Nicolas Winding Refn
"Footnote," Josef Cedar
"Hanezu no Tsuki," Naomi Kawase
"Hara-kiri: Death of a Samurai," Takashi Miike
"The Kid With a Bike," Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
"L'apollonide (Souvenirs de la maison close)," Bertrand Bonello
"Le Havre," Aki Kaurismaki
"Once Upon a Time in Anatolia," Nuri Bilge Ceylan
"Melancholia," Lars von Trier
"Michael," Markus Schleinzer
"Pater," Alain Cavalier
"Polisse," Maiwenn
"The Skin That I Inhabit," Pedro Almodovar
"Sleeping Beauty," Julia Leigh
"La Source des femmes," Radu Mihaileanu
"This Must Be the Place," Paolo Sorrentino
"The Tree of Life," Terrence Malick
"We Have a Pope," Nanni Moretti
"We Need to Talk About Kevin," Lynne Ramsay

UN CERTAIN REGARD
"Arirang," Kim Ki-duk
"Bonsai," Cristian Jimenez
"The Day He Arrives," Hong Sang-soo
"Et maintenant on va ou?," Nadine Labaki
"Halt auf freier Strecke," Andreas Dresen
"Hors Satan," Bruno Dumont
"The Hunter," Bakur Bakuradze
"Les Neiges du Kilimandjaro," Robert Guediguian
"L'exercisce de l'etat," Pierre Schoeller
"Loverboy," Catalin Mitulescu
"Martha Marcy May Marlene," Sean Durkin
"Miss Bala," Gerardo Naranjo
"Restless," U.S., Gus Van Sant
"Oslo, August 31st," Joachim Trier
"Skoonheid," Oliver Hermanus
"Tatsumi," Singapore, Eric Khoo
"Trabalhar cansa," Juliana Rojas, Marco Dutra
"Toomelah," Ivan Sen
"The Yellow Sea," Na Hong-jin

OUT OF COMPETITION
"The Beaver," Jodie Foster
"The Artist," Michel Hazanavicius
"The Conquest," Xavier Durringer
"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," Rob Marshall

MIDNIGHT SCREENINGS
"Wu Xia," Peter Chan Ho-sun
"Dias de gracia," Everardo Gout

SPECIAL SCREENINGS
"Labrador," Frederikke Aspock
"Le maitre des forges de l'enfer," Rithy Panh
"Michel Petrucciani," Michael Radford
"Tous au Larzac," Christian Rouaud