Cannes reveals Directors' Fortnight titles

Francis Ford Coppola's 'Tetro' will screen in the sidebar

PARIS -- Francis Ford Coppola will be making his way to Cannes this year with his black-and-white drama "Tetro" after all.

Although the director said last week that he turned down an invitation to walk the red carpet at the Festival de Cannes, his film is set to open the 41st annual Directors' Fortnight, the less-glitzy sidebar to the main event, organizers said Friday.

Coppola opted for the Fortnight invite, he explained, because the sidebar is more in keeping with the film's indie nature. "It is so difficult to work in a personal way in the cinema today, between the business constraints and commercial realities, that you must let your work be a cry for independence, which is why it is so appropriate that 'Tetro' is premiered in the Directors' Fortnight, where young filmmakers go," he said.

Though U.S. titles are few and far between in the festival's official selection, the Stars and Stripes will be flying high over the Fortnight, where five stateside films have been selected.

U.S. filmmaker Lynn Shelton will head to the Croisette with her comedy "Humpday," which screened at Sundance and will be released stateside by Magnolia. Fortnight selectors also raided the Park City fest for "Amreeka," Cherien Dabis' tale of a Palestinian single mom and her teenage son adjusting to life in Illinois, and Glenn Ficarra and John Requa's fest favorite "I Love You Phillip Morris." National Geographic has picked up U.S. rights to "Amreeka"; "Morris" is still looking for a U.S. distributor.

"There are definitely more comedies this year, which is pretty new for us," the sidebar's artistic director Olivier Pere said in an interview. "Maybe it's because we're in the midst of a global financial crisis. These filmmakers prove that comedy isn't just a minor category; there can also be auteur comedies. These mostly young filmmakers are using irony to deal with topics that could just as easily have been much more somber."

Also from the U.S., brothers Joshua and Benny Safdie will host the world premiere of their co-directorial effort "Go Get Some Rosemary." Joshua Safdie's "The Pleasure of Being Robbed" screened in the sidebar last year.

"Last year, it was Latino-American films; this year, North American titles really impressed us," Pere said.

Not that the Fortnight won't be speaking a great deal of French.

Portugese director Pedro Costa will be in town with his French-language film "Ne change rien" (Don't Change Anything), a Portugal-France co-production starring Jeanne Balibar and Rodolphe Burger. Paris-born, Middle Eastern-raised Riad Sattouf will present his first film, "Les Beaux Gosses," a teen angst story featuring famous faces Emmanuelle Devos, Noemie Lvovsky, Irene Jacob and Valeria Golino in supporting roles.

Canada, meanwhile, boasts three French-language titles in the lineup: Denis Villeneuve's "Polytechnique," based on horrific events that unfolded at a Montreal school in 1989; Denis Cote's "Carcasses," about a solitary man who collects old cars; and 19-year-old director Xavier Dolan's "J'ai tue ma mere" (I Killed My Mother).

Franco-Japanese bilingual title "Yuki & Nina" tells the story of the child of a French father and a Japanese mother who learns her parents are getting a divorce. The film is co-directed by Japanese filmmaker Nobuhiro Suwa ("Un Couple Parfait"/"Paris je t'aime") alongside well-known French actor Hippolyte Girardot, helming his first film.

" 'Yuki & Nina' really represents this hybridization of cultures. There are more and more filmmakers who travel a lot and want to understand and present other cultures," Pere said.

Axelle Ropert will present her "La Famille Wolberg," a France-Belgium co-production.

"It just turned out this way," Pere said of the abundance of Gallic titles in selection. "There's definitely not a voluntary will on our part to defend the French language. They just happened to be good movies."

Flexing his muscles from Belgium will be Felix Van Groeningen with "De Helaasheid der dingen."

Mexican filmmaker Michel Franco's Spanish-language "Daniel & Ana," about a brother and sister who are kidnapped, will vie for the coveted Camera d'Or prize for best first film.

Also competing for the Camera d'Or will be Bulgarian director Kamen Kalev, with his Bulgaria-Sweden co-production "Eastern Plays," about two brothers reunited when they take opposite roles in a racist beating.

Pere noted the relative absence of Asian titles this year. "We have a few Asian films this year, but we're not really seeing a renewal of auteurs from that continent. The new generation is having trouble expressing themselves," he said.

Among the Asian titles are Singapore director Ho Tzu-Nyen's first film, "Here," follows a middle-aged man trying to make sense of life after the sudden death of his wife and opts for an experimental treatment, South Korean director Hong San-Soo's "Like You Know It All."

Other French titles include Alain Guiraudie's "Le Roi de l'evasion" and Luc Moullet's "La Terre de la folie."

Austrian-Italian fimmaking duo Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel will present the Italian-language "La Pivellina," about a 2-year-old girl abandoned in a park who finds a new home with some eccentric characters.

Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani will represent Germany with "Ajami."

The official lineup, which will include two more titles, will be announced today in Paris.

A complete list of Directors' Fortnight titles follows:

"Tetro"
Francis Ford Coppola, U.S. (opening film)

"Ajami"
Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani, Germany (closing film)

"Amreeka"
Cherien Dabis, U.S.

"Les Beaux gosses"
Riad Sattouf, France

"Carcasses"
Denis Cote, Canada

"Daniel y Ana"
Michel Franco, Mexico

"Eastern Plays"
Kamen Kalev, Bulgaria

"La Famille Wolberg"
Axelle Ropert, France/Belgium

"Go Get Some Rosemary"
Benny et Josh Safdie, U.S.

"De Helaasheid der dingen"
Felix Van Groeningen, Belgium

"Here"
Tzu-Nyen Ho, Singapore

"Humpday"
Lynn Shelton, U.S.

"I Love You Philip Morris"
Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, U.S.

"J'ai tue ma mere"
Xavier Dolan, Canada

"Like You Know It All"
Hong San-Soo, Korea

"Ne change rien"
Pedro Costa, Portugal

"La Pivellina"
Tizza Covi et Rainer Frimmel, Austria

"Polytechnique"
Denis Villeneuve, Canada

"Le Roi de l'evasion"
d'Alain Guiraudie, France

"La Terre de la folie"
Luc Moullet, France

"Yuki & Nina"
Nobuhiro Suwa and Hippolyte Girardot, France/Japan
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