All first-timers competing in Critics Week

Majority of Cannes sidebar's lineup will be world premieres

PARIS -- The 48th annual International Critics Week will be a first-timers feast of comfort cinema with a hearty helping of French fare.

Critics Week artistic director Jean-Christophe Berjon announced the lineup Monday in Paris; all seven Competition titles will be up for the Camera d'Or, and six of the seven are world premieres.

"Our main goal is to reveal young filmmakers," Berjon said about the competition lineup. The sidebar will kick off May 13 with Out of Competition title "Le Nom des Gens," Michel Leclerc's political comedy starring Jacques Gamblin and Sara Forestier.

Two other French comedies will screen Out of Competition, including Quentin Dupieux's "Rubber," shot in English in the U.S., and Marc Fitoussi's "Copacabana." The latter stars last year's Festival de Cannes jury president, Isabelle Huppert, opposite her daughter, Lolita Chammah, in the story of a mother-daughter relationship that co-stars Aure Atika.

"It's not about the nationalities, it's about the films themselves. I didn't want to simply show lots of French films, but I wanted to allow us to show feel-good movies," Berjon said. He added: "In Cannes, we are often ashamed to laugh, but these films are generous and funny and show different types of humor and style."

Also from France but in Competition, Rebecca Zlotowski will screen her less feel-good, more austere first feature "Belle Epine," starring up-and-coming young actresses Lea Seydoux and Anais Demoustier. Seydoux also stars as Princess Isabella in the fest's opening-night film, Ridley Scott's "Robin Hood."

David Robert Mitchell's SXSW title "The Myth of the American Sleepover" will spend the night on the Croisette for its international premiere. The film follows four teens over the course of one summer night who navigate Detroit looking for love and adventure.

"We try to show films that don't pass through Sundance first," Berjon said, adding that U.S. indie entries to the sidebar were strong this year.

Asian titles came out in force in this year's Critics Week competition, including Boo Junfeng's "Sandcastle" from Singapore, Vietnamese director Phan Dang Di's "Bi, Don't be Afraid" and South Korean Jang Cheol So's "Bedevilled." "In its form, it's profoundly Korean, but it hits upon universal values," Berjon said of the latter.

Scandinavia will also add a Nordic touch to the lineup, with Swedish directing duo Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjarne Nilsson's "Sound of Noise," a co-production with France about a police officer allergic to music who must confront a band of sonic terrorists.

"Globally, we picked feel-good movies all around," Berjon said of the selection, which also features some tougher titles like Danish filmmaker Janus Metz's documentary "Armadillo," about two young soldiers who lose their innocence at war in Afghanistan. "Armadillo" marks the first time a documentary will be in competition since 1990, when the sidebar began its Competition section. " 'Armadillo' is proof of a growing maturity in the fusion between fiction and documentary."

The Critics Week sidebar runs May 13-21 in Cannes. The complete lineup is on the next page.

The complete Critics Week lineup follows:

"Armadillo" -- first feature
Janus Metz, Denmark

"Bedevilled" -- first feature
Jang Cheol So, South Korea

"Belle Epine" -- first feature
Rebecca Zlotowski, France

"Bi, Dung so!" -- first feature
Phan Dang Di, Vietnam/France/Germany

"The Myth of the American Sleepover" -- first feature
David Robert Mitchell, U.S.

"Sandcastle" -- first feature
Boo Junfeng, Singapore

"Sound of Noise" -- first feature
Ola Simonsson & Johannes Stjarne Nilsson, Sweden/France

Special screenings

Opening film
"Le Nom des gens" -- second feature
Michel Leclerc, France
"Rubber" -- second feature
Quentin Dupieux, France

"Copacabana" -- second feature
Marc Fitoussi, France
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