Cannes Film Festival: What Directors Are Saying About Selections

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Pedro Almodovar and Nicolas Sarkozy helmer Xavier Durringer are among those who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter ahead of May’s film fest.

PARIS -- As the world gets ready to see their films at May’s Festival de Cannes, this year’s directors talked to The Hollywood Reporter about being the 2011 chosen ones.

The Skin I Live In director Pedro Almodovar doesn’t have La Palme d’Or on the brain, but is instead thinking about the skin he lives in and putting himself on a pre-festival diet. "I'm going to the Cannes Festival with the ambition of having a good part at the world's most important auteur film event, but I'm not thinking of prizes. I'm most interested in the reaction of the audience, the press, the distributors that handle film throughout the world,” he said, adding: “I’m very happy with the result of the The Skin I Live In and I'm tremendously curious to see the reaction in the eclectic heart of the festival. That is why I have accepted the invitation to form part of the Official Competition. Plus, Cannes is always a good incentive to go on a diet."

While Nicolas Sarkozy himself may not be all smiles, director Xavier Durringer was thrilled with The Conquest being selected for an Out of Competition screening at the fest.

"We're very, very happy to go to Cannes with this film because it's a recognition of the film as a work of cinema despite all of the politic buzz surrounding it. Journalists, politicians and the public will discover it at the same time," Durringer said in an interview of the politically charged title about Sarkozy’s rise to power. He added: "It's the first time in France that a film has been made about the president so of course there will be strong reactions. You can't touch upon such a contemporary topic without inciting a reaction."

Christine Langan, head of BBC Films, was delighted that Lynne Ramsay's We Need To Talk About Kevin, starring Tilda Swinton, was selected for a Competition slot.

“We're extremely excited that Lynne Ramsay's We Need To Talk About Kevin has been selected to compete in Cannes this year,” she said. “It's a great tribute to Lynne's unique talent and a fitting result for the profound cinematic vision she has brought to bear on Lionel Shriver's fascinating novel.”

Pamela Rolfe in Spain contributed to this report.