Cannes: Who Missed the Cut

Terrence Malick

Films from festival favorites Terrence Malick, Abel Ferrara, Stephen Frears and Doug Liman all failed to make the Official Selection despite being heavily tipped ahead of the announcement to score a slot.

High-profile films from a slew of Riviera regulars, including Terrence Malick, Abel Ferrara, Stephen Frears and Doug Liman, were among the heavily tipped titles to miss the cut for this year's coveted Official Competition lineup at the Cannes Film Festival.

Many cineastes and Cannes veterans had been hoping Palme d’Or winner Malick would be on the Croisette to premiere one of his upcoming films, Knight of Cups or Voyage of Time. But festival director Thierry Fremaux said he is in frequent contact with festival favorite Malick and was informed by phone that the director's films wouldn't be ready -- "bad news for us, but not for him," said Fremaux. 

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Peppered with questions about everything else that did and didn't make the cut following the announcements, Fremaux declined to answer speculation. "It's tradition to talk about the films that we are showing, and not films that we are not showing," he said.

He did add that Fatih Akin pulled his film The Cut from competition because it also wasn't ready.

When accused of playing favorites, Fremaux said that it is not the case, citing festival regular Paolo Sorrentino. Sorrentino, who has had multiple entries over the years, went on to win this year's best foreign film Oscar, proving he's "a world favorite" too.

Abel Ferrara’s Welcome to New York, featuring Gerard Depardieu as Dominique Strauss Kahn, the disgraced French International Monetary Fund chief, failed to garner a place.

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Fremaux declined to be drawn into any discussion about why the movie isn't landing on the Croisette, in contrast to his warm remarks about his relationship with Malick.

With the Cannes tradition of giving an Official Selection place to one Hollywood blockbuster going to DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon 2, a potential return visit by Tom Cruise to support Liman’s sci-fi actioner Edge of Tomorrow was iced.

Fremaux said programming Dragon 2 gave the festival an opportunity to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of Dreamworks and also a chance to extend its congratulations to Jeffrey Katzenberg on the Hollywood studio's success.

Fremaux described Dreamworks as one of the most important studios to have emerged in recent times.

Xavier Beauvois, whose Of Gods and Men nabbed the Grand Prix in 2010, also seemed conspicuous by his absence, given that The Price of Glory, starring Benoit Poelvoorde and Roschdy Zem as thieves robbing the grave of Charlie Chaplin in the 1970s, was expected to be a contender.

As legendary fest president Gilles Jacob finally steps down after 36 years on the Croisette, general delegate Fremaux is the man in the programming spotlight of the world’s premium art house event.

The 67th edition of the Cannes Film Festival runs May 14 to May 25 and opens with Grace of Monaco, starring Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly, and directed by Olivier Dahan (La Vie en Rose).

Fremaux said the festival will be showing the "only version" of the film made -- that of the director Dahan. He said the festival shows filmmakers' films and added that the rumors of an entirely separate cut by the films' U.S. producers being offered to the event were false.

Industry rumors suggesting that Hollywood is holding back on submitting movies to Cannes, preferring the fall awards season instead, may have been borne out by the absence of Paul Thomas Anderson’s much-anticipated adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Michael Keaton-starrer, Birdman.

And another U.K. veteran, John Boorman, will have to wait until the lineup for Directors' Fortnight is announced to find out if his Hope and Glory, prequel Queen and Country, is destined for a trip to France.

The Critics’ Week and Directors’ Fortnight sidebar programmers will unveil their selections on April 21 and April 22, respectively.

Croisette regular Frears' untitled Lance Armstrong biopic, starring Ben Foster, Chris O’Dowd and Dustin Hoffman, also failed to pedal into Competition contention.

The Cannes Film Festival announced its Official Selection on Thursday in Paris.