Festival de Cannes Directors' Fortnight Sidebar Announces Lineup

Bruno Romy, Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon - 2008
Franck Crusiaux/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

The sidebar will highlight Belgian titles, female directors and films about nature.

PARIS -- Belgium will be flexing its famous mussels at this year’s Festival de Cannes Director’s Fortnight sidebar with Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon and Bruno Romy’s The Fairy set to lead the 25-film strong selection and Bouli LannersThe Giants to leave a big footprint on closing night. 

The sidebar's artistic director Frederic Boyer announced the eclectic lineup Tuesday in Paris.

The sidebar will kick off with some laughs with burlesque comedy The Fairy from the directing trio behind Iceberg and Rumba. MK2 is handling international sales. Lanners’ The Giants chronicles the adventures of three teenagers neglected by their parents who roam free in the Belgian countryside one summer. “We’re starting off with a short film and ending with a short film – I don’t want to tire out the Cannes spectators, especially at the end of the festival,” the sidebar’s artistic director Frederic Boyer said of the two Belgian titles with hour and a half screening times.  

Also chirping from Belgium will be Gust Van den Berghe’s second feature Blue Bird about two children searching for a mysterious feathered friend. The Coproduction office will handle international sales.

And while they may not get along off screen, the Belgians and the French will be sharing the spotlight for the Fortnight which is heavy on French-made fare.

Legendary filmmaker Andre Techine will return to the Croisette with Impardonnables, an adaptation of Philippe Djian’s book about a successful author whose wife and daughter are killed and who tries to start his life again with a new wife and daughter. The highly anticipated title stars Carole Bouquet, Andre Dussolier and Melanie Thierry.

“He’s a bit intimidated because he’s sharing the selection with a lot of young directors, but I consider him to be a young director and he’s one of France’s greatest,” Boyer said of Techine. Techine will vie against nine first-time directors competing for the Camera d’Or prize for best first film at the festival. 

Philippe RamosJoan Captive will take audiences back to 1430 with famous heroine Joan of Arc. The film stars Clemence Poesy as the title character alongside Thierry Fremont, Liam Cunningham and Mathieu Amalric

Roland Edzard will present his first film End of Silence, a Franco-Austrian co-production that takes place in the Vosges mountains. Fellow French first-timer Jean-Jauffret will present Apres le Sud about the parallel paths of four characters one afternoon in Marseille that ends with the murder of an adolescent by an old man. Jerome de Mossolz will present Franco-Belgian co-production Des Jeunes Gens Modernes out of competition as a special screening. 

Also from France is Valerie Mrejen’s En Ville about a 16 year old privincial girl who sparks a life-changing friendship with an older  Parisian photographer. 

This year’s Directors' Fortnight will be getting a large dose of estrogen from female directors hailing from across the globe. 

This year will mark The Return of first-time US director Liza Johnson to the Croisette with her debut feature about a soldier returning home from a tour of duty. The story about a soldier returning home from a tour of duty stars Linda Cardellini alongside Michael Shannon and John Slattery

The Other Side of Sleep will likely wake up festgoers. The debut feature from Irish director Rebecca Daly tells the story of a sleepwalker in a rural Irish town whose sleeping and waking realities blur. Dreams are also prevalent in Urszula Antoniak’s Code Blue, a Netherlands-Denmark co-production about a middle-aged nurse fascinated with her neighbor. 

“These are two films that talk about dreams- they’re very troubling, but very strong,” Boyer said.

Other femmes include Canada’s Isabelle Lavigne and Stephane Thibault with At Night They Dance, the story of a clan of belly dancing women filmed in Cairo. 

Leila Kilani will add a Moroccan touch to the selection with her first fiction feature Sur la Planche about four girls on the run.

“Nature is very present in the selection this year,” Boyer pointed out.

In Kamen Kalev’s second feature The Island, a young couple head to a remote island in the Black Sea where their relationship is questioned. Vimukthi Jayasundara will give festgoers a taste of her Mushrooms, a Franco-Indian co-production set in a forest. 

Auraeus Solito’s Palawan Fate, the first  Palawanon indigenous film ever made, explores “Busong,” the Palawan concept of fate wherein nature reacts instantly to man’s disrespect. 

This year is Play time for Ruben Ostlund with his Swedish film about group dynamics and their effects on individual behavior. 

Also representing Scandinavia will be Runar Runarsson who will erupt with his first film Volcano. The Danish-Icelandic co-production is the coming-of-age story about a 67 year-old man retiring from his life as a janitor. Karl Markovics will bring his Atmen from Austria. Also adding a European touch is Alice Rohrwacher’s Corpo Celeste about a 13 year old girl who struggles to resettle in the South of Italy after growing up in Switzerland. 

Brazilian director Alejandro Landes will present Porfiro, a film about the violence of civil wars in Colombia. Also from Brazil is Karim Ainouz with O Abismo prateado

Natalia Almada will hold a special out of competition screening for El Velador from Mexico.

Boyer is expecting Japanese out of competition film Guilty of Romance from Sion Sono to shock festgoers. “A lot of geeks will come,” he said of the anticipated film noir about three women entangled in mystery that features graphic scenes. 

“I tried to provide an assortment of genres. Diversity is important. Sometimes it will provoke controversy, but that’s OK, that’s what movies are for,” Boyer said. 

The sidebar will pay particular attention this year to imprisoned Iranian director Jafar Panahi who will receive the sidebar’s Golden Coach prize at a ceremony on May 12th. The DF will also host a debate about making films under a dictatorship, screen Panahi’s 2005 title Offside and on May 13th host a public press conference to address Panahi’s situation and give public and professional supporters of the filmmaker the chance to express themselves. Throughout the festival, an empty chair in the Croisette theater will symbolize the absence of the director. 

The Directors' Fortnight sidebar runs May 12 – 22 in Cannes. 



"Apres le sud," France, Jean-Jacques Jauffret
"Blue Bird," Belgium, Gust Van den Berghe
"Breathing," Austria, Karl Markovics
"Code Blue," Netherlands-Denmark, Urszula Antoniak
"Corpo celeste," Italy-Switzerland-France, Alice Rohrwacher
"End of Silence," France-Austria, Roland Edzard
"La Fee," Belgium-France, Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, Bruno Romy (opening film)
"Les Geants," Belgium-France-Luxembourg, Bouli Lanners (closing film)
"Impardonnables," France, Andre Techine
"The Island," Bulgaria-Sweden, Kamen Kalev
"Iris in Bloom," France, Valerie Mrejen
"Joan Captive," France, Philippe Ramos
"Mushrooms," India-France, Vimukthi Jayasundara
"O abismo prateado," Brazil, Karim Ainouz
"The Other Side of Sleep," Ireland-Hungary-Netherlands, Rebecca Daly
"Palawan Fate," Philippines, Auraeus Solito
"Play," Sweden-France-Denmark, Ruben Ostlund
"Porfirio," Colombia-Spain-Uruguay-Argentina-France, Alejandro Landes
"Return," U.S., Liza Johnson
"Sur la planche," Morocco-France-Germany, Leila Kilani
"Volcano," Denmark-Island, Runar Runarsson

"At Night, They Dance," Canada, Stephane Thibault, Isabelle Lavigne
"Des Jeunes gens modernes," France-Belgium, Jerome de Missolz
"El Velador," Mexico-U.S.-France, Natalia Almada
"Guilty of Romance," Japan, Sion Sono