While the term “bucket list” makes me want to vomit into a bucket, I confess that I have a few things I need to accomplish before I shuffle off this mortal coil. One of them is going to the Cannes Film Festival. Every year, I geek out on film selections, buzz, distribution deals, and awards that come out of the fest, and then bore my friends as the line-up trickles through the arthouse circuit, saying things like, “It won the Palme d’Or at Cannes!” and “The American critics didn’t like it as much as the French!” It’s no wonder I spend many an evening alone.
Nevertheless, the time has come once again. The festival opened last night with the latest Wes Anderson movie, Moonrise Kingdom. Every person who did their high school summer reading assignments is excited about new material from Anderson, and the early word on this one is positive.
I am also looking forward to hearing about these movies:
Amour – Michael Haneke snagged the Palme d’Or in 2009 with The White Ribbon and the Grand Prix in 2002 with The Piano Teacher. This movie is his third collaboration with Isabelle Huppert, a formidable screen presence who always captivates. Jean-Louis Trintignant (The Conformist, My Night at Maud’s) and Emmanuelle Riva (Hiroshima Mon Amour, Blue) also star.
The Angels’ Share – Ken Loach probably won’t add another trophy to his Cannes shelf (The Wind That Shakes the Barley won the Palme d’Or in 2006, while Hidden Agenda and Raining Stones won the Special Jury Prize in 1990 and 1993) with this comedy, as the jury tends to award more dour affairs. Maybe the social bent so often seen in Loach’s films will win them over.
Beyond the Hills – The Romanian New Wave was essentially confirmed by Cristian Mungiu’s victory at Cannes 2007 with 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days, an incredibly stressful movie about life under Nicolae Ceauşescu. This latest entry is also based on life in Romania, but other details are scarce.
Cosmopolis – I know nothing about the source material by Don DeLillo, nor do I care too much about Robert Pattinson. David Cronenberg, however, can always get me into a theater seat. While I’m one of the sole detractors of his adaptation of A History of Violence, I have enjoyed many of his other films, especially The Brood (1979) and Eastern Promises (2007). Oh, and this one has Juliette Binoche, my favorite actress and the recipient of the festival’s 2010 award for Best Actress.
Lawless – Maybe this will be John Hillcoat’s big break. It reateams him with singer Nick Cave, who also wrote 2005’s minimalist western The Proposition. That movie featured some of the most badass posturing ever, especially from Danny Huston. 2009’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road went all but unnoticed, but I dug it. Anyway, the cast on this one is stacked: Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman, Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain … and Shia LaBeouf.
Like Someone in Love – Iranian genius Abbas Kiarostami follows up Certified Copy with another movie made abroad, this time in Japan. Can’t. Wait.
Mud – Jeff Nichols nailed a specific kind of 21st century dread with Take Shelter, which picked up a couple of awards at last year’s fest. Nichols has cast powerhouse Michael Shannon in all three of his features, and this one adds Reese Witherspoon and Matthew McConaughey, who seems to be entering a more interesting phase of his career post-Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.
On the Road – This adaptation of the potentially unfilmable beat novel comes from the team that made 2004’s solid The Motorcycle Diaries. That includes Brazilian director Walter Salles, Puerto Rican screenwriter José Rivera, and Argentine composer Gustavo Santoalalla. The cast includes Sam Riley (Control), Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Steve Buscemi, Elisabeth Moss, and Terrence Howard. I have a feeling it will be very good, very bad, or, you know, mediocre.
Post Tenebras Lux – Carlos Reygadas has earned comparisons to Terence Malick and Andrei Tarkovsky with his elliptical films. I’ve only seen 2003’s Japón, but I’m excited about this one.
Rust and Bone – Jacques Audiard’s follow-up to 2010’s brilliant A Prophet is already getting great reviews. It stars the gorgeous and talented Marion Cotillard and is based on a short story by Craig Davidson.
7 Days in Havana – Anthology films are, by their nature, inconsistent, but I’m hopeful that this one will be an exception to that rule. It features (you guessed it) 7 segments by 7 directors, all taking place during the same week in the Cuban capital. Contributors I’ve heard of include Julio Médem (Sex and Lucía), Laurent Cantet (The Class), Juan Carlos Tabío (Guantanamera), Benicio del Toro (Traffic), and Gaspar Noé (Irréversible).
Beasts of the Southern Wild – This blew up at Sundance. Huge. Maybe America’s best chance for a top prize.
Garbage in the Garden of Eden – documentary by Fatih Akin, the Turkish-German director behind Head On and The Edge of Heaven.
Mekong Hotel – Apichatpong Weerasethakul follows up 2010’s Palme d’Or winner, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.
So those are fifteen I’m excited about. Did I miss any?