Cannes Film Fest 2007: Year 60–Directors Fortnight

Cannes Film Fest 2007–May 2, 2007: Five American movies have been chosen as part of the Cannes Film Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight sidebar.

Ramin Bahrani’s “Chop Shop,” about immigrant New Yorkers in Brooklyn, will be a world premiere.

Three other films in the selection, Julianne Moore starrer “Savage Grace,” Robinson Devor’s “Zoo” and Gregg Araki’s “Smiley Face,” have all screened previously in other festivals.

The fifth US picture is William Friedkin’s 1980 film “Cruising,” with Al Pacino.

Bestiality (“Zoo”) and husband-beating (Jan Bonny’s German title “Gegenuber”) are among the unlikelier themes in the Euro-heavy lineup that includes nine first films.

Human relationships are the predominant theme in pictures such as previous Directors’ Fortnight selectee “Avant que j’oublie,” a Jacques Nolot pic about a 58-year-old loner dealing with the death of a friend and AIDS; Lenny Abrahamson’s Irish pic “Garage,” featuring a star turn by Pat Shortt as a lonely misfit working in an isolated gas station; and “Gegenuber,” about a cop who is the unlikely victim of domestic violence.

Brillante Mendoza’s Filipino title “Foster Child” concerns a poor foster family’s attachment to a 3-year-old who is about to be adopted by an American family; Pedro Aguilera’s Spanish-Mexican co-production “La influencia” centers on a mother who can’t cope; Mia Hansen-Love’s “All Is Forgiven” is an autobiographical tale about a 17-year-old getting back in touch with her estranged father.

The programmers viewed around 1,000 submissions this year. Fortnight opens May 19, the day after the main festival, with this year’s previously announced opener “Control,” a biopic about the life and early suicide of Ian Curtis, lead singer of the English rock band Joy Division.

Other real-life relationships titles include French actress Sandrine Bonnaire’s feature debut, “Elle s’appelle Sabine,” a docu about her autistic sister.

Catherine Deneuve stars in Gael Morel’s “Apres lui,” while Gallic thesps Sylvie Testud and Pascal Greggory topline Serge Bozon’s “La France,” about a wife who goes in search of her missing husband in WWI.

Sex in different guises is represented in Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s “Ploy,” an erotic psychological thriller from Thailand, and in the American docu “Zoo,” about a Seattle family man who belonged to a secret club of bestiality.

Spiros Stathoulopoulos’ Colombian film “PVC-1,” is also based on a true-life story, about a hostage turned into a human time-bomb by her kidnappers. The whole movie was shot in a single take.

Japanese TV star Hitoshi Matsumoto’s comic helming debut, the live action and f/x pic “Dai Nippon jin,” is a fantasy about a TV crew that follows a down-and-out fellow who turns out to be an unloved superhero.

Society’s ails are the subject of Nicolas Klotz’s novel adaptation “The Heartbeat Detector,” about a human resources department psychologist who stumbles on some dark secrets in his petrochemical company.

Sidebar also contains an omnibus film, “The State of the World,” made to mark the 50th anniversary of Portugal’s Gulbenkian Foundation, with contributions from Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Vicente Ferraz, Ayisha Abraham, Wang Bing, Pedro Costa and Chantal Akerman.

Lebanon has two different titles in the lineup, the societal comedy “Caramel,” from Nadine Labaki, and “A Lost Man,” by Danielle Arbid, who was in Directors’ Fortnight in 2004 with “In the Battlefields.” New pic about a photographer’s voyeuristic experiences in nighttime Beirut is inspired by real-life photographer Antoine d’Agata.

Sidebar will close with the Brazilian picture “Mutum,” about young kids in an isolated farm in Brazil.

In addition to its usual lineup of new short films, sidebar will also screen restored copies of classic French shorts “The Red Balloon” and “White Mane.”