Cannes Film Fest 2008: Year 61–Celebrating of 40th Anniversary of Fortnight Section

April 2, 2008–Forty years after Cannes Directors Fortnight was born out of protests by Francois Truffaut, Jean Luc Godard and others at the ouster of Henri Langlois from the French Cinematheque, the event kicks off its 40th anni celebrations in Athens and Thessaloniki. In the Langlois spirit, the main event in Greece is a retrospective of Fortnight films, playing April 3-16, focusing on French titles.

Though the Directors Fortnight promises a grand anniversary on May 18 during the Cannes Film Festival, the focus of the celebrations is on the Directors Fortnight films, plus a film on the Fortnight, Olivier Jahns 40 x 15, and a film that embodies its spirit, Robert Kramer and John Douglas Milestones, which screened there in 1975.

It was very important to show again films by Werner Herzog, Jim Jarmusch, the 70s classics, but also to take the opportunity to reflect about what is our mission now concerning new auteurs and what is the singularity of the Fortnight itself, Directors Fortnight artistic director Olivier Pere said.

The other main novelty of celebrations is that the Directors Fortnight is taking to the global road. A second showcase, entitled The Quinzaines Great Films, will screen April 16-29 at the Cinema Action theater in Paris, before being seen in Rome from June 4 and Buenos Aires in September.

Films making the Paris cut include Werner Herzogs Aguirre: The Wrath of God and Jarmuschs Stranger than Paradise.

Celebrations at Cannes Festival itself take place largely on May 18, which, before the soiree, features the screening of Jahns docupic 40 x 15, with Stephen Frears, William Friedkin and Manoel de Oliveira.

Milestones screens at Cannes May 19. A product of U.S. militant indie cinema, and generally regarded as one of the best films Kramer ever made Pere calls it a masterpiece the film also embodies the concerns that explain the creation of the Directors Fortnight.

Unseen in French theaters in 1975, it will finally get a release in France via boutique distrib Capricci Films, Pere said.

Further selections of Directors Fortnight films screen in New York (starting June 20, featuring non-French and recent French films), the Melbourne Festival (July 25-August 10), and Manila, during its Cinemanila Fest (August 8-21).

The Directors Fortnight world tour continues in Beirut (focusing on recent European films, August 28-Sept.7), Seoul (20 pics in September), Poitiers (starting Sept. 11), Belfort, Corsicas Porto-Vecchio (Nov.21-23, including shorts) and Bucharest (a European film week, in November).