Cannes Film Fest 2011: Year 64–Full Line-Up

Cannes Fest director Thierry Fremaux revealed a lineup notable not only for its gender diversity but for the wide range of genres represented. The official selection is unusually strong on action-driven fare, with competition slots for Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Drive” and Takashi Miike’s “Hara-kiri: Death of a Samurai,” which will be the first 3D film to play in competition at Cannes.

In a further sign that the festival is attempting to move away from its image as a staid showcase for the usual tried-and-true auteurs, there are almost as many competition newcomers as there are veterans: This will be the first appearance in Cannes’ elite program for France’s Bertrand Bonello, Israel’s Joseph Cedar, Romania’s Radu Mihaileanu and Germany’s Markus Schleinzer, as well as for Ramsay, Maiwenn, Leigh and Miike.

Set to bow nearly a year after it began stirring the Cannes rumor mill, Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” marks the iconoclastic American filmmaker’s first return to the festival since he won the director prize for 1978’s “Days of Heaven.”

The film will also presumably treat festgoers to the sight of Brad Pitt and Sean Penn climbing the steps of the Palais des Festivals, a red-carpet draw likely to be rivaled only by Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz in Rob Marshall’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” which, as expected, will make its international premiere in a noncompeting berth.

Further bolstering the U.S. presence out of competition will be Jodie Foster’s Mel Gibson starrer “The Beaver,” which had its world premiere at SXSW in March.

While “Tree of Life” is the sole competition entry by an American director, the main program will also feature “Drive,” an independent U.S. production from Danish director Refn. Starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan, the Los Angeles-set thriller is adapted from James Sallis’ novel about a Hollywood stunt performer who moonlights as a getaway driver for robberies.

Fremaux said that while not many American films were submitted this year, he had been eyeing a third U.S. title for competition, but the producers pulled out after deciding a Cannes launch wouldn’t fit the film’s marketing strategy. “Studios shouldn’t think that Cannes is a difficult place to launch a film, with Oscar season still so far off,” he said, noting that the festival has become an increasingly generous and welcoming environment for Hollywood fare.

Consistent with Fremaux’s fondness for programming bloody actioners in competition (notably from the likes of Park Chan-wook, Quentin Tarantino, Johnnie To and Takeshi Kitano), prolific Japanese gorehound Miike will make a rare trip to Cannes with his 3D “Hara-kiri.” Like his recent “13 Assassins,” the film is a remake of a classic samurai picture (Kobayashi Masaki’s 1962 “Harakiri”). Fremaux said that he and his selection committee had screened the film in 2D, which indicated that it had been selected for “its artistic merits, regardless of the fact that it will be shown in 3D.”

In sharp contrast to last year’s competition lineup, roundly criticized for its lack of female filmmakers, no fewer than four of the films slated to compete are directed by women; there are seven distaff helmers in the official selection overall. Describing the situation as “a beautiful coincidence,” Fremaux pointed out that several competition titles directed by men dealt primarily with female characters, including Bonello’s “L’apollonide (Souvenirs de la maison close),” Mihaileanu’s “La Sources des femmes” and the Dardennes’ “The Kid With a Bike.”

Ramsay, whose prior features “Ratcatcher” and “Morvern Callar” played at Cannes, will make her debut in competition with British-American co-production “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” starring Tilda Swinton (also a producer) and John C. Reilly. Pic was adapted from Lionel Shriver’s 2003 novel about a school massacre.

Kawase, who won the Grand Prix for 2007’s “The Mourning Forest,” will compete again with her fifth feature, “Hanezu no tsuki,” a philosophically inclined entry that, together with Miike’s “Hara-kiri,” will give Japan a strong Cannes presence; it’s the sole Asian country repped in competition.

Leigh’s “Sleeping Beauty,” an erotic drama starring Emily Browning (“Sucker Punch”) that reps the first fully Australian-funded feature to compete at Cannes since 2001’s “Moulin Rouge,” is one of two debuts in competition. The other is “Michael,” an Austrian entry from thesp-helmer Markus Schleinzer, who has also worked as a casting director on films including 2009 Palme d’Or winner “The White Ribbon.”

Maiwenn will make her Cannes debut with her third feature, “Polisse,” a social satire that also stars the monomonikered actress-helmer (the sister of thesp Isild Le Besco). Other French helmers in competition are Bonello, who will bring “L’apollonide,” a drama set in a Parisian brothel in the early 20th century; and Cavalier with “Pater,” an intimate two-hander starring the director and Vincent Lindon. It’s Cavalier’s first competition entry since 1993’s “Libera me.”

One of the most surprising competition entries is “Footnote,” Israeli helmer Cedar’s follow-up to his Oscar-nominated war film “Beaufort” (2007). Pic concerns two rival professors who are also father and son, played by Israeli vet Shlomo Bar-Aba and Lior Ashkenazi, respectively.

Belgium’s Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne will have a shot at an unprecedented third Palme d’Or with Cecile de France starrer “The Kid With a Bike.” Other Palme laureates back in competition are Denmark’s Lars von Trier with “Melancholia,” an English-language sci-fier starring Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg; and Italy’s Nanni Moretti, whose “We Have a Pope” stars Michel Piccoli as the titular clergyman.

While there are only three Gallic directors in competition, several top entries were partly funded by French coin. In addition to “The Kid With a Bike,” “Melancholia” and “Pope,” these include Finnish helmer Aki Kaurismaki’s French-language “Le Havre”; Mihaileanu’s village comedy “La Sources des femmes”; and Italian director Paolo Sorrentino’s English-language drama “This Must Be the Place,” which stars Penn (appearing in two competition titles this year).

As expected (Daily Variety, April 11), Almodovar’s Antonio Banderas starrer “The Skin That I Inhabit,” whose inclusion had been doubted by some fest-watchers, will screen at Cannes after all, as have almost all the Spanish auteur’s pics since 1999’s “All About My Mother.” This marks the first time, however, that an Almodovar film will world premiere on the Croisette before its domestic release.

Ceylan will return with “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia,” about a doctor living in the eponymous region. The Turkish helmer won the Grand Prix for 2003’s “Distant” and the director prize for 2008’s “Three Monkeys.”

Two French films will join “Pirates” and “Beaver” out of competition: Michel Hazanavicius’ “The Artist,” the “OSS 117” helmer’s latest collaboration with popular star Jean Dujardin; and Xavier Durringer’s biopic “The Conquest,” a about the rise to power of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. At the press conference, Fremaux denied local newspaper reports that outside pressure had been brought to bear on the film’s selection. In any event, pic could provide festgoers an interesting Sarkozy-themed double bill with Woody Allen’s previously announced opener, “Midnight in Paris,” which features a role for France’s first lady, singer Carla Bruni.

Gus Van Sant’s teen-oriented drama “Restless” will open Un Certain Regard, reflecting Fremaux’s stated intention of using the sidebar to showcase well-known auteurs with Cannes track records as well as new talents. Other competition veterans whose latest works will screen in Un Certain Regard include Bruno Dumont, returning with “Hors Satan,” an exploration of human evil set in northern France; Singapore’s Eric Khoo, making a foray into animation with “Tatsumi”; and South Korea’s Kim Ki-duk, back with “Arirang.”

Korea is well repped elsewhere in the sidebar: Hong Sang-soo, winner of last year’s Un Certain Regard prize for “Hahaha,” will make a second consecutive appearance with “The Day He Arrives,” and killer-thriller specialist Na Hong-jin will bring his local B.O. hit “The Yellow Sea.” Na was previously at Cannes with 2008 midnight-screening entry “The Chaser,” and his upgrade to Un Certain Regard further bears out the fest’s high esteem for action cinema.

Un Certain Regard has often served as a showcase for prestigious Sundance titles, such as “Precious” and “Blue Valentine”; this year’s entry is the harrowing cult-themed drama “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” which won first-time helmer Sean Durkin a directing prize at the Park City fest.

Curiously absent from competition, Latin America is better represented in Un Certain Regard, which includes “Bonsai,” from Chile’s Cristian Jimenez, and “Trabalhar cansa,” a Brazilian feature directed by Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra. Mexican helmer Gerardo Naranjo, whose “Drama/Mex” played Critics’ Week at Cannes in 2006, will return with “Miss Bala,” his follow-up to his 2008 fest hit “I’m Gonna Explode.”

Rounding out the Un Certain Regard lineup are “Halt auf freier Strecke,” from Germany’s Andreas Dresen (“Cloud 9”); “Where Do We Go Now?,” from Lebanon’s Nadine Labaki (“Caramel”); “The Hunter,” from Georgia-born helmer Bakur Bakuradze; “Les Neiges du Kilimandjaro,” from France’s Robert Guediguian; “L’exercice de l’Etat,” from France’s Pierre Schoeller; “Loverboy,” from Romania’s Catalin Mitulescu (“If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle”); “Oslo, August 31st,” from Norway’s Joachim Trier (“Reprise”); “Skoonheid,” from South Africa’s Oliver Hermanus; and “Toomelah,” from Australia’s Ivan Sen.

The fest will present midnight screenings of “Days of Grace,” a thriller in three parts from Mexico’s Everardo Valerio Gout, and “Wu Xia,” a martial-arts entry from popular Chinese helmer Peter Chan.

Special screenings include “Labrador,” from Denmark’s Frederikke Aspock; “Le Maitres des forges de l’enfer,” from Cambodia’s Rithy Panh; “Michel Petrucciani,” from the U.K.’s Michael Radford; and “Tous au Larzac,” from France’s Christian Rouaud. Not announced Thursday, but likely to be officially added next week as an out-of-competition presentation, is “Bollywood: The Greatest Love Story Ever,” a docu survey of Hindi cinema from UTV and helmer Shekhar Kapur.

While Robert De Niro was confirmed as president of the Cannes jury months ago, the announcement of his fellow jurors will not be made until later this month.

Though they had been tipped for official-selection berths, were Yorgos Lanthimos’ “Alps,” Andrei Zvyagintsev’s “Elena,” Christophe Honore’s “The Beloved,” Brillante Mendoza’s “Prey,” Lou Ye’s “Love and Bruises,” and Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s “Chicken With Plums” were absent from Thursday’s announcement. Still, with only 19 films in the competition (which can easily balloon to 20 or more) and no closing-night film yet announced, there’s room for Fremaux to fiddle with the lineup before the start of the festival, which runs May 11-22.


“Midnight in Paris,” Spain-U.S., Woody Allen

“Drive,” U.S., Nicolas Winding Refn
“Footnote,” Israel, Joseph Cedar
“Hanezu no Tsuki,” Japan, Naomi Kawase
“Hara-kiri: Death of a Samurai,” Japan, Takashi Miike
“The Kid With a Bike,” Belgium-France-Italy, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
“L’apollonide (Souvenirs de la maison close),” FranceBertrand Bonello
“Le Havre,” Finland-France-Germany, Aki Kaurismaki
“Once Upon a Time in Anatolia,” Turkey, Nuri Bilge Ceylan
“Melancholia,” Denmark-Sweden-France-Germany-Italy, Lars von Trier
“Michael,” Austria, Markus Schleinzer
“Pater,” France, Alain Cavalier
“Polisse,” France, Maiwenn
“The Skin That I Inhabit,” Spain, Pedro Almodovar
“Sleeping Beauty,” Australia, Julia Leigh
“La Source des femmes,” France-Belgium-Italy, Radu Mihaileanu
“This Must Be the Place,” Italy-France-Ireland, Paolo Sorrentino
“The Tree of Life,” U.S., Terrence Malick
“We Have a Pope,” Italy-France, Nanni Moretti
“We Need to Talk About Kevin,” U.K.-U.S., Lynne Ramsay

“Arirang,” South Korea, Kim Ki-duk
“Bonsai,” Chile, Cristian Jimenez
“The Day He Arrives,” South Korea, Hong Sang-soo
“Where Do We Go Now?,” France-Lebanon, Nadine Labaki
“Halt auf freier Strecke,” Germany, Andreas Dresen
“Hors Satan,” France, Bruno Dumont
“The Hunter,” France-Russia, Bakur Bakuradze
“Les Neiges du Kilimandjaro,” France, Robert Guediguian
“L’exercice de l’Etat,” France, Pierre Schoeller
“Loverboy,” Romania-France-Serbia-Sweden, Catalin Mitulescu
“Martha Marcy May Marlene,” U.S., Sean Durkin
“Miss Bala,” Mexico, Gerardo Naranjo
“Restless,” U.S., Gus Van Sant (opener)
“Oslo, August 31st,” Norway, Joachim Trier
“Skoonheid,” South Africa-France-Germany, Oliver Hermanus
“Tatsumi,” Singapore, Eric Khoo
“Trabalhar cansa,” Brazil, Juliana Rojas, Marco Dutra
“Toomelah,” Australia, Ivan Sen
“The Yellow Sea,” South Korea, Na Hong-jin

“The Beaver,” U.S., Jodie Foster
“The Artist,” France, Michel Hazanavicius
“The Conquest,” France, Xavier Durringer
“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” U.S., Rob Marshall

“Wu Xia,” China, Peter Chan Ho-sun
“Days of Grace,” Mexico, Everardo Gout

“Labrador,” Denmark, Frederikke Aspock
“Le Maitre des forges de l’enfer,” Cambodia-France, Rithy Panh
“Michel Petrucciani,” France-Germany-Italy, Michael Radford
“Tous au Larzac,” France, Christian Rouaud