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The 44th edition of the Cannes film festival’s Directors’ Fortnight will open with Michel Gondry’s new film The We And The I, it was announced by artistic director Edouard Waintrop at a press conference in Paris today.
The director of Be Kind Rewind and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind has used a currently unheard-of cast for his futuristic new film, which was shot in the Bronx, New York. It has been snapped up by Kinology, who are dealing with international sales.
The non-competitive strain of the festival – generally regarded as home to more independent-minded new works – first appeared at Cannes in 1969 as a reaction to the student riots a year before. In previous years, it has helped to launch the careers of Ken Loach and Michael Haneke.
Waintrop, the former director of Switzerland’s International Film Festival, unveiled a total of 21 features and 10 shorts to be screened this year, five of which are being screened for the first time.
Flying the flag for British cinema is Ben Wheatley, the Billericay-born director who made waves last year with his daring social-realist horror fusion Kill List; he looks set to repeat the trick with his “pitch-black comedy” Sightseers – in which Steve Oram and Alice Lowe play a couple on a murderous caravan tour of the British Isles. Afforded a special screening at Cannes, Sightseers is being produced by Big Talk productions, the long term-collaborators of Simon Pegg and Joe Cornish.
Other highlights include the special screening of La Noche de Efrente (The Night in Front), the 113th film of the late Chilean director Raul Ruiz, who passed away last August after a 48-year career in the industry.
Closing the fortnight is French director Noémie Lvovsky’s Camille Redouble, (Camille Rewinds), about a 40-year-old woman who revisits the year she first meets her long-term partner.
French animators Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar, directors of the madcap animation Panique Au Village (A Town Called Panic), who have joined Benjamin Renner to bring Ernest And Celestine to Cannes, an adaptation of Gabrielle Vincent’s children’s books and produced by animation-house Les Aramateurs, who bought Sylvain Chomet’s Triplets Of Belleville to the screen.
Representing the US is Rodney Ascher, whose documentary Room 237 examines the many conflicting analyses of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. The film premiered at Sundance earlier this year.
Other debut films include Colombia director William Vega’s La Sirga, which won the top prize at the Toulouse Cinelatino’s Films in Progress festival last month, and feature-length animation The King Of Pigs from South Korea’s Yeun Sang-Ho, which premiered at the Busan International Film Festival last year.
Other notable returnees are India’s Anurag Kashyap, with his epic gangster film Gangs of Wasseypur. His film Udaan was the first Indian film to be considered in the Official Selection in sixteen years when it screened in 2010. Iranian filmmaker Massoud Bakhshi will also premiere his semi-autobiographical first film A Respectable Family, which straddles the last 30-years of Iranian post-revolution history. Algerian director Merzak Allouache will also be returning to the French riviera for the first time in 16 years with Le Repenti, about an Islamic militant who agrees to lay down his arms.
The Director’s Fortnight runs from May 17–27.