Cannes Film Festival 2010 preview

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The Cannes Film Festival starts this week, with directors including Mike Leigh, Woody Allen and Oliver Stone ready to let loose their new films on the world. Dave Calhoun previews cinema’s greatest annual jamboree

Last year’s Cannes set a tough precedent. The 20 directors up for the Palme d’Or included heavyweights such as Pedro Almodóvar, Quentin Tarantino, Jane Campion and Lars von Trier. The top prize went to Michael Haneke’s ‘The White Ribbon’, while Jacques Audiard’s ‘A Prophet’ took the Grand Prix, the festival’s second-best prize. In short, it was a vintage Cannes.

This year looks different. Some giants of cinema, such as Abbas Kiarostami and Mike Leigh, will present new films at the festival and other big anglophone names such as Oliver Stone, Ridley Scott and Woody Allen will show work out of competition. But there are many lesser-known global directors competing for the Palme d’Or, such as Chad’s Mahamat Saleh-Haroun, Ukraine’s Sergei Loznitsa and Hungary’s Kornél Mundruczó. Moreover, there are other directors who one might expect to be in competition, like China’s Jia Zhangke, France’s Jean-Luc Godard and Romania’s Cristi Puiu, who will instead present work in a tantalising Un Certain Regard, the festival’s second strand. In short, we should expect some surprises.

As ever, Time Out will be at the festival, reviewing films daily at www.timeout.com/film. Keep checking back over the next two weeks to share the discoveries – and disappointments – of the world’s greatest celebration of cinema.

Stephen Frears’s ‘Tamara Drewe’

The British director of ‘Dirty Pretty Things’, ‘The Queen’ and, most recently, ‘Chéri’ has a varied taste in scripts. This time the 68 year old has opted for an adaptation of Posy Simmonds’s literary comic strip which used to appear each week in the Saturday Guardian and was later turned into a book. Gemma Arterton, fresh from ‘Clash of the Titans’ and ‘The Disappearance of Alice Creed’, plays the title role, while her co-stars include Dominic Cooper and Roger Allam. The film is screening out of competition at the festival, where in 2007 Frears was head of the Cannes jury that awarded the Palme d’Or to the Romanian film ‘4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days’.Read our review from May 19

Mike Leigh’s ‘Another Year’

Mike Leigh, the only British director competing for the Palme d’Or (until Ken Loach's 'Route Irish' was added to the competition line-up at the eleventh hour), gathers a familiar cast – Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen, Lesley Manville and Peter Wight – plus several new and younger faces, for his first film selected by Cannes since ‘All or Nothing’. Sheen and Broadbent play a happy couple who bear the burden of friends and family members’ more troubled lives. In 2004 Cannes rejected 67-year-old Leigh’s ‘Vera Drake’ (it went on to win Venice’s Golden Lion), but he had already won the festival’s directing prize for ‘Naked’ in 1993 and the Palme d’Or for ‘Secrets and Lies’ in 1996. Read our review from May 15

Alejandro González Iñárritu’s ‘Biutiful’

The Mexican director’s fourth film, following ‘Amores Perros’, ‘21 Grams’ and ‘Babel’, sees him parting ways with writer Guillermo Arriaga and recruiting Javier Bardem to star in this Spanish-set story about a criminal confronted by a cop who was once a friend. Iñárritu’s first three films employed split narratives and disjointed chronologies with diminishing returns. It will be interesting to see what a new direction brings. Read our review from May 17

Mahamat Saleh Haroun’s ‘A Screaming Man’

It’s rare for an African film to compete for the Palme d’Or, which will only increase the anticipation for this film from the Chad-born, Paris-based director of ‘Abouna’ and ‘Daratt’. The film tells of a man who loses a job in a hotel and faces a dilemma when the authorities demand that he gives them money or manpower to help the civil war.Read our review from May 17

Abbas Kiarostami’s ‘Certified Copy’

The Iranian director decamps to Italy for this story of a British author and French gallery owner (Juliette Binoche) who meet in a Tuscan village and spend several hours together. Kiarostami’s recent films, including ‘Shirin’ and ‘Five’, have been formally experimental, so it’s unlikely he has wandered too far into the mainstream.Read our review from May 18

And five more...

Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s ‘Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives’

The 39-year-old Thai is best known for ‘Tropical Malady’ and ‘Syndromes and a Century’. His latest film is an extension of a recent short film.

Cristi Puiu’s ‘Aurora’

This Romanian’s second film, ‘The Death of Mr Lazarescu’, won a Cannes prize in 2005. Puiu steps in front of the camera for this murder story, shot in Bucharest.

Woody Allen’s ‘You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger’

Woody Allen is no stranger to Cannes – but never allows his films to compete. His latest is his fourth film set in London and stars Naomi Watts and Antonio Banderas.

Jean-Luc Godard’s ‘Film Socialisme’

The irascible, 79-year-old French new-waver has been off the scene since 2004’s ‘Notre Musique’. Little is known about this other than that it takes place on a cruise ship and features Patti Smith.

Oliver Stone’s ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’

Stone’s update of his 1987 film was to be released last month but has shifted to September, allowing for a Cannes premiere.

Author: Dave Calhoun


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