Sex on the side at Cannes

Directors Fortnight about 'discovering new talent'

See lineupThis article was corrected on May 4, 2003.

PARIS — Francois Da Silva, the new artistic topper of the Cannes Film Festival sidebar Directors Fortnight, is expected to unveil a lineup today featuring sex and surprises — with a promising 24 world premieres out of 25 films.

The U.S. is repped by “Bright Leaves,” a personal docu criticizing the tobacco industry by Ross McElwee, in a geographically even spread of pics from most parts of the world.

Underground Brazilian helmer Julio Bressane’s explicit “A Love Movie,” in which a man and two women perform an array of sexual acts while expounding on the nature of desire, will join Vincent Gallo’s officially selected “The Brown Bunny” in upping the Cannes scandal quotient.

“Films about desire have been done time after time, but what is interesting is if they say something new, or something old in a new way,” Da Silva told Daily Variety. Since taking over the sidebar from ousted artistic director Marie-Pierre Macia after last year’s festival, Da Silva has made it his credo to restore its credibility as an alternative to the main festival.

“We are not in competition with the main selection, I am not interested in the same films,” he said. “Directors Fortnight should be about discovering new talent, unearthing films that push the boundaries. We must have that role.”

No preconceived notions

An outsider to Paris’ film establishment, the former Marseilles arthouse programmer says he chose the pics without preconceived notions of what should or shouldn’t be included.

“The selection reflects my culture as a cinephile. It was as if somebody gave me money and said go out and buy a selection of DVDs to show to your friends. Only in this case, I’ve had six months to travel the world and bring back all the films I liked, free of any constraint. Twenty of them don’t even have French distributors.”

The sidebar will open with “The Woman Who Thought She Was the President of the United States,” a musical satire by Joao Botelho, which takes a shot at American democracy.

Other pics come from established filmmakers like “Notting Hill” director Roger Michell, with “The Mother,” or the Romanian helmer Lucian Pintilie, whose “Nicky” is a biting comedy about the problems in Romanian society. Newcomers include the Moroccan helmer Narjiss Nejjar, whose first film “Dry Eyes” is about prostitution in a poor Berber community.

The tone of the selection ranges from comedies such as “Kitchen Stories,” an off-the-wall Norwegian comedy by Bent Hamer, whose black comedy “Eggs” was a previous Directors’ Fortnight choice, to first-time helmer Georgina Willis’ controversial “Watermark,” banned in its native Australia because it contains an infanticide.

‘Singular film’

French pics include Claire Doyon’s “Les Lionceaux,” described by Da Silva as “a quite singular film about sensations.” “Sansa,” by Siegfried, stars Roschdy Zem as a man wandering from country to country, while theater director Eugene Green’s “Le Monde Vivant” is set in the Middle Ages but features actors in modern dress.

Portuguese helmer Jose Alvaro Morais’ “Lent,” a family drama, was shot in Da Silva’s hometown of Covilha.

The special screenings include Maurice Pialat’s “L’enfance Nue.”

Asian films in the lineup include the Japanese gangster film “Gozu” by cult Asian director Takashi Miike making his first appearance at Cannes.

The full lineup, including short films, comes from 28 countries.

DIRECTORS FORTNIGHT entries

Features

“Dry Eyes,” Narjiss Nejjar, Morocco
“Bright Leaves,” Ross McElwee, U.S.
“La Chose Publique,” Mathieu Amal-ric
“Deep Breath,” Parviz Shahbazi
“A Love Movie,” Julio Bressane, Brazil
“Gozu,” Takashi Miike, Japan
“La Grande Séduction,” Jean-Francois Pouliot, Canada
“The Hours of the Day,” Jaime Rosales, Spain
“The Island,” Constanza Quatriglio, Italy
“James’ Journey to Jerusalem,” Ra’anan Alexandrowitz
“A Little Bit of Freedom,” Yavuz Yuksel, Germany
“The Lion Cubs,” Claire Doyon, France
“The Living World,” Eugène Green, France
“The Mother,” Roger Michell, U.K.
“The Woman Who Thought She was the President of the United States,” Joao Botelho, Portugal
“Nicky,” Lucian Pintilie, Romania/France
“No Pasaran, Album Souvenir,” Henri-Francois Imbert, France
“Oussama,” Siddiq Barmak, Afghanistan/Japan
“No Rest for the Good,” Alain Guiraudie, France
“Des Plumes dans la Tete,” Thomas de Thier, Belgium/France
“Lent,” José Alvaro Morais, Portugal
“Kitchen Stories,” Bent Hamer, Norway
“Sansa,” Siegfried, France
“The Silence of the Forest,” Didier Ouénagaré and Bassek Ba Kobhio, Cameroon
“Watermark,” Georgina Willis, Australia

Special Screenings

“L’enfance Nue,” Maurice Pialat
“Interstella 5555,” Leiji Matsumomo and Daft Punk
“Mike Brant laisse moi t’aimer,” Erez Laufer, Israel/France
“No hay tierra sin dueno,” Sami Kafati, Honduras
“Saltimbank,” Jean-Claude Biette, France

Short Films

“Joan of Arc of the Night Buses,” Kornel Mundruczo, Hungary
“Castanhao,” Eduardo Valente, Brazil
“In the Black Forest,” Josephine Flasseur, France
“Do You Have the Shine?,” Johan Thurfjell, Sweden
“Entropy,” Jérome Thomas, France
“Frikasé,” Martin Krejci, Tcheque Republic
“The God,” Konstantin Bronzit, Russia
“In the Beginning was the Look,” Bady Minck, Luxemburg/Austria
“Nasu: A summer in Andalucia,” Kitaro Kosaka, Japan
“Small Steps,” Thomas Salvador
“A Small Service,” Antoine Pereniguez, France
“Polden,” Alexander Lamakin, Russia
“When the Wind Weaves Flowers,” Bania Medjbar, France
“My Virginity Flows Through her Body,” Park Jong-woo
“Slaves of the Lord,” Hadar Friedlich, Israel
“Sunday, the Gospel According to Liftman Alberta,” Arunas Matelis, Lithuania
“Drought,” Dalibor Matanic, Croatia
“Unit #52,” Tony Krawitz, Australia

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