Cannes settles last-minute details

'The Beloved' set to close festival, which launches May 11

With the start of the Cannes Film Festival just 12 days away, organizers continued to slot in events and films on Thursday.

Christophe Honore’s “The Beloved” has been selected as the closing film of the fest, which has chosen Egypt as its first-ever guest country, while French film journo Charles Tesson will take the reins at Critics’ Week.

Tesson, who was selected as general delegate by the French union of film critics, will begin his three-year tenure early next year.

He succeeds Jean-Christophe Berjon, who’s been in the post since 2004.

A film critic and author, Tesson was editor-in-chief of French film monthly magazine Les Cahiers du Cinema from 1998-2003 and remains a contributor. He has penned books on leading auteurs including Luis Bunuel, Akira Kurosawa and Abbas Kiarostami.

Execs also announced that helmer-scribe Honore’s romantic drama “The Beloved” will play out of competition as the fest’s closer.

Intertwining love stories taking place in 1960s Prague and 1980s London, pic stars Catherine Deneuve, Ludivine Sagnier, Chiara Mastroianni, Milos Forman and Louis Garrel. Pic’s produced by Why Not Prods. and will be distributed in France by Paris-based Le Pacte on Aug. 17. Celluloid Dreams handles international sales.

Meanwhile, Cannes gets political with its tribute to Egypt, celebrating recent reforms in public life as well as the country’s long cinema history.

The main event is a screening of “18 Days,” shot on a shoestring by 10 filmmakers in the months following the country’s revolution on Jan. 25. Compilation brings together stories witnessed, heard or imagined by the filmmakers, who include Sherif Arafa, Yousry Nasrallah and Marwan Hamed.

The Egyptian lineup also features “Le Cri d’une fourmi” by Sameh Abdel Aziz and a new copy of Hussein Kamal’s 1968 movie “The Postman,” which plays in the Cannes Classics selection.

The fest also announced two special screenings with a militant flavor.

In “The Big Fix,” produced by Peter Fonda, documaker Josh Tickell covers the Gulf oil spill. “Plus jamais peur,” by Mourad Ben Cheikh, examines the Tunisian revolution.

(Ian Mundell in Brussels contributed to this report.)

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