The lineup of the 2012 Critics’ Week of the Cannes Film Festival, almost exclusively consisting of rookie filmmakers, was unveiled on the sidebar’s website on Monday evening in France.
The 51st edition opens on May 17 with the British feature “Broken,” by tyro helmer Rufus Norris. Pic stars Tim Roth and Cillian Murphy and is based on the novel by Daniel Clay, with music by Damon Albarn. The only Anglophone film in the selection, it will unspool out of competition.
The section’s competitive strand of seven features is made up entirely of debut films by male directors. Two films by Gallic femme helmers will unspool as special screenings, with thesp-turned-director Sandrine Bonnaire’s “J’enrage de son absence,” starring William Hurt, the only second feature of the lineup.
Critics’ Week artistic director Charles Tesson told Daily Variety that it was not the intention to present only debut features instead of the usual mix of first and second works, but that “the films themselves imposed this choice. All films are first features except for Sandrine’s, which is a second first feature in a way, since her first film was a documentary and her new film is fiction.”
The two special screenings, Bonnaire’s “J’enrage de son absence” and “Augustine,” from French frosh helmer Alice Winocour, “made sense as a pair,” Tesson said. They are not only directed by women but share “a very elegant classicism in their approach and are about the difficult relationship between a man and a woman.”
The competition has four European entries: “Aqui y alla” from Spanish helmer Antonio Mendez Esparza; docu “Sofia’s Last Ambulance” from Bulgarian helmer Ilian Metev and Francophone features “Hors les murs,” from Belgian director David Lambert, and “Au galop” from Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, like Bonnaire a French thesp-turned-director.
The selection is completed by Vasan Bala’s Indian thriller “Peddlers,” Argentinean feature “Los salvajes” from Alejandro Fadel and Meni Yaesh’s Israeli-French co-production “Les voisins de dieu,” which Tesson describes as a “theological action film.”
There’s no U.S. film in this year’s lineup — unlike last year when Sundance alumn “Take Shelter” was part of the selection — because “there just wasn’t any U.S. film that particularly stood out,” said Tesson. “However, the influence of American genre pics, from action films to westerns, can clearly be felt in several films,” he added, citing “Peddlers” and “Salvajes” as examples.
Overall, Tesson, a former editor-in-chief of “Cahiers du cinema” who took over the reins from former section topper Jean-Christophe Berjon in April, described the competition films as “titles that all look at the reality of the world we live in, though they use very different styles.”
The section’s closing film on May 25 as well as the members of the Critics’ Week jury will be announced at a later date.
“Aqui y alla,” Spain-U.S.-Mexico, Antonio Mendez Esparza
“Au galop,” France, Louis-Do de Lencquesaing
“Hors les murs,” Belgium-Canada-France, David Lambert
“Peddlers,” India, Vasan Bala
“Los salvajes,” Argentina, Alejandro Fadel
“Sofia’s Last Ambulance” Germany-Croatia-Bulgaria, Ilian Metev
“Les voisins de dieu,” Israel-France, Meni Yaesh
“Broken,” U.K., Rufus Norris — Opener
“Augustine,” France, Alice Winocour
“J’enrage de son absence,” France-Luxembourg-Belgium, Sandrine Bonnaire