Cannes Completes 2015 Official Selection Lineup

valley-of-love-gerard-depardieu-isabelle-huppert
Image Courtesy of Le Pacte

Michel Franco’s “Chronic” and Guillaume Nicloux’s “Valley of Love” will get a shot at the Palme d’Or, Gaspar Noe’s “Love” will receive a midnight screening, and Naomi Kawase’s “Sweet Red Bean Paste” is set to open Un Certain Regard at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival, it was announced on Thursday.

One week after the lineup was initially unveiled in Paris, festival delegate general Thierry Fremaux completed the official selection with the whopping addition of nine films: two in competition; five in Un Certain Regard; one in midnight; and one in Special Screenings. The last-minute jockeying for position — with several films reportedly in play for a limited number of berths — suggests an even more complicated, down-to-the-wire selection process than usual.

The official selection will present 53 features in total, with the competition and Un Certain Regard unspooling 19 titles apiece. In the end, Fremaux and his screening committee opted to introduce some new blood to the competition while positioning several regular Palme contenders — including Noe, Kawase, Brillante Mendoza and Palme laureate Apichatpong Weerasethakul — in noncompeting slots.

Fest-goers can expect Gerard Depardieu and Isabelle Huppert on the red carpet for Nicloux’s “Valley of Love” (pictured above), in which they play two famous actors who reunite in Death Valley after the death of their son. Nicloux joins Jacques Audiard, Maiwenn, Valerie Donzelli and Stephane Brize in an even stronger-than-usual showing for French films in competition.

“Chronic,” an English-language drama from Mexican helmer Franco, will be the sole competition title from a Latin American director this year. The film toplines Tim Roth, who was president of the Un Certain Regard jury that awarded its top prize to Franco’s “After Lucia” (2012).

Kawase, who was in competition last year with “Still the Water,” will kick off Un Certain Regard with “Sweet Red Bean Paste,” adapted from the novel “An” by Japanese author Tetsuya Akikawa. She will be joined in the sidebar by two other Asian auteurs: Thai helmer Weerasethakul with his latest dreamlike odyssey, “Cemetery of Splendor” (formerly titled “Love in Khon Kaen”), and Filipino director Mendoza with “Taklub,” about the aftermath of the Yolanda typhoon disaster in 2013.

Also set to screen in Un Certain Regard are “Lamb,” a coming-of-ager from Yared Zeleke that marks the first time an Ethiopian film has been in the official selection; and Jose Luis Rugeles’ “Alias Maria,” a vision of Colombia’s armed conflict as seen through the eyes of a young (and pregnant) girl soldier. Rugeles’ film opened Colombia’s Cartagena fest in March.

Noe, who was previously in competition with “Irreversible” (2002) and “Enter the Void” (2009), has been given a midnight screening for his latest, “Love,” a sexually explicit love triangle that would appear to have all the makings of a classic Cannes scandale.

Special Screenings will host the 19th feature directed by France’s Robert Guediguian, “Une histoire de fou,” a timely drama about a young Frenchman of Armenian origin who bombs a Turkish ambassador’s car, injuring a bystander in the process.

Absent from Thursday’s announcement, though they were by all accounts in the running, were Terence Davies’ “Sunset Song” and Aleksandr Sokurov’s “Le Louvre sous l’Occupation,” which will presumably surface on the fall festival circuit.

The Cannes Film Festival runs May 13-25.

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  1. Chris L. says:

    The Davies omission needs investigating. It might be barely possible that the film isn’t up to standards, but given the other whimsical selections and placements by Fremaux, some form of unsavory politicking seems likely to blame. If “Sunset Song” wins Venice as some observers have suggested, it will join “Vera Drake” and “Brokeback Mountain” among Cannes’ most embarrassing blind spots this century.

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