Critics’ Week focuses on Europe

French co-productions dominate

After its strong Latino flavor last year, Cannes sidebar Critics’ Week largely focuses on European pics for its 47th edition.

France will make a particularly strong showing, thanks to its generosity with co-production coin, with involvement in three features and two shorts.

The selection, unveiled Thursday by artistic director Jean-Christophe Berjon, includes a host of pics by rising talent, including U.K. helmer Duane Hopkins’ frosh youth drama “Better Things” and German director Emily Atef’s soph outing, depressed mother’s tale “The Stranger in Me.”

“Apart from the focus on Europe, we also have a strong presence of first-time directors,” Berjon said.

Five of the seven competish features are first efforts.

No U.S. feature made the cut, though shorts include Jeff Vespa’s “Nosebleed.”

This year’s features competition allots several berths to helmers who have risen through Cannes ranks.

Aida Begic, who screened short “First Death Experience” in the Official Selection in 2002, competes with her feature debut “Snow,” a war-set tale of a mountain village cut off in winter.

Argentine Pablo Fendrik broke through at last year’s Critics’ Week with “El asaltante,” a one-hour film about a 60-year-old mugger. He returns in Competition this year with family drama “Blood Appears.”

Competition features are rounded out by Christophe Van Rompaey’s romantic comedy “Moscow, Belgium”; Anna Novion’s father-daughter situation comedy “Grown Ups”; and Valeria Gaia Germanica’s femme rights-of-passage pic “Everybody Dies But Me.”

Israeli opener “Les sept jours,” a dysfunctional-family drama, is helmed by Ronit Elkabetz and her brother Shlomi Elkabetz.

The Critics’ Week closer, Mexican Rodrigo Pla’s “The Desert Within,” topped the Guadalajara fest last month.

Another up-and-coming Mexican helmer, Fernando Eimbcke, will be awarded the Fipresci Revelation of the Year prize at Cannes for “Lake Tahoe” as part of Critics’ Week events.

A parallel section to Cannes’ Official Selection focusing only on first or second features and shorts, Critics’ Week runs May 15-23.

COMPETITION
“Better Things,” U.K., Duane Hopkins
“The Stranger in Me,” Germany, Emily Atef
“Everybody Dies But Me,” Russia, Valeria Gaia Germanica
“Grown Ups,” France-Sweden, Anna Novion
“Moscow, Belgium,” Belgium, Christophe van Rompaey
“Blood Appears,” Argentina-France-Germany, Pablo Fendrik
“Snow,” Bosnia-Germany-France, Aida Begic

COMPETITION SHORTS
“Next Floor,” Canada, Denis Villeneuve
“Skhizein,” France, Jeremy Clapin
“I Hear Your Scream,” Argentina-Paraguay, Pablo Lamar
“A Espera,” Brazil, Fernanda Teixeira
“Ergo,” Hungary, Geza M. Toth
“La copie de Coralie,” France, Nicolas Engel
“Noseblood,” U.S., Jeff Vespa

SPECIAL SCREENINGS
“Desierto adentro,” Mexico, Rodrigo Pla (closing films)
“Rumba,” Belgium-France, Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, Bruno Romy
“Les Sept jours,” Israel-France, Ronit Elkabetz, Shlomi Elkabetz (opening pic)

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