Directors’ Fortnight plans festivities

Program of events to mark 40th anniversary

Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight Thursday unveiled a series of events to celebrate its 40th anniversary, including a grand soiree on May 18 during the fest and a world tour of pics that have featured in the event over the years.

The tour kicked off Friday in Athens and Thessaloniki, Greece, where a retrospective of Fortnight films plays until April 16.

The focus is very much on the films themselves but there will also be a film about the Directors’ Fortnight, Olivier Jahan’s “40 x 15.”

“It was very important to show again films by Werner Herzog, Jim Jarmusch, the ‘70s classics, but also to take the opportunity to reflect about what is our mission now concerning new auteurs and what is the singularity of the Fortnight itself,” event’s artistic director Olivier Pere said.

A second showcase, entitled “The Quinzaine’s Great Films,” will screen April 16-29 at the Action Christine theater in Paris, before being seen in Rome from June 4 and Buenos Aires in September.

Films making the Paris cut include Herzog’s “Aguirre: The Wrath of God” and Jarmusch’s “Stranger than Paradise.”

Celebrations at Cannes Festival itself take place largely on May 18, which, before the soiree, features the screening of “40 x 15,” with guests including Stephen Frears, William Friedkin and Manoel de Oliveira.

Robert Kramer and John Douglas’ “Milestones,” which screened there in 1975, will unspool at Cannes on May 19.

A product of U.S. militant indie cinema, it is often regarded as one of the best films cult helmer Kramer ever made — Pere calls it “a masterpiece.”

Never released in France, it will finally get a release in France via boutique distrib Capricci Films, Pere said.

Further selections of Directors’ Fortnight films screen in New York starting June 20; the Melbourne Festival (July 25-Aug. 10); Manila, Philippines, during its Cinemanila Fest (Aug. 8-21); Beirut (Aug. 28-Sept.7); Seoul, South Korea (September); Poitiers, France (starting Sept. 11); Corsica’s Porto-Vecchio (Nov.21-23); and Bucharest, Romania, in November.

Directors’ Fortnight was born out of protests during the turmoil of 1968 by Francois Truffaut, Jean Luc Godard and others when the French government tried to oust film preservation and restoration pioneer Henri Langlois from the French Cinematheque, the body he founded in 1936. He died in 1977.

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