French films rule Cannes’ Fortnight

Twelve of the 22 pics are Gallic productions

Josh Safdie’s oddball, South by South West fest player “The Pleasure of Being Robbed,” about a happy-go-lucky clepto, will close Cannes’ 40th Directors’ Fortnight selection, announced Friday in Paris.

“Pleasure” is the sole U.S. film in this year’s lineup; there were five American movies last year.

French productions or co-productions reign supreme in the parallel section. There are five films by Gallic helmers; 12 of the 22 titles in the lineup drew French co-production coin, a testament to the country’s drive into producing overseas auteurs.

But U.S. helmers will still make a showing in the section’s 40th anni celebrations and tributes.

Jim Jarmusch, whose U.S. indie milestone debut “Stranger Than Paradise” played in the Fortnight in 1984 and went on to win Cannes’ Camera d’Or, will be on the Croisette on May 18 to pick up the Fortnight’s Carrosse d’Or.

Robert Kramer and John Douglas’ “Milestones,” which played in the Fortnight in 1975, will be rescreened at Cannes.

A product of U.S. militant indie cinema, and generally regarded as one of the best films Kramer ever made — Directors’ Fortnight delegate general Olivier Pere calls it “a masterpiece” — the film also embodies the concerns which explain the creation of the section.

Jarmusch, Todd Haynes, Spike Lee, Sofia Coppola and William Friedkin figure in Olivier Jahn’s “40 x 15,” a docu on the Directors’ Fortnight that screens May 19.

“U.S. film presence varies a lot each year. This time around, new countries’ films simply proved more exciting,” Pere told Daily Variety.

New countries include, most prominently, some in Eastern Europe. There are films from Poland — Jerzy Skolimowski’s opener, “Four Nights With Anna”; Russia, repped by Bakur Bakuradze’s pickpocket drama “Shultes”; Slovakia, which contributes Juraj Lehotsky’s docu “Blind Lovers”; and Romania, with Radu Muntean’s “Boogie.”

Beyond Skolimowski and Muntean, the section features new films from name directors including France’s Claire Simon, with mock documentary “Les Bureaux des Dieu,” about the controversial ease of abortion in France, and “Liverpool,” from Argentina’s Lisandro Alonso, hailed in arthouse circles for his studied, slow-moving minimalism.

As in the Official Competition, Spain and Latin America have a strong presence in the Directors’ Fortnight, with five productions overall.

The 40th Directors’ Fortnight runs May 15-25.

(Patrick Frater, Ali Jaafar and Nick Vivarelli contributed to this report.)

DIRECTORS’ FORTNIGHT
“Four Nights With Anna,” France-Poland, Jerzy Skolimowski (opener)
“The Pleasure of Being Robbed,” U.S., Josh Safdie (closer)
“Acne,” Uruguay-Spain-Argentina-Mexico, Federico Veiroj
“Aquele querido mes de agosto,” Portugal-France, Miguel Gomes
“Boogie,” Romania, Radu Muntean
“Les Bureaux de Dieu,” France, Claire Simon
“El Cant dels ocells,” Spain, Albert Serra
“De la guerre,” France, Bertrand Bonello
“Le Dernier Maquis,” France-Algeria, Rabah Ameur-Zaimeche
“Eldorado,” Belgium-France, Bouli Lanners
“Eleve libre,” Belgium-France, Joachim Lafosse
“Liverpool,” Argentina-France-Netherlands-Spain-Germany, Lisandro Alonso
“Monsieur Morimoto,” France, Nicola Sornaga
“Knitting,” China, Yin Lichuan
“Now Showing,” Philippines-France, Raya Martin
“Il Resto della notte,” Italy, Francesco Munzi
“Salamandra,” Argentina-France-Germany, Pablo Aguero
“Shultes,” Russia, Bakur Bakuradze
“Blind Loves,” Slovakia, Juraj Lehotsky
“Lonely Tune of Tehran,” Iran, Saman Salour
“Tony Manero,” Chile-Brazil, Pablo Larrain
“Le Voyage aux Pyrenees,” France, Jean-Marie Larrieu, Arnaud Larrieu

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