Cannes Critics’ Week Unveils Full Lineup of 56th Edition

PARIS – The Cannes Film Festival’s Critics’ Week, the parallel section dedicated to first and second films, will open this year with “Sicilian Ghost Story” from Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza, the Italian directing duo whose debut, “Salvo,” won the Grand Prize in 2013.

Speaking to Variety, Critics’ Week’s topper Charles Tesson described the film as a “Romeo and Juliet” tale set against the contemporary backdrop of the Sicilian mafia world. The film weaves together teen drama, crime thriller and supernatural elements, Tesson said.

“Sicilian Ghost Story” follows a young woman who refuses to cope with the disappearance of her lover and, guided by her visions, strives to break the prevailing omerta code of silence.

Echoing Cannes’ official selection, the lineup of this 56th edition of Critics’ Week will have a definite political edge.

One of the most politically charged works to compete at Critics’ Week is an animated feature, Ali Soozandeh’s “Tehran Taboo,” which delivers an uncompromising snapshot of life in Teheran, a city where basic civil liberties are banned, corruption is rampant and women are oppressed.

Another rare choice for Critics’ Week is Emmanuel Gras’ documentary feature “Makala,” which follows the life of a family man in Congo.

Critics’ Week, whose previous edition saw Julia Ducournau make waves with “Raw,” will also showcase the feature debut of another French helmer, Léa Mysius, whose film “Ava” charts the summer of a teenager, played by up-and-coming actress Noée Abita, who learns how to contain her personal demons, take up challenges and find love.

Through the tale of this young girl, “Ava” says something about a generation facing the fear of a bleak future, said Tesson.

Other films set to compete include Gustavo Rondón Córdova’s “La Familia,” about a father and his estranged son wandering across Caracas after fleeing their dangerous suburb; Marcela Said’s (“The Summer of Flying Fish”) “Los Perros,” about the consequences of the Pinochet dictatorship on Chilean society and the prevailing hypocrisy; Atsuko Hiranayagi’s “Oh Lucy!”, a bittersweet comedy about three Japanese women, an American friend and a Japanese one embarking on a trip between Japan and the U.S. The movie toplines Josh Hartnett and Yakujo Kôji (“The Eel by Imamura”). Also competing is Brazilian director Fellipe Gamarano Barbosa’s “Gabriel and the Mountain,” which captures a young idealist’s journey to Africa.

Critics’ Week will close with Dave McCary’s heartfelt comedy “Brigsby Bear,” which world premiered at Sundance and was described by Tesson as a light and tender homage to cinema. The film toplines “Star Wars'” Mark Hamill as a father who has given his son a crippling love for film which can only be cured by making movies. Acquired by Sony Pictures Classics at Sundance, “Brigsby Bear” toplines Kyle Mooney, a regular cast member of “Saturday Night Live” who also co-wrote the movie with Kevin Costello.

Along with “Sicilian Ghost Story,” Hubert Charuel’s “Bloody Milk,” a genre-bender set in a French farming community, and Thierry de Peretti’s “A Violent Life,” an ultra-realistic film about the political radicalization of a man in Corsica, will get special screenings at Critics’ Week.

Tesson said both “Bloody Milk,” which he described as a Hitchcockian thriller set in the farming world, and “A Violent Life” started off with a documentary-like realism and drifted towards genre.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • on day 3 of the London

    Barbara Broccoli, Richard Curtis Team With Passion Pictures, HTYT Films on Paralympics Documentary

    Oscar-Winning British production company Passion Pictures is teaming up with James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli and filmmaker Richard Curtis on a new feature documentary about the Paralympic Games. The project, currently titled “Harder Than You Think” brings together Passion’s John Battsek with producer Greg Nugent of HTYT Films, with Broccoli and Curtis both serving as [...]

  • Tribeca Film Insitute's PitchNY Program Now

    Tribeca Film Institute's Fourth Annual PitchNY Program Kicks Off (EXCLUSIVE)

    College students and recent alumni in New York can apply to Tribeca Film Institute’s 4th annual PitchNY program, an effort to help young, diverse directors, producers and writers fine-tune their pitching skills, as well as to connect them with entertainment industry professionals who will serve as mentors. On Thursday, Tribeca Film Institute announced that applications [...]

  • La-camarista

    ‘The Chambermaid’ Cleans Up in the U.S.

    SANTIAGO, Chile — Call it the “Roma” effect but Mexican newcomer Lila Aviles’ engaging portrait of a hotel servant, “The Chambermaid” (“La Camarista”) has found outstanding reception in the U.S. and in multiple territories, giving hope to other arthouse films from Latin America and elsewhere that seek distribution in “fortress America.” “‘Roma’ was a beautiful, brawny and [...]

  • Beograd 20.03.2012 Milutin Petrovic, reditelj, scenarista,

    Lost Script by ABC Studios Editor Turned Into Movie and Series 'Bad Blood'

    An ambitious new Serbian feature film and 10-part television series set in the Ottoman Empire of the 19th century has emerged from a long lost script by a former editor at ABC Studios in New York City. Belgrade-based This and That Productions is producing “Bad Blood,” based on the works of renowned Serbian writer Borisav [...]

  • Gael Garcia Bernal on the Power,

    Gael Garcia Bernal on the Power, Responsibility of Cinema to ‘Provoke’

    Gael García Bernal said acting for the likes of Oscar winners Alejandro González Iñárritu and Alfonso Cuarón helped groom him for the director’s chair and praised cinema as “the only medium” that allows artists to “explore the gray areas” in unparalleled ways. “The world is so full of certainties now, and cinema is the one that [...]

  • Gareth Jones

    Samuel Goldwyn Films Takes North American Rights to Berlin Competition Title 'Mr Jones'

    Samuel Goldwyn Films has taken North American rights on Agnieska Holland’s “Mr. Jones,” it announced Thursday. The period thriller debuted in competition at the Berlin Film Festival in February. Set on the eve of the Second World War, “Mr. Jones” stars James Norton as the eponymous character, an ambitious young journalist who travels to Moscow [...]

  • Live Action Mulan

    China Uses Disney's 'Mulan' to Attack Hong Kong Protests

    Although Twitter and Facebook have taken steps to stop what they say is a Chinese state-backed misinformation campaign about the anti-government protests in Hong Kong, similar content from suspicious accounts continues to proliferate widely, some of it co-opting Disney‘s new “Mulan“ to try to discredit the demonstrators. At the same time, China‘s government-controlled media are [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content