The 50th edition of Directors’ Fortnight, the section running parallel to the Cannes Film Festival, will open with Colombian directors Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego’s “Birds of Passage.”
The lavishly shot “Birds of Passage,” which marks Guerra’s follow-up to his Oscar-nominated “Embrace of the Serpent,” takes place in Colombia in the 1970s, when the demand for marijuana hits Colombia, quickly turning farmers into seasoned businessmen. Unfolding in the Guajira desert, “Birds of Passage” follows a Wayuu indigenous family who take a leading role in this new drug trade and discover the perks of wealth and power but also encounter violence and tragedy.
Edouard Waintrop, who is serving his last turn as Directors’ Fortnight chief, said he was particularly happy to welcome back Guerra, who had presented “Embrace of the Serpent” in 2015. “‘Birds of Passage’ is a magnificent film and a powerful, epic mafia story filled with crime and treason,” said Waintrop.
“Birds of Passage” is one of the 17 features selected by Directors’ Fortnight out of 1,609 films submitted.
The lineup also includes Panos Cosmos’ “Mandy,” a genre film starring Nicolas Cage as a broken man tracking down an unhinged religious sect that killed the love of his life; Japanese animator Mamoru Hosoda’s “Mirai,” a fantasy-filled animated tale; Marie Monge’s “Joueurs,” a Paris-set tale of love and addiction starring Tahar Rahim and Stacy Martin; Guillaume Nicloux’s “Les Confins du Monde,” a drama with Gaspard Ulliel and Gerard Depardieu set during the wars in Indochina; Gaspar Noe’s “Climax,” about a group of urban dancers in the 1990s who succumb to madness after being mysteriously drugged; and Mohamed Ben Attia’s “Weldi” (“Dear Son”), about a Tunisian middle class couple who have high hopes for the future of their only son and discover that he’s left for Syria.
Debra Granik’s “Leave No Trace,” which world premiered at Sundance, is the sole U.S. feature slated to play Directors’ Fortnight.
“Last year we showed five American films, so this year we wanted to go another route, and we headed south with several Latin American films,” said Waintrop, who pointed to “Comprame un Revolver” by Julio Hernandez Cordon, a rising filmmaker born in the U.S. and raised between Mexico and Guatemala. Cordon’s credits include “I Promise You Anarchy,” which played at Locarno and San Sebastian, and “Marimbas From Hell,” which Waintrop had selected for the Fribourg Film Festival in 2011.
Waintrop also defied expectations and predictions with several French movies which were under most people’s radar, notably Romain Gavras’s “Le Monde Est à Toi,” a comedy with Vincent Cassel and Isabelle Adjani; and Pierre Salvadori’s “En Liberté.” Directors’ Fortnight will both train the spotlight on several newcomers, notably Monge with “Joueurs,” and showcase films by well-established helmers such as Philippe Faucon (with “Amin”), as well as Noe (with “Climax”) and Nicloux (with “Les Confins du Monde”) who have traditionally turned up in Cannes’ official selection.
“Mirai” will be the first Japanese animation film to world premiere at Cannes.
As previously announced, Martin Scorsese will receive the honorary Carrosse d’Or (Golden Coach) award at this year’s Directors’ Fortnight.
The full lineup of feature films for Directors’ Fortnight:
“Pajaros De Verano” (“Birds Of Passage”), Cristina Gallego, Ciro Guerra
“Amin,” Philippe Faucon
“Climax,” Gaspar Noé
“Carmen y Lola,” Arantxa Echevarria
“Comprame un Revolver,” Julio Hernandez Cordon
“Les Confins du Monde,” Guillaume Nicloux
“El Motoarrebatador,” Agustin Toscano
“En Liberté,” Pierre Salvadori
“Joueurs,” Marie Monge
“Leave No Trace,” Debra Granik
“Los Silencios,” Beatriz Seigner
“Ming Wang Xing Shi Ke De,” Ming Zhang
“Mandy,” Panos Cosmatos
“Mirai,” Mamoru Hosoda
“Le Monde Est à Toi,” Romain Gavras
“Petra,” Jaime Rosales
“Samouni Road,” Stefano Savona
“Weldi,” Mohamed Ben Attia