Danish director Lars von Trier is returning to the Cannes fold with his serial-killer drama “The House That Jack Built” after seven years of banishment from the festival, while Terry Gilliam’s long-gestating, problem-plagued “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” is set to close the event, organizers announced Thursday. Both films will screen out of competition.
Cannes also added two sophomore outings to the competition lineup – Yann Gonzalez’s “Knife + Heart” and Sergei Dvortsevoy’s “The Little One” – plus Palme d’Or winning filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “The Wild Pear Tree.” “Whitney,” Kevin Macdonald’s documentary on singer Whitney Houston, has been set as a Midnight Screening, as has HBO’s new adaptation of “Fahrenheit 451,” directed by Ramin Bahrani and starring Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon – the latest television project to screen at Cannes.
Artistic director Thierry Fremaux had hinted that von Trier would return to the Croisette during a radio interview earlier this week. Fremaux said Cannes president Pierre Lescure had “really worked hard over the past few days to remove this persona non grata status which [von Trier] received seven years ago,” after the filmmaker called himself a Nazi during a press conference for “Melancholia.”
Lescure and Fremaux consulted the festival’s board, whose members include “The Artist” director Michel Hazanavicius and French distributor Victor Hadida, on the decision to reinstate von Trier.
The director had apologized at the time for his shocking remarks on Hitler and the Nazis, calling them “completely stupid.” He also vowed to stop attending press conferences, and declared that his persona non grata status was “something a rebel like me can treasure.”
Earlier this year, von Trier was forced to deny allegations by singer Bjork that she had been harassed by “a Danish director” on the set of “Dancer in the Dark,” which he directed. Meanwhile, von Trier’s Zentropa production company sidelined co-founder Peter Aalbaek Jensen in December in the wake of sexual harassment allegations, then reinstated him shortly after looking into the claims.
“The House That Jack Built” stars Matt Dillon, Riley Keough, Bruno Ganz and Uma Thurman. Set in Washington State, the film charts the life and crimes of a serial killer over a 12-year period.
Gilliam’s “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” which has been 20 years in the making, will world premiere May 19 and be released in France the same day. The former Monty Python member last had a project in Cannes in 2009, with “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.”
“Don Quixote,” starring Adam Driver and Stellan Skarsgard, has earned a reputation for being the most disaster-plagued production in cinema history. Accidents on set, unexpected illnesses and financial problems have delayed or canceled production several times. The film was recently at the heart of a legal spat between Gilliam and “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’s” former producer Paulo Branco. When unveiling most of Cannes’ official lineup last week, Fremaux spoke about the film’s legal troubles and suggested it could be added to the slate later. “This movie – as well as others – is in a conflict that’s been brought to the courts,” Fremaux said.
Turkish director Ceylan won the Palme d’Or with “Winter Sleep” in 2014. His eighth feature, “The Wild Pear Tree,” centers on an aspiring writer who returns to her native village in rural Turkey but becomes overwhelmed by her father’s debts.
“Knife + Heart” is a French thriller starring Vanessa Paradis, Nicolas Maury, Kate Moran, Jonathan Genet and Romane Bohringer. The film is set in Paris during the summer of 1979 and follows Anne, a famous producer of gay porn films, who attempts to win back the love of her ex-girlfriend by shooting her most ambitious film, only to find herself caught in the trap of a ruthless serial killer.
Kazakh director Dvortsevoy’s “Tulpan” won the Un Certain Regard prize in 2008. “The Little One” follows the journey of a Kyrgyz girl searching for the child she abandoned in a Moscow-based maternity ward.
Cannes has also added Ukrainian auteur Sergei Loznitsa’s anticipated “Donbass,” which will open Un Certain Regard. Loznitsa’s last three films “My Joy,” “In the Fog” and “A Gentle Creature” world premiered at Cannes in competition. Two new titles added to Un Certain Regard are Argentine helmer Alejandro Fadel’s “Muere, Monstruo, Muere” and João Salaviza and Renée Nader Messora’s “The Dead and the Others.”
The Cannes Film Festival takes place May 8-19.