Preview: Acceptance in Cannes bestows prestige and honour
By Pauline Bugler May 15, 2007, 11:03 GMT
Cannes - All eyes will be on the 60th Cannes Film Festival when it opens its film theatres this week to cineasts, industry insiders and the media to launch the latest movies.
Two sections are of particular interest this year, namely Un Certain Regard starting May 17 and Tous les Cinemas du Monde, beginning May 19.
Created in 1978, Un Certain Regard focuses on current world cinema in a highly prestigious section, while Tous les Cinemas du Monde devotes itself to films from one country or continent.
This year, a jury headed by French director Pascale Ferran, whose movies include the 2006 Lady Chatterley, will bestow the Un Certain Regard Prize for best film on young talents and possibly an award on two other films for innovative and daring works.
And this year's range is truly global: three films by French directors, two Germans, a Swede, two Italians, a Spanish film, two by Latin American directors, two by US moviemakers and one each from Estonia and Romania.
The opening film is Chinese director Hou Hsiao Hsien's Le Voyage du Ballon Rouge (The Flight of the Red Balloon) starring French actress Juliette Binoche as a multi-tasking, single mother who hires a Taiwanese babysitter played by Song Fang to help look after her son Simon. The babysitter and boy share an imaginary world and are followed across Paris by a red balloon.
Other highlights in this section are likely to be Estonian director Kadri Kousaar's Magnus which tells the story of a teenager bent on committing suicide and whose father is willing to help him.
Italian entries include a comedy entitled La Reve de la Nuit d'Avant (Dreams of the Night Before) by award-winning director Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi and Daniele Luchetti's Mio Fratello e figlio unico (My brother is an only child).
A US comedy-drama entered in this section is Harmony Korine's Mister Lonely starring British actress Samantha Morton. A young American, played by Diego Luna, who works as a Michael Jackson lookalike, meets Marilyn Monroe (Samantha Morton). She invites him back to her commune in Scotland, where she lives with Charlie Chaplin (Denis Lavant) and her daughter.
The Tous les Cinemas du Monde section continues a tradition begun in 2005 and will devote two days to movies from India and one each to moviemakers from Lebanon, Poland, Africa, Colombia and Slovenia. The aim is to highlight the vitality and diversity of cinema across the globe in a range of features and shorts.
Bollywood films are the curtain-raiser in this section this year in celebration of the co-anniversaries of 60 years of India's independence and the 60th Cannes Film Festival.
Director Rajkumar Hirani's film, Laage Raho Munna Bhai will also screen. It tells the story of a goon nicknamed Munna who actually gets to meet his ladylove Jahnvi, a radio DJ, after winning a contest. A total of seven films in this category illustrate the changing face of Indian cinema.
A movie entitled Guru by director Mani Ratnam tells the story of a villager who arrives in Bombay in 1958. In true Hollywood style, it focuses on his rise from life on the streets to one of the biggest tycoon in the history of India.
At least four films from Lebanon are screening in the Tous les Cinemas du Monde section and include director Assad Foulad's Lamma Hikyit Maryam which focuses on the plight of a happily married couple in Beirut who remain childless after three years of marriage.
A movie by Ghassan Salhab tells the story of Le Dernier Homme (The Last Man) in which a Beirut-based doctor starts showing disturbing symptoms after making indirect contact with the victims of an alleged serial killer.
Eastern European cinema has not been overlooked in this section either with three Polish features and shorts and four Slovenian films.
The Polish films include the thriller Palimpest by director Konrad Niewolsk which depicts the plight of a police inspector, who is nearing a nervous breakdown trying to solve a complex case. Chaos by director Xawery Zulawski plus Co Stonko Widzialo by director Michal Rosa are other movies in this mini-festival.
Cannes has not excluded African countries either. Kenya's Riverwood film industry seek to make its presence felt on the world screen despite a dire lack of funds as do movies from Guinea and Angola.
A celebration of four African films, two from Guinea, one from Angola and one from Kenya include Mo & Me by directors Roger Mills Murad Rayani.
This movie shines the light on Salim Amin, son of Mohamed 'Mo' Amin, who goes on a journey of recollection and reflection. Director Gahite Fofana's Un matin bonne heure focuses on the motives of would- be, illegal immigrants to Europe.
Two young boys stow away on a flight to Europe after an unsuccessful search for work to help their impoverished families.
A third film in the Tous les Cinemas du Monde section is O Heroi by director Zeze Gamboa which tells the story of 20-year veteran of the Angolan civil war who returns home to the capital city of Luanda to face the challenge of a new life.
To tell the story of cinema would probably take a lifetime also.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur