2017 is the 70th anniversary of the Cannes International Film Festival, and it’s already shaping up to be a classic. As ever, there is a lot to take in, so here's a quick preview of some of the most exciting films to look forward to. There are a total of 19 films in the mix for the Palme d'Or this year as part of the Official Selection Competition and with a jury led by Spanish director, writer and producer Pedro Almodóvar, it's going to be a prestigious year to win.
The rest of the jury includes Jessica Chastain, Fan Bingbing and Will Smith, so there are a few familiar faces in and among the international producers, directors, screen writers and composers that will also be deciding on the winner. This includes Maren Ade, Agnès Jaoui, Parc Chan-wook, Paulo Sorrentino and Gabriel Yared.
The opening night film is Out of Competition drama, Ishmael’s Ghost, starring Marion Cotillard and Charlotte Gainsbourg. The French film tells the story of a filmmaker dealing with the return of a former lover on the eve of her latest project, setting the scene pretty well for the rest of the festival.
It's never easy to try to second-guess Cannes, especially with Pedro Almodóvar as the jury president, but there are a few bigger name films in contention for the prize. Topping the list is Sophia Coppola's The Beguiled, starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning. It centres on the arrival of a Union soldier at an all-female boarding school during the American Civil War as tensions and dangerous rivalries inside the building mirror those on the outside.
Impressively, Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman are also in on the action for the second of the big contender films, The Killing Of A Sacred Dear by Yargos Lanthimos. With its own take on sinister youth and reprisal, it tells the story of a surgeon who befriends a teenage boy with terrible consequences.
Another film with a big-name cast is Noah Baumbach's The Meyorowitz Stories (New and Selected), which stars Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman. It looks at the gathering of an estranged family in New York, and it's the first of two Netflix films to make it into the 2017 Cannes Official Selection Competition.
Getting further into the list, Michael Haneke has turned his attention to the European refugee crisis in Happy End, a French drama set in Calais; Ben and Josh Safdie focus on the life of a bank robber in their crime drama Good Time, starring Robert Pattinson, Barkhad Abdi and Jennifer Jason Leigh; and Tom Hains looks at New York runaways in Wonderstruck, starring Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams.
Amazon Studios has also got a film in contention for the Palme d'Or with Lynn Ramsay's You Were Never Really Here. It features a plot that tackles war veterans and sex trafficking with Joaquin Phoenix leading the cast.
The second of the two Netflix films to make it into the Official Selection is unconventional action-adventure, Okja, by South Korean director, Bong Joon-Ho. It's got some high profile names attached to it with Jake Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton, Lily Collins, Paul Dano and Giancarlo Esposito in the cast. The left-field story is about a young girl's attempt to protect a massive animal called Okja from a multinational company looking to exploit it. The film combines both English and Korean language to blur the lines between English and international films.
There are still a fair few of the latter in the official selection too, including four more French dramas comprising of 120 Beats Per Minutes by Robin Campillo, Redoubtable by Michel Hazanavicius, Rodin by Jacques Doillon, and François Ozon's The Double Lover. There's also German drama, In The Fade, directed by Fatih Akin, starring Diane Kruger in the lead.
Moving further afield, there's South Korean drama The Day After directed by Hong Sangsoo, Japanese film Radiance by Naomi Kawase, Ukrainian drama A Gentle Creature directed by Sergei Loznitsa, and Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó's Jupiter’s Moon.
The list is completed by Swedish drama, The Square, by Ruben Östlund in a story about a museum manager trying to make a name for his exhibition space, along with Russian drama, Loveless, directed by Andre Svyagintsev, which tells the story of a couple going through a divorce who must work together to find their son.
The 2017 Official Selection seems to be an impressive collection of films, giving cinefiles a lot to keep them busy over the coming months as they’re released following their premier at Cannes. It’s going to be fascinating to find out which one captures the imagination of Pedro Almodóvar and the rest of the jury the most when the Palme d’Or is announced at the Closing Ceremony on Sunday 28th May.
At 70, it’s incredible just how big the festival has become and 2017 looks set to be another huge celebration of the year’s best auteur cinema under the glare of the French Riviera. Maybe septuagenarians do have the most fun. ...
Friday 17th March, 8:00pm at The Fleapit, #westerham Ten Canoes
"Ten Canoes," an Aborigine fable set in three periods, spanning the present to prehistory, doesn't just address the eternal verities of myth -- love, jealousy, hatred and those other moral hallmarks of humankind. It's also cheekily aware of its contemporary audience.
Sometimes all it takes to bridge the chasm of eons is a little humor. - Desson Thomson
Gulpilil is the canny, subtle and funny narrator of 10 Canoes, a film of unutterable beauty, hypnotic fascination and universal humanity. - Richard Nilsen ...
Tomorrow at The Fleapit 8:00pm Aguirre, Wrath of God Vernier Herzog's internationally acclaimed cult classic starring Klaus Kinski as Aguirre, who leads a group of conquistadores down the Orinoco and Amazon River in South America in search of the legendary city of gold, El Dorado. Using a minimalist story and dialogue, the film creates a vision of madness and folly, counterpointed by the lush but unforgiving Amazonian jungle.
"a colour-drenched, violently physical moving painting" ...
PAPADOPOULOS & SONS Written & directed by Marcus Markou
We are delighted that Marcus Markou will be joining us this afternoon to introduce our Finale film, Papadopoulos & Sons screening at 5:00pm. Marcus both wrote and directed the film and is looking forward to introducing the film and holding a Q&A session afterwards.
This promises to be an enjoyable finale and a great opportunity to speak to the director, who’s blog, written during the making and release of the film, is considered by most to be the definitive “How to…” when it comes to financing and making an Indie film.
We look forward to welcoming you this afternoon, Lets make it a finale to remember... ...