Cop­pola, Kid­man, vir­tual re­al­ity join Cannes lineup

The Commercial Appeal - - Sunday Break - AN­GELA CHARLTON AND JILL LAW­LESS

PARIS - A Civil War film by Sofia Cop­pola, a Ukrainian road movie and a drama about AIDS ac­tivism are among the 18 films com­pet­ing for top prizes this year at the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val, an in­ter­na­tional cin­ema ex­trav­a­ganza that or­ga­niz­ers hope can help counter ris­ing na­tion­al­ist sen­ti­ment around the world.

Fes­ti­val di­rec­tor Thierry Fre­maux and Pres­i­dent Pierre Les­cure on Thurs­day an­nounced a lineup that in­cludes Cannes’ first vir­tual-re­al­ity en­try, tack­les top­ics from an­i­mal cru­elty to the mi­grant cri­sis and of­fers four chances to see Ni­cole Kid­man on­screen.

Con­tenders for the top Palme d’Or prize at the 70th Cannes fes­ti­val in­clude Cop­pola’s spooky Civil War drama “The Beguiled,” star­ring Kid­man and Kirsten Dunst; Amer­i­can di­rec­tor Noah Baum­bach’s fam­ily saga “The Meyerowitz Sto­ries,” star­ring Dustin Hoff­man, Ben Stiller and Adam San­dler; and fel­low Amer­i­can Todd Haynes’ 1920s-set drama “Won­der­struck.”

Also aim­ing to im­press a com­pe­ti­tion jury headed by Span­ish di­rec­tor Pe­dro Almod­ovar are “Okja,”a fan­tasy thriller with an an­i­mal-rights theme by South Korea’s Bong Joon-ho star­ring Tilda Swin­ton; French di­rec­tor Michel Hazanavi­cius’ trib­ute to the French New Wave, “Le Red­outable”; sex-traf­fick­ing drama “You Were Never Re­ally Here” from Bri­tain’s Lynne Ram­say; and “The Killing of a Sa­cred Deer,” a thriller from Greek film­maker Yor­gos Lan­thi­mos star­ring Kid­man and Colin Far­rell.

Kid­man also ap­pears at Cannes in John Cameron Mitchell’s out-of-com­pe­ti­tion en­try “How to Talk to Girls at Par­ties” and in Jane Cam­pion’s TV crime drama “Top of the Lake.”

Aus­trian di­rec­tor Michael Haneke, a two-time Palme d’Or win­ner, re­turns with “Happy End,” whose ti­tle, Fre­maux noted, bears lit­tle re­la­tion to its con­tent.

French film­maker Robin Campillo’s “120 Beats Per Minute” looks at the rise of AIDS ac­tivism, while Fre­maux called Ukrainian di­rec­tor Sergei Loznitsa’s “A Gen­tle Crea­ture” a road movie “about the sit­u­a­tion of Rus­sia.”

In all, 49 films will be shown dur­ing the May 17-28 fes­ti­val, in­clud­ing out-of­com­pe­ti­tion en­tries and the side­bar com­pe­ti­tion “Un Cer­tain Re­gard.” Twelve of the films are by women — up from nine last year.

Di­rec­tor Ale­jan­dro G. Inar­ritu will be in Cannes with the vir­tual re­al­ity short film “Carne y Arena” (”Meat and Sand”), re­ported to be about mi­grants cross­ing the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der.

Fre­maux said it was “a beau­ti­ful film, you are shiv­er­ing when you come out of it.” He com­pared the won­ders of vir­tual re­al­ity to the won­ders un­leashed by cin­ema’s found­ing Lu­miere broth­ers more than a cen­tury ago.

Se­cu­rity will be tight for fes­ti­val, which is held just down the French coast from Nice, where an Is­lamic State group-in­spired truck at­tack killed 86 peo­ple in July.

Les­cure said se­cu­rity was “at its max­i­mum” in 2016 and “there were no se­ri­ous in­ci­dents.”

“I hope to see the same re­sults this year,” he said.

Global events will cast a shadow over Cannes’ fa­mous Croisette, the town’s pic­turesque seafront promenade, af­ter a year that has seen Bri­tain’s vote to leave the Euro­pean Union and the elec­tion of the un­pre­dictable U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

France will have a new pres­i­dent by the fes­ti­val’s open­ing night, with the fi­nal stage of the coun­try’s tworound elec­tion set for May 7.

In a re­flec­tion of chang­ing in­dus­try eco­nom­ics, sev­eral en­tries at Cannes this year were funded by Net­flix or Ama­zon. And this hal­lowed ground of cin­ema is also mak­ing room for tele­vi­sion, with pre­views of David Lynch’s re­vived “Twin Peaks” and a new se­ries of Cam­pion’s “Top of the Lake.”

Po­lit­i­cal doc­u­men­taries in­clude “An In­con­ve­nient Se­quel,” fol­low-up to Al Gore’s cli­mate-change movie “An In­con­ve­nient Truth”; Claude Lanz­mann’s film about North Korea, “Na­palm”; and ac­tress Vanessa Red­grave’s di­rec­to­rial de­but “Sea Sor­row,” about refugees and those try­ing to help them.

“Some­times peo­ple say the Cannes film fes­ti­val is very po­lit­i­cal,” Fre­maux said. “It’s not true. It’s not us, it’s not me — it’s cin­ema. The mak­ers are con­cerned about pol­i­tics.”

Fre­maux said he hopes the fes­ti­val can “look to the fu­ture” and hold “the prom­ise of liv­ing to­gether in har­mony.”

Law­less re­ported from Lon­don. Masha Macpher­son in Paris con­trib­uted.


Gen­eral Del­e­gate of the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val Thierry Fre­maux, left, and Cannes Film Fes­ti­val Pres­i­dent Pierre Les­cure present the lineup for the 70th Cannes Film Fes­ti­val in Paris.

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