Cannes Film Festival 2016: The films that will dominate conversations at the fest
From star vehicles to prestige projects and indie gems, these are a few of the films that Cannes conversations will be all about in the days to come
As the curtains rise on the 69th edition of the Cannes Film Festival – being held from 11-22 May this year – there’s plenty of excitement over the movies that will be screened both in and out of competition. Shrugging off talk that he’s put together a list of “the usual suspects”, festival director Thierry Fermaux has presented a line-up that has star-power fuelled movies, noted filmmakers’ prestige projects and smaller, obscure cinema as well.
The jury this year is headed by director George Miller, whose Mad Max: Fury Road had a very triumphant screening indeed at Cannes just last year. Miller will be joined by Kirsten Dunst, ‘Hannibal’ star Mads Mikkkelsen, Donald Sutherland, Vanessa Paradis, Katayoon Shahabi, Laslo Nemes (of Son of Saul fame), Arnaud Desplechin and Valeria Golino on the jury.
Here are a few of the films that Cannes conversations are going to be all about over the days to come:
The BFG by Steven Spielberg
In the 1980s, Spielberg had premiered both E.T. and The Color Purple at the Cannes Film Festival. Now, he returns with The BFG. It’s among the big films being screened out of competition at Cannes. Based on the 1982 book by Roald Dahl, The BFG (short for Big Friendly Giant) is Spielberg’s first live action 3D film. The story follows an young orphan named Sophie who is kidnapped by BFG to help him on a mission to rid the world of evil giants.
Money Monster by Jodie Foster
Sure, we’ve seen George Clooney and Julia Roberts come together for a film before. But not one that was directed by Jodie Foster. Foster has ventured onto thriller turf yet again for Money Monster, which depicts a TV host for a financial show and his producer (Clooney and Roberts, respectively) being held hostage by an enraged, unstable investor. Plenty edge-of-the-seat action is promised in the trailer.
Loving by Jeff Nichols
From the realm of fantasy and thrillers, we move on to an emotional drama about an interracial couple being jailed in 19650s Virginia after they get married. Directed by Jeff Nichols, Loving stars Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga in the lead roles. Nichols’ previous films like Midnight Special and Mud have earned him lots of kudos, so it’s a fair guess that Loving too will be well accepted.
Woody Allen’s Café Society
The auteur may have had a shaky innings in the recent past with the reception to his films, but there’s still a huge level of excitement about an Allen movie opening Cannes. This is the third time a Woody Allen film is opening the festival – and Café Society, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Blake Lively and Kristen Stewart already seems like it’ll be a charming watch. The Eisenberg-Stewart pairing is one that was particularly appealing in Adventureland, and in Café Society, set in 1930s Hollywood, their chemistry seems enhanced by the vintage setting.
Personal Shopper by Oliver Assayas
Café Society isn’t the only film we’ll be seen Kristen Stewart at Cannes in. She returns with Oliver Assayas’ Personal Shopper – a “ghost story set in the Parisienne fashion underworld” – which is in the running for the prestigious Palme d’Or. The Stewart-Assayas collaboration last year had given us the Clouds of Sil Maria, which earned Stewart a prestigious César award (the only American actress to have won one). It seems realistic to expect that this time too, similar magic will be created.
Shane Black’s The Nice Guys
Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling star as “the world’s worst detectives” in this Shane Black film, being screened out of competition at Cannes. The setting is ’70s LA, the two detectives are on the trail of a missing girl, and the film has the kind of humour Black has displayed a penchant for in his previous films like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3.
American Honey by Andrea Arnold
This Shia LaBeouf-Sasha Lane starrer is a road movie in the reckoning for a Palme d’Or.
Pedro Almodovar’s Julieta
Adriana Ugarte and Emma Suarez feature in this film, playing the younger and older versions of the title character. Almodovar’s film is based on three short stories from Alice Munro’s 2004 book Runaway. While it has already released in Spain, the international premiere of the film will take place at Cannes, where it also vying for the Palme d’Or. Julieta depicts the emotional state of its title character after her 18-year-old daughter runs away from home.
The Handmaiden by Park Chan-wook
Based on Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, The Handmaiden is a South Korean production that follows the affair of an heiress with a petty thief. “Evocative”, “hypnotic” and “freaky” are just some of the adjectives that have been used to describe the trailer for this Park Chan-wook film, and the trailer shows that they’re all deserved.
The Unknown Girl – Dardenne Brothers
The film is quite the prestige project – not only has it been helmed by the Dardenne brothers, it also stars César winning actress Adèle Haenel in the lead role. The story follows a doctor who wants to find out the identity of a young woman who dies after she is refused surgery. The Unknown Girl is in competition for the Palme d’Or.
It’s Only the End of the World by Xavier Dolan
It’s Only the End of the World has made it to pretty much every “must-watch-at-Cannes” list, no doubt due to its poignant premise – a writer revisits his family after several years to inform them that he is dying.
Jim Jarmusch – Gimme Danger and Paterson
Jarmusch has two very compelling films being screened at Cannes. Paterson starring Adam Driver, is the one a lot of people are talking about, but that doesn’t make Gimme Danger – which is about Iggy Pop and The Stooges – any less of a must-watch.