The Competition selection also includes new works from Catherine Breillat and Todd Haynes.
The cinephile equivalent of Christmas morning, with its attendant mix of excitement and flatly fulfilled expectations, has come once again. That charge in the air you’re feeling signals the announcement of the Official Selection for the Cannes Film Festival, led by their Competition lineup of marquee titles from the customary murderers’ row of world-renowned auteurs.
A handful had already been confirmed, most buzzworthy among them Killers of the Flower Moon, which will occasion director Martin Scorsese’s first appearance on the Croisette in decades. He won’t be in Competition, however, presumably due to Apple’s reluctance to release their big-ticket title right to French cinemas after the festival, as is Cannes law. Among his fellow johnny-come-earlies were Pedro Almodóvar (with the Western short Strange Way of Life), Wes Anderson (unveiling the spacefaring adventure Asteroid City), James Mangold (whose Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny will fulfill the obligatory Hollywood tentpole out-of-Comp spot previously held by Top Gun: Maverick), and Maïwenn (for the out-of-Comp Opening Night pick Jeanne du Barry, which has shoveled heaps of coal into the controversy furnace by bringing Johnny Depp to the festival).
But this morning belongs to the big reveals, some previously tipped for inclusion in Competition and others coming in out of nowhere. We’d prepared for Todd Haynes’ off-kilter romance May December, Jessica Hausner’s school-set psychodrama Club Zero, and Catherine Breillat’s daring erotic drama L’Été Dernier. Here at Little White Lies HQ, we’re pleasantly surprised by the appearance of Competition newcomer Ramata-Toulaye Sy with the Senegalese production Banel and Adama, Wang Bing with the rare documentary to break into the big dance (it’s called Jeunesse, doubling the Bing at this year’s Cannes with the Special Screening pick Man in Black), and the long-absent Jonathan Glazer with The Zone of Interest, his first feature in nearly ten years.
This year’s Competition slate has been filled out by the usual arthouse suspects, such past Palme winners as Hirokazu Kore-eda, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, and Ken Loach all making their way back to the site of their past victory. A solid chunk of the lineup boasts at least one past Competition appearance, from Marco Bellochio to Nanni Moretti, with a goodly handful of exceptions: Green, Glazer, Sy, Bing, and Un Certain Regard alumni Tran Anh Hung, Karim Ainouz, and Kaouther Ben Hania. (Nowhere to be seen are the rumored Yorgos Lanthimos, Bertrand Bonello, and Bruno Dumont, past friends of the fest.)
But the Official Selection entails more than just Competition, the curtain having been pulled back on the Un Certain Regard sidebar and Special Screenings. The latter includes works from Steve McQueen (Occupied City, his documentary about Amsterdam under Nazi occupation during World War II) and Wim Wenders (with a doc about artist Anselm Kiefer, pulling double duty with the Comp pick Perfect Days). Meanwhile, UCR collects an array of filmmakers slightly farther from the radar, most notable among them Warwick Thornton (with The New Boy, starring Cate Blanchett) and Molly Manning Walker (whose daringly-titled How To Have Sex has already raised an eyebrow or two).
More announcements will trickle in over the next couple of weeks, but a couple trends have already presented themselves, most encouraging among them a bumper year for female filmmakers. Sy, Hausner, Ben Hania, Breillat, Alice Rohrwacher, and Justine Triet all made it to Competition, their number raising the ratio a bit higher than usual while still falling a ways short of gender parity. Cannes head honcho Theirry Fremaux has long been vocal about his belief that his selections should be informed only by merit, with no considerations to diversity or equity — all the same, heartening to see.
Published 13 Apr 2023
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