A Vintage Cannes Line-up
Speculation over the Cannes programme is something that excites the minds of the film community in a way only equalled by the debate over who will win an Oscar. Over the past few weeks, all kinds of rumours have grown over what delights might lie in store for Nanni Moretti and his jury. Would Terrence Malick make a swift return to the Croisette one year after The Tree of Life, might the new Wong Kar Wai possibly see the light of day?
There have been a steady trickle of announcements in recent days. We were told that the Festival will open on May 16 with Wes Anderson's all-star 1960s teenage romance Moonrise Kingdom featuring, among others, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton and our very own Tilda Swinton. We also discovered that Claude Miller's version of Therese Desqueyroux starring Audrey Tautou will close the Festival on May 27. Miller completed the film shortly before his death earlier this month and the Cannes screen will serve to commemorate a remarkable career that included a Cannes Jury prize for his atmospheric thriller La classe de neige in 1998.
Suspense over the programme ended with the official announcement in Paris yesterday and on paper it looks like being a vintage Cannes Competition with an array of titles to make any cineaste drool in anticipation. The great Michael Haneke returns with Amour/Love which also marks the return of veteran French actor Jean-Louis Trintigant who stars opposite Isabelle Huppert in the story of a woman who suffers a stroke whilst visiting her daughter. Huppert also stars in Hong Sang-Soo's In Another Country.
Marilyn Monroe might provide the striking image for this year's Cannes poster but Nicole Kidman looks like being the face of Cannes 2012. The Oscar-winning Aussie stars alongside Zac Efron and Matthew McConaughey in The Paperboy from Precious director Lee Daniels, an erotic thriller in which a journalist investigates a death row inmate's conviction in Florida. Kidman will also be seen as war correspondent Martha Gellhorn in Hemingway & Gellhorn from director Philip Kaufman.
It looks like a strong year for American cinema with other delights including Andrew Dominik's Killing Them Softly, a hardboiled crime thriller with Brad Pitt, John Hillcoat's prohibition drama Lawless with Shia LaBeouf and Jeff Nichols' coming of age tale Mud. There are new films from Kiarostami, Jacques Audiard, Carlos Reygadas, Matteo Garrone, Cristian Mungiu, ninety-year-old nouvelle vague veteran Alain Resnais, not to mention Walter Salles' long-awaited screen version of Kerouac's On the Road, David Cronenberg's take on Don DeLillo's Cosmopolis with Robert Pattinson and the return of Leos Carax with Holy Motors which co-stars Kylie Minogue.
Ken Loach flies the flag for Britain and for Scotland, working with his frequent screenwriting partner Paul Laverty on The Angels' Share, a little something to lift the spirits in which Robbie vows to build a better life for himself, his girlfriend and their newborn son. On a community service order, he meets other people struggling to find some hope for the future and unable to find work because of their criminal records. Could whisky production be just the opportunity they have been seeking? Promising newcomer Paul Brannigan heads a cast that includes William Ruane and Roger Allam. It opens in the UK on June 1.
Cannes 2012 does look like it might contain an abundance of great new films. Director's Fortnight and Critics' Week have still to announce their choices. Let's hope Scott Graham's Shell gets the chance to shine in Cannes next month.