Preview - Cannes Film Festival

Preview - Cannes Film Festival

It’s the time of year when all cinematic eyes and ears perk judicially to the part of the world that Graham Greene labelled “a shady town for shady people” (he was actually talking about Nice, but hey that’s close enough): I am of course talking about the Cannes Film Festival. The small seaside town that for two weeks of the year the world focuses on (after the World Cup more people are accredited here than any other event).

I write this preview actually after seeing the first film (Woody Allen’s Café Society), but needs must (an overview will follow post festival).

I always feel in the lead up to the announcement of the Official Selection in early April kinda disappointed, a kin to how you would expect a child to feel post-Christmas Eve when they have been showered with gifts but they still sulk for the missing present that in fact does not exist. Then the closer to May gets the more excited I get and when finally here, it is very much like an ADHD afflicted child who’s had too much sugar.

Here are my films to look at for when they are finally released in the coming months.


I, Daniel Blake (Ken Loach)

After claiming he had retired after his last feature film Cannes veteran Ken Loach returns to the Croisette with his latest film. As timely as perhaps only he can do I, Daniel Blake looks at the nightmare of Conservative welfare cuts and how they affect the titular hero. A beautiful riposte to Cameron & Co’s rehetoric of ‘striver and skiver’ duality.

The Neon Demon (Nicolas Winding Refn)

After premiering Drive here in 2011 and winning the Best Director prize Nicolas Winding Refn has become the staple for louche controversy, especially since Lars Von Trier’s continued absence from the festival. His latest sees him trying to redefine the modern horror film. Set in the world of aspiring models in LA and a group of beauty obsessed older women. Expect astounding visuals and transcendent violence set to Cliff Martinez’s electronic symphonies.

Elle (Paul Verhoeven)

Another returning hero is Dutch helmer Paul Verhoeven. He hasn’t been at Cannes since Basic Instinct opened the festival in 1992 and made Sharon Stone a star. His first film since 2006’s Black Book, Elle is sure to set tongues wagging and even a few dummies to be spat out. Starring Isabelle Huppert as Michele a ruthless business woman who’s life is changed when she is raped in her own home by a masked intruder. She attempts to track him down and they enter a psychological game of cat and mouse.

American Honey (Andrea Arnold)

Again we have a returning auteur, this time Andrea Arnold; who appears in Competition for the third time. American Honey is her first film since 2011’s Wuthering Heights and her first set outside the UK. American Honey focuses on Star, a troubled teenager from a broken home who runs off with a traveling sales crew. Expect sex, drugs and Shia Labeouf.

Paterson (Jim Jarmusch)

Norm core comes to town for Jim Jarmusch’s latest: Paterson. The singular presence of Paterson thrives in repetition that masks the underbelly of poetry in the everyday. Adam Driver stars alongside Iran star Golshifteh Farahani as his wife in this slice of affected hipsterdom.

Mademoiselle (Park Chan-Wook)

After 2013’s English language debut from Korean master Park Chan-Wook heads home with a twist. Mademoiselle is an adapation of the Sarah Waters novel Fingersmith, that has already been filmed for UK television in 2005. This time set in 1930s Korea, Chan-Wook promises sexual intrigue and theft (of hearts and property).

Out Of Competition

The Nice Guys (Shane Black)

Shane Black directs the dual nice guys: Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe as 1970s denizens of LA who must work together to solve the case of a missing girl and the seemingly unrelated death of a porn star. Expect an ode to the Shamus that harks back to Black’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and his scripts for the orginial Lethal Weapon and the underrated Last Of The Boy Scouts.

Gimme Danger (Jim Jarmusch)

With this documentary about rock ‘n’ roll icons The Stooges Jarmusch becomes only the second filmmaker (after Richard Linklater to have two films in the official selection).

Un Certain Regard

Transfiguration (Michael O’Shea)

Michael O’Shea’s debut feature which was only sent to the Cannes selectors on a dare focuses on a 14 year bullied outsider who escapes reality in an abandoned building populated by Vampires.

Hell Or High Water (David McKenzie)

Fresh off the excellent Starred Up David McKenzie heads to the US for the tale of the effect of the financial crisis on a family of farmers who decide to rob banks.

Director’s Fortnight

Raman Raghav 2.0 (Anurag Kashyap)

If you associate Indian Cinema with garish Bollywood musicals think again. Raman Raghav 2.0 takes place in modern day Mumbai and follows the life of serial killer Ramanna whi is inspired by the actions of a serial killer from the 60s: Raman Raghav.

Risk (Laura Poitras)

After her Oscar winning look at Edward Snowden; Citizenfour she returns to similar ground with an unmasking of his predecessor; Julian Assange.

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