The annual film carnival that is the Cannes Film Festival (now in its 61st year, it will be running from 14th to 25th May) announced its line up yesterday. As expected, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will be getting its world premiere, in the festival’s Out of Competition section.
High profile gala events aside (Woody Allen’s Vicky Christina Barcelona and Kung Fu Panda will also premiere out of competition), the focus is on the In Competition section.
Cannes likes to market itself as a long-running premiere destination for quality films, but they’re a sucker for star power as much as the next. A natural choice, then, is Changeling. Respectability is provided by director Clint Eastwood, red carpet glam is provided by lead star Angelina Jolie. John Malkovich also stars in this 1920s-set drama about a mother (Jolie) whose son is kidnapped, and when he returns, she becomes convinced he is not her son.
A no-doubt-intriguing addition is Synecdoche, New York, scripted and directed by Charlie Kaufman and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman (previous Correct Opinion article on this film here).
The sole other American entrant is Stephen Soderbergh, with Che. With a total run time of 4 hours, this will comprise both The Argentine and Guerilla, Soderbergh’s telling of two separate times in the life of Che Guevera, played by Benicio del Toro. The film has a very strong, decidedly international cast (Franka Potente, Edgar Ramirez, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Julia Ormond).
Having being accused of pandering to Hollywood in recent years, Cannes certainly has a diverse international bunch of directors in competition. Eyptian Atom Egoyan will be present with Adoration, and German director Wim Wenders returns with The Palermo Shooting. Joint directing credit for Linha de Passe goes to Brazilians Daniela Thomas and Walter Salles, who both co-directed a segment of Paris je t’aime also. The Dardennes brothers will be showcasing Le Silence de Lorna, their first feature film in three years.
This year’s jury is being presided over by Sean Penn, and includes Alfonso Cuaron, Natalie Portman and Alexandra Maria Lara (German actress from Control).
The potential winner of the Palm d’Or is still pretty open at this stage. While old hands such as Eastwood seem to collect awards as a hobby, the Cannes jury are nothing if not unpredictable. Whether “unpredictable” equals “right decision” remains to be seen.