As the Berlin International Film Festival winds to a close this Saturday, all eyes are beginning to turn to the Cannes Film Festival in mid-May – a 12-day event which will, along with India’s 70th anniversary of independence, celebrate its own seven decades of sparkling existence. Nobody can deny that Cannes has turned out to be the queen of all movie festivals – showcasing some of the finest of world cinema and offering the best ever market – facts that have left the other two major world film festivals, Berlin and Venice, far behind.
Even though the Cannes General-Delegate, Thierry Fremaux, has in his recently published book called Selection Officielle, let us peep into the enthralling process of picking movies for his festival, the lineup will remain a play of possibilities and conjectures. And this game of suspense is just exhilarating.
According to punters, the hot favourites among European auteurs are Happy End by Austria’s Michael Haneke, Loveless by Russia’s Andrey Zvyagintsev, A Gentle Creature by Ukraine’s Sergei Loznitsa, Thelma by Norway’s Joachim Trier , Superfluous Man by Hungary’s Kornel Mundruczo , The Square by Sweden’s Ruben Ostlund, and You Were Never Really Here by Scotland’s Lynne Ramsay.
From France, we may have Mektoub is Mektoub by Abdellatif Kechiche, Ismael’s Ghosts by Arnaud Desplechin, Jeannette by Bruno Dumont and The Workshop by Laurent Cantet.
The most significant American contenders are The Beguiled by Sofia Coppola, Wonderstruck by Todd Haynes, Radegund by Terrence Malick and Downsizing by Alexander Payne.
Then there is Japan’s Naomi Kawase with her Radiance and South Korea’s Hong Sang-soo with Claire’s Camera.
Also, there are whispers about The Killing of a Sacred Deer (hopefully not inspired by the great Indian blackbuck incident) by Greece’s Yorgos Lanthimos, Where Life is Born by Mexico’s Carlos Reygadas and Kings by Turkey’s Deniz Gamze Ergüven. Kings is based on the true story of Roman Polanski, who is still being haunted by the ghost of rape – a terrible incident that blotted his life many decades ago in the US. Lee Chang Dong may be on the Croisette (Cannes’s pretty beach front) with his mystery film, Burning, inspired by a work by Haruki Murakami.
Israel’s Foxtrot (by Samuel Maoz), Spain’s Abracadabra (Pablo berger), Polish title, Face (Malgorzata Szumowska), A Sort of Family (Argentina’s Diego Lerman) and His Master’s Voice by Hungary’s Gyorgy Palfi may join the Cannes race for the Palm dÓr -- to be decided by a jury headed by Spain’s flamboyant helmer, Pedro Almodovar.
In India, there is a a lot of hope that Cannes will celebrate the dual milestone with some fantastic Indian cinema.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran has covered the Cannes Film Festival for well over 25 years.)
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