Cannes Chief on 2013 Line-Up

Screen International, April 18, 2013 | Go to article overview

Cannes Chief on 2013 Line-Up


Some 1,858 features were submitted to the festival this year. Surprises include first Dutch picture in competition in 38 years.Click here for the full line-up

Speculation over Cannes Film Festival's Official Selection reached its usual fever pitch this week but aspects of artistic director Thierry Fremaux's freshly announced line-up confounded even the shrewdest of festival watchers.

The selection announced this morning [Apr 18] contains films rumoured unready, one picture reportedly not available for competition and a host of un-tipped outsider titles.

"We've aimed for a selection which is joyous and generous, full of first-timers as well as confirmed auteurs, re-discoveries and surprises... you'll find people whose presence will surprise you and others whose presence will reassure. There are lots of filmmakers who arrive in Official Selection for the first time and plenty who have presented films at Cannes before," said Fremaux in his opening remarks at the announcement conference taking place at the UGC Normandie Cinema on the Champs Elysées in central Paris.

He noted that 1,858 features had been submitted to all the sections between June 1, 2012 and April 17, against 1,670 in 2009 and 1,769 last year.

Competition

Just two of the 19 films in competition are by former Palme d'Or winners: Steven Soderbergh's colourful Liberace bio-pic Behind the Candelabra and Roman Polanski's Venus in Fur. Polanski's 1971 Jackie Stewart bio-doc Weekend of a Champion will also be presented in a special screening.

Soderbergh, who won the Palme d'Or in 1989 for Sex, Lies and Videotapes, had not originally wanted Behind the Candelabra to screen in competition, revealed Fremaux.

"Steven wanted to screen out of competition but we convinced him to show the film in competition for the quality of his work and also because, as you know he has announced it is his final film... given that his first feature was shown and feted here with the Palme d'Or we thought it was another good reason to invite it to competition. We said, 'Say yes!' and his reply was 'Yes'," recounted Fremaux with a smile.

Soderbergh and Polanski are joined by a host of films by other competition returnees: Nicolas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives; Ethan and Joel Coen's Inside Llewyn Davis; Arnaud Desplechin's Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian); James Gray's freshly re-titled The Immigrant (formerly Lowlife); Chadian Mahamat-Saleh Haroun's Grigris; Jia Zhangke's A Touch of Sin; Takeshi Miike's Shield of Straw; Alexander Payne's Nebraska, which had also been reported unfinished;and Paolo Sorrentino's La Grande Bellezza.

"We saw Nebraska, the day before yesterday (April 16). Alexander just didn't know if it would be ready in time, " Fremaux told ScreenDaily after the news conference.

Fremaux was unapologetic over the high percentage of so-called Cannes 'habitués'.

"People always comment that there are a lot of 'habitués' in the selection," he said. "It's true, and even I don't really like the term 'habitués' all I can say is that we love having these so-called 'habitués', these important auteurs, come back with their latest artistic works. …

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