[FSR Retro] Fosse to Fuller: The Ultimate Cannes 1980 Preview

Editor’s Note: This article was part of our April Fools 2010 project, in which our site was transported back to April 1, 1980. To see all of the retro articles written for this event, please visit our April Fools 2010 Homepage.

The 1980 Cannes Film Festival will be held from May 9-23. This year features an onslaught of highly anticipated films from proven filmmakers who certainly aren’t strangers to the festival. Here’s a brief overview of some of the feature narrative films in this year’s competition:

All that Jazz (dir. Bob Fosse) Fosse’s (Lenny, Cabaret) latest is a semi-autobiographical tale of a famous dance choreographer. The director is rumored not to pull any punches here, as his doppelganger Joe Gideon (Jaws‘ Roy Scheider) gives an angry performance of frequent womanizing, drug-using, cutthroat competition, and, of course, dancing. Jessica Lange costars.

Being There (dir. Hal Ashby) Ashby has been on a roll with his past few films. From The Last Detail to Shampoo to Coming Home, Ashby seems to understand the dwindling counterculture in an authentic, unique way, standing out in a cinematic landscape filled with countercultural American filmmakers. The film is a passion project from Peter Sellers, and in it he aims to display his little-appreciated dramatic chops. The Ashby-Sellers combination sounds too potent to miss.

The Big Red One (dir. Samuel Fuller) Fuller’s highly-anticipated WWII epic is also the director’s semi-autobiographical dream project, a chronicle of an infantry similar to Fuller’s when he served in the war and filmed his experiences. The film stars Lee Marvin as the infantry leader and Mark Hamill and Robert Carradine play two of the many young cadets in the ensemble.

Kagemusha (dir. Askira Kurosawa) For his 28th feature film (executive-produced by George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola), the nearly blind Kurosawa reportedly made colorful, detailed paintings to establish the vision of the film rather than utilizing conventional storyboards. This methodical approach looks like it may have paid off, as Kagemusha – about a thief who is recruited to stand in for a medieval Japanese emperor after his death – is a dreamlike, color-saturated vision of epic proportions, showing that the veteran director’s imagination has only become more pronounced with age. The film stars Kurosawa regular Tatsuya Nakadai.

Mon oncle d’Amérique (dir. Alain Resnais) If one thing is certain, it’s that there’s nothing certain about the films of Alain Resnais. Anything from Muriel to La guerre est finie to Last Year in Marienbad have exhibited distinctly disparate styles and narratives. He’s unpredictable and versatile, and his latest is a story built upon the abstraction evolutionary psychology, a fictional case study detailing the implementation of Henri Laborit’s theories on a nuclear family.

Out of the Blue (dir. Dennis Hopper) Hopper’s directing career has been sporadic and uneven, from the profound countercultural rallying cry that was Easy Rider to the odd self-indulgent pretense of The Last Movie. They’re as unpredictable as his tumultuous, party-filled personal life. The actor-director’s latest chronicles a young woman’s difficulty dealing with her ex-convict biker father (Hopper) and a drug-addicted mother.

Stalker (dir. Andrei Tarkovsky) It was recently leaked that Tarkovsky’s secretive project would, appropriately, be this year’s ‘secret film.’ Stalker is Tarkovsky’s return to science-fiction after 1972’s Solaris, and takes place in a dystopian future where men are hired to lead lost souls through the mysterious forbidden Zone, a place where one’s innermost desires are realized. The synopsis suggests a story of apparitional nightmares similar to his thematic exploration of the genre in Solaris. Based on a novel by Boris and Arkadi Strugatsky, Stalker is one of several must-sees at this year’s fest. Tarkovsky doesn’t make films often, but when he does they’re an event not to be missed.

Other films in competition include:

‘Breaker’ Morant – Bruce Beresford

The Beloved – Michel Bouchard

Bye Bye Brasil – Carlos Diegues

Constans – Krzysztof Zanussi

Le chaînon manquant – Picha

Dedicatoria – Jaime Chávarri

Ek Din Pratidin – Mrinal Sen

Fantastica – Gilles Carle

Jaguar – Lino Brocka

Kaltgestellt – Bernhard Sinkel

The Long Riders – Walter Hill

Loulou – Maurice Pialat

Poseban tretman – Goran Paskaljevic

Salto nel vuoto – Marco Bellocchio

Sauve qui peut (la vie) – Jean-Luc Godard

Une semaine de vacances – Bertrand Tavernier

La terrazza – Ettore Scola

Örökség – Márta Mészáros

American actor Kirk Douglas will be heading this year’s jury along with British production designer Ken Adam, French filmmaker Robert Benayoun, Yugoslavian filmmaker Veljko Bulajic, French actress Leslie Caron, American film critic Charles Champlin, Belgian filmmaker André Delvaux, Italian screenwriter Gian Luigi Rondi, Canadian producer Michael Spencer, and french producer Albina du Boisrouvray.

Landon is a PhD candidate currently finishing a dissertation on rock 'n' roll movies at Indiana University's department of Communication and Culture.

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