Wish List: 12 Films That May Play Cannes 2011

This being my third Cannes Film Festival in a row, I feel I’m now in the privileged position to demand something of the festival in return for standing thanklessly in queues in the baking sun, and allowing my English Rose skin to wilt/burst into flames under the unforgiving French Riviera sun. So, with that in mind, below is a run-down of what I’d ideally like to see when I get to Cannes in May – along with a few reasonable predictions, based on what’s coming up.

Six Fantasy Picks

Okay, so they aren’t completely pie-in-the-sky fantasy picks, since they all either have the weight of rumour behind them, or have appeared at a festival already this year.

Tree of Life – Terrence Malick

Believe it or not, this was supposed to be shown last year, only to miss the deadline thanks to Malick’s legendary fastidiousness. A year on, it’s still not got a definite US or UK release date (which is often a sneaky indicator of a film’s inclusion), and the rumour mills gone literally a little bit wild over its potential appearance at the 64th festival. As with all of Malick’s projects though, it remains to be seen when it will be released since they usually come around as regular as solar eclipses.

The Rum Diary – Bruce Robinson

Part of me wishes that Pirates of the Caribbean 4 had been chosen as the Opening Film, but since that Depp-related opportunity window is now seemingly closed, I’d wager that Bruce Robinson’s Hunter S. Thompson adap is at least being strongly considered. And if not, I’d like to know why!

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey – Constance Marks

What better a way to turn the frowns of 2010’s sparkle-free Cannes-lite (which incidentally was nearly destroyed by a storm) than to charm the beejesus out of everyone attending. When it played at Sundance, this documentary about the man who regularly has his hand up the most charming of all the Sesame Street clan did just that, with the general feeling of blissful contentment in and around the Utah area officially disappearing off the charts. If it doesn’t show in Cannes, I will personally be very disappointed.

The Devil’s Double – Lee Tamahori

Politically important and made on a relative shoe-string of only 15,000,000 Euros it would certainly set tongues wagging on the Croisette, and having already ticked both the Sundance and Berlin boxes already, it wouldn’t be massively unreasonable to assume the film might score a hat-trick come May time.

A Dangerous Method – David Cronenberg

A film about psycho-analysts comparing notes. Could there be a more Cannes-perfect film than this? I really can’t see enough of Viggo Mortensen or incredibly talented Brit Michael Fassbender, so to see them together, and under Cronenberg’s direction as well will be high excitement indeed. Only rumoured because it has no release date yet, but I’m willing to grasp at that small glimmering chance. Oh, and it’s got Vincent Cassel in it, and the festival notoriously reserves extra space for their own industry natives.

The Impossible – Juan Antonio Bayona

Okay, so all I’m going on here is that the project has been officially classed as in post-production since November last year, but I did say this was Fantasy Picks after all. There is traditionally one grand epic-style title included in the line-up (2009 – Agora, 2010 – Robin Hood), and I think The Impossible fits the bill as a Special Screening contender for sure.

Six Fair Bets

Sundance and the other early year film festivals (like Berlin) are usually a fairly good early indicator for what will screen in Cannes, so there are a number of films that featured in Utah that are reasonable guesses to appear down France way as well. And let’s face it, there’s often more fun in gambling on what will be included than actually watching some of the banal dross that passes for intelligent arthouse cinema these days…

Tyrannosaur – Paddy Considine

Appeared at Sundance, and Considine and star Peter Mullen are European festival favourites, so you have to think there’s a chance.

Taxi Driver: Remastered – Martin Scorsese

Screened in Berlin, and since it is getting a re-release, in the same manner that Psycho did two years ago and African Queen did last year (both of which screened in the Cannes Classic section in their respective years) I’d bet my most favourite body parts on it.

The Skin That I Inhabit – Pedro Almodovar

Apparently already in according to those in the know. And who am I to argue? Excitingly, this looks to be an intelligent, art-house version of Hostel, if such a thing were actually possible. I guess we are all about to find out.

Melancholia – Lars Von Trier

If it’s finished in time and to Von Trier’s exacting (and utterly bonkers) standards, it will be included. Simple as that.

Cleanskin — Hadi Hajaig

The production team confirmed to ObsessedWithFilm that they would be appearing out in Cannes, but whether this is just to sell, or to screen wasn’t as easily extracted. But, I think this ones got Cannes written all over it.

Restless – Gus Van Sant

Another that has been chalked in as a dead cert already in certain circles (including the UK’s Guardian newspaper, which is one of the only dailies that occasionally gets things right). Van Sant’s also a past winner of the coveted Palme d’Or, along with Lars Von Trier, and everyone knows there isn’t a director in the world wouldn’t sell their grandparents to get a second shot at such a big fish.

And 6 Further Unsubstantiated Predictions

  • The Grandmasters – Wong Kar-wai
  • We Need To Talk About Kevin – Lynne Ramsay
  • The Deep Blue Sea – Terence Davies
  • The Guard – John Michael McDonagh
  • For Ellen – So Yong Kim
  • The Loneliest Planet – Julia Loktev

No matter what actually screens, there’s bound to be a heady mix of mainstream cinema, excellent foreign films, insightful documentaries and boring beard-strokers that aren’t actually all that entertaining, but which noone will bad-mouth for fear of appearing terribly low-brow. I won’t be sharing that sentiment when I land in France- and I seriously hope that the festival organisers use this year’s line-ups as an opportunity to thumb their noses at those who sneered at the toned-down festivities of last year’s 63rd festival.

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