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"An unexpected and exceptional selection"

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Edouard Waintrop • General Delegate, Directors’ Fortnight

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- Edouard Waintrop, General Delegate of the Directors’ Fortnight, breaks down his 2015 selection

Edouard Waintrop  • General Delegate, Directors’ Fortnight

We met up with Edouard Waintrop, the General Delegate of the Directors’ Fortnight, the 47th edition of which will take place from 14-24 May 2015 as part of the 68th Cannes Film Festival.

Cineuropa: How would you describe your 2015 selection (read the news)?
Edouard Waintrop: Unexpected and exceptional. For example, I’m flabbergasted to have inherited My Golden Years [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Arnaud Desplechin, which I consider to be the French film of the year. But it is also necessary to ensure a peaceful coexistence between new talents and recognised filmmakers, and the selection includes five debut films (three of which are by young women) – that is, more than last year. And even though he has already set a lot of tongues wagging, Miguel Gomes had only directed three features before Arabian Nights [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Miguel Gomes
film profile
]
. But the Fortnight is not the Critics’ Week, and we are also there to bring filmmakers like Spaniard Fernando León de Aranoa back into the spotlight.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

You have reinforced your desire to include a blend of genres with works in a variety of styles
What I have always liked at festivals is when your mood changes from one day to the next: one day you’re crying, the next you’re laughing – you go through some emotional extremes. That has always guided my editorial policy, not only since I started at the Fortnight, but also as a viewer, ever since I was a teenager. 

What is your analysis of the situation for film production in the various European territories?
We saw some rather good films from Eastern Europe, even if that is not evident from the final selection, and I think young filmmakers are going to sprout up there over the next few years. It’s also interesting to point out that Swedish director Magnus von Horn, who we selected with The Here After [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Magnus von Horn
film profile
]
, which he shot in Sweden, was trained at the Lodz Film School and lives in Warsaw. And as I said, we are very happy to have Spanish filmmaker Fernando León de Aranoa, who created quite a buzz about a decade ago with Mondays in the Sun [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
. He is accustomed to talking about extremely serious topics. This time around, in A Perfect Day [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Fernando León de Aranoa
film profile
]
, that topic is war, using a very distinctive sense of humour and seen from a very personal perspective. As regards Italy, beyond the big stars, who are in very good shape, given that there are three Italian films in competition at Cannes and L'ultimo vampiro by Bellocchio will be at Venice, we didn’t have a great amount on offer from young filmmakers, but that is perhaps a problem of timing, with some titles not being ready. And as for the young British directors, I was very disappointed, as I am very partial to British cinema and we had three British films last year.

How did you handle the surplus of French films?
That is one of the main strengths of Cannes because all of the French films want to be on display there. Last year, the bar had already been set very high, and it is again this time. We have no problem showing extraordinary French films: Garrel’s, the debut movie by Thomas Bidegain, Desplechin’s, Philippe Faucon’s. And those that are not picked at Cannes can try their luck at Venice or San Sebastian, where they will receive a warm welcome. You mustn’t think it’s the end of the world if you’re not at Cannes. The world of festivals is still enormous, and most importantly, you still have audiences to face.

Do the three films that comprise Arabian Nights by Portuguese director Miguel Gomes make the programming more difficult?
No, because we are very rigorous in the selection process, and for two years now, we have cut back accordingly in order to be able to allow ourselves to do this type of thing. We had been heading for a total of 15 or 16 films, and in the end we have 19 of them with Gomes’ three: so it’s not a problem. And as they will not all be screened one after the other, that will give the Fortnight a kind of rhythm: a rendezvous every couple of days with an episode of Arabian Nights

You have inherited movies by filmmakers who we are rather more used to seeing in competition on the Croisette, at Venice or at Berlin. What do you think about that?
There are some choices that I find pretty bizarre, but so much the better – I’m not going to complain about it. If some films happen to have been taken away from me, we have replaced them with movies that are just as strong. And it’s not the Official Selection that has given them to us; it is the filmmakers themselves, their producers and sometimes the sales agents. Because the Fortnight seems to be gaining more credibility, they decided it was better for certain titles to go there than into another section of Cannes, for example, or to another festival outside France.

(Translated from French)

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