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CANNES 2014 Selection

All eyes on the Croisette: the bets are still on

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- Rumours, half-truths and bluffs abound two weeks before the announcement of the official selection

All eyes on the Croisette: the bets are still on

Exactly two weeks ahead of the unveiling of the official selection for the 67th Cannes International Film Festival (14-25 May 2014), the world of Parisian film fans is buzzing with rumours blending half-truths and propaganda, a cloud of confusion that is made all the denser by the fact that several major candidates (particularly French ones) for a good place in the Croisette showcase have still not been viewed. On the other hand, what’s certain is that general delegate Thierry Frémaux is currently hard at work on what is a particularly attractive shortlist on paper, especially in terms of the European titles on offer, and despite the Asian delegation allegedly being fairly small this year.

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Among the most recent rumours circulating in this little guessing game is that La chambre bleue by Mathieu Amalric will take the lead at the Directors’ Fortnight and Bird People by Pascale Ferran is still in the running for a place in competition, following its viewing. However, the French battle has barely begun and promises to be particularly fierce, involving The Search by Oscar winner Michel Hazanavicius, Clouds of Sils Maria by Olivier Assayas, Saint Laurent by Bertrand Bonello, and the outsiders Bande de filles by Céline Sciamma and Eden by Mia Hansen Love. On the other hand, the timing of the edit could potentially be a little too tight for the Spanish-language feature Return to Ithaca by Laurent Cantet.

The international list of Palme d'Or candidates that seems to be circulating continuously in the forecasts being made left, right and centre includes Two Days, One Night by Belgian directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Winter Sleep by Turkey’s Nuri Bilge Ceylan, The Cut by German director Fatih Akin, Phoenix by his fellow countryman Christian Petzold and three British titles: Jimmy's Hall by English director Ken Loach, Mr Turner by Mike Leigh and the Lance Armstrong biopic by Stephen Frears. These are joined by Maps to the Stars by Canada’s David Cronenberg, Leviathan by Russian director Andreï Zvyagintsev, Birdman by Mexico’s Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Homesman by American director Tommy Lee Jones, Foxcatcher by his fellow countryman Bennet Miller, Still the Water by Japan’s Naomi Kawase and Coming Home by China’s Zhang Yimou. However, it is still touch and go whether Canadian director Xavier Dolan will be able to finish off the editing of Mommy in time to apply.

Among the myriad films that should also be followed closely are A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence by Swedish director Roy Andersson, Tourist by Swedish director Ruben Ostlund, Geronimo by Tony Gatlif, Le procès by Israel’s Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz, L'institutrice by their fellow countryman Nadav Lapid, Métamorphoses by Christophe Honoré, Welcome to New York by Abel Ferrara, Le meraviglie by Italian director Alice Rohrwacher, the documentary The Salt of the Earth by Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, Mon amie Victoria by Jean-Paul Civeyrac, Magical Girl by Spaniard Carlos Vermut, Hermosa juventud by his fellow countryman Jaime Rosales, I Am Here by Danish director Anders Morgenthaler, Box by Romania’s Florin Serban, Mr Kaplan by Uruguay’s Alvaro Brechner, an as-yet-untitled film by Argentinian LisandroGoodbye to Language 3D by Jean-Luc Godard and the mini-series P'tit Quinquin by Bruno Dumont.

A British feature debut has supposedly won over the Directors’ Fortnight (which could be, without guaranteeing anything, Catch Me Daddy by Daniel Wolfe), and first and second French feature films may also be important players this year in the parallel sections, given the impressive number of titles proposed, including Angélique by Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis, Les combattants by Thomas Cailley, Hippocrate by Thomas Lilti and Qui vive by Marianne Tardieu. This huge number of potentially successful titles is obviously only the crest of a whole tidal wave of likely candidates on a trip to the Croisette – it would be pointless to list them all for fear of turning the predicting game into an enormous, bulging catalogue.

Having reached the home stretch of the viewings, Thierry Frémaux and his counterparts in the Fortnight and the International Critics’ Week are, as of now, the only ones holding all the cards for a 2014 edition of Cannes that, come what may, looks extremely promising.

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(Translated from French)

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