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CANNES 2014 Competition / France

Assayas, Bonello and Hazanavicius: three high flyers in pursuit of the Palme d’Or

by 

- Clouds of Sils Maria, Saint-Laurent and The Search are in competition, as are majority productions Timbuktu and Goodbye to Language

Assayas, Bonello and Hazanavicius: three high flyers in pursuit of the Palme d’Or
Clouds of Sils Maria by Olivier Assayas

Three French directors who are well known to film fans all around the world and are regulars at the most spectacular showcase on the Croisette have been selected in competition at the 67th Cannes International Film Festival (14-25 May 2014). Together they form a powerful trio whose presence had been foreseen in the predictions, although there is a slight oddity, in that two of the films are English-language productions.

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The first of the titles is Clouds of Sils Maria [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Charles Gillibert
interview: Olivier Assayas
film profile
]
, the 14th fiction feature film by Olivier Assayas (aged 59), who will be taking part in the Cannes competition for the fourth time, following Les destinées sentimentales (2000), Demonlover [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(2002) and Clean [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(which earned Maggie Cheung the Best Actress Award in 2004). The cast of Clouds of Sils Maria includes French actress Juliette Binoche, American actresses Kristen Stewart and Chloë Moretz, Germany’s Daniel Brühl and Englishman Tom Sturridge. Produced by Charles Gillibert for CG Cinéma for a budget of €5.1 million, Clouds of Sils Maria was 45% produced by France (co-production by Vortex Sutra, Arte France Cinéma and Orange Studio), 42% by Germany (Pallas Film) and 12% by Switzerland (CAB Productions and RTS). Pre-purchased by ZDF, Canal+, NFP, Filmcoopi and IFC, the film was also backed by Eurimages, the Franco-German co-production mini-treaty, Cinéforom, the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, the Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung, and the BLS Südtirol Alto Adige Film Fund & Commission. Distribution in France will be handled by Les Films du Losange for a 20 August release, and international sales are headed by MK2.

Five feature films and as many visits to the Croisette: discovered at the International Critics’ Week in 2001 with The Pornographer and selected for the Directors’ Fortnight in 2008 with On War [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, Bertrand Bonello (aged 45) will be back in the Cannes competition for the third time with Saint-Laurent [+see also:
film review
trailer
Q&A: Bertrand Bonello
film profile
]
, following Tiresia in 2003 and House of Tolerance [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Adèle Haenel
film profile
]
in 2011. Covering the period 1965-1976 in the life of famous fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent, the film assembles a cast including Gaspard Ulliel, Jérémie Renier, Léa Seydoux and Louis Garrel. Produced by Eric and Nicolas Altmayer for Mandarin Cinéma and co-developed with Films Distribution, the feature film benefitted from a budget of €8.77 million, including co-production by Arte France Cinéma and EuropaCorp (in charge of distributing the film in France from 1 October as well as international sales), in addition to pre-purchases by Canal+ and Ciné+

The Search [+see also:
film review
trailer
Q&A: Michel Hazanavicius
film profile
]
, also an English-language feature, will give Michel Hazanavicius (aged 47) the opportunity to slip into the race for the Palme d'Or for the second time, following his The Artist [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Michel Hazanavicius
film profile
]
, which in 2011 began its incredible award-winning journey on the Croisette (winning a Best Actor Award for Jean Dujardin), eventually being crowned with five Oscars in 2012 (including those for Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor). The fifth feature by the director, and a loose remake of the eponymous film by Fred Zinneman, The Search stars French actress Bérénice Bejo (winner of the Best Actress Award last year at Cannes for The Past [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
) and American actress Annette Bening. Produced by Thomas Langmann and Emmanuel Montamat for La Petite Reine, the movie benefitted from a budget of €20.6 million, including contributions such as co-production by France 3 Cinéma, and pre-purchases by Canal+ and Ciné+. The French release will be organised by Warner for 26 November, while Wild Bunch is handling international sales.

Lastly, of note are two additional majority French productions duking it out: Goodbye to Language [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by legendary Swiss filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard (produced, distributed and sold by Wild Bunch; put together thanks to an advance on receipts from the CNC and pre-purchases by Canal+ and Ciné+) and Timbuktu [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako (produced by Les Films du Worso, with Armada Films, Arte France Cinéma and Orange Studio; backed by the CNC’s advance on receipts; distribution and sales handled by Le Pacte).

(Translated from French)

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