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Favourites and outsiders gear up for Cannes


- An overview of the main contenders vying for a place at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival (14 to 25 May 2019)

Favourites and outsiders gear up for Cannes
Abdellatif Kechiche, Céline Sciamma, Pedro Almodóvar, Marco Bellocchio, Jessica Hausner, Roy Andersson, Ulrich Seidl, Agnes Kocsis and Corneliu Porumboiu

What does this year's Cannes selector Thierry Frémaux have in store for us, given that he went against the grain last year in favour of mixing things up a bit? With the 69th Berlinale due to hand out awards on Saturday, 16 February, the 72nd Cannes Film Festival (14 to 25 May 2019) has begun to attract the interest of major global film industry players and fans, and the lists of possible and probable contenders are cropping up left, right and centre as part of the usual, but no-less-exciting, crystal ball atmosphere that tends to precede the event (with a special mention to prospectors Nicholas Bell and Eric Lavallée from Ioncinema). Of course, this broad summary should be taken with a pinch of salt, but it does contain a very large number of hotly anticipated films.

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On the front line are several films by directors who have already won at least one (or two) Palmes d'Or: Ahmed by the Belgians Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Sorry We Missed You by the Englishman Ken Loach, the French film The Truth (provisional title) by Japan's Hirokazu Kore-eda, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood by the American director Quentin Tarantino, and two feature films that have been kept decidedly under wraps, Mektoub My Love: Intermezzo by the French director Abdellatif Kechiche and Radegund by the American director Terrence Malick.

Also on our radar are a number of otherfilms that have been screened in competition on the Croisette, such as Pain & Glory [+see also:
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by the Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, O Mercy by the French director Arnaud Desplechin and Jeanne by his compatriot Bruno Dumont, The Traitor by the Italian director Marco Bellocchio, About Endlessness by the Swedish director Roy Andersson, Manor House by the Romanian director Roumain Cristi Puiu, Wicked Games by the Austrian director Ulrich Seidl, Parasite by the Korean director Bong Joon-ho, the American trio The Dead Don’t Die by Jim Jarmusch, Ad Astra by James Gray (if special effects are completed in time) and Uncut Gems by Josh and Benny Safdie, Matthias et Maxime by the Canadian director Xavier Dolan and Guest of Honour by his compatriot Atom Egoyan, It Must Be Heaven by the Palestinian director Elia Suleiman, To the Ends of the Earth by the Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, three Chinese films, including Saturday Fiction by Lou Ye and One Second by the Chinese director Zhang Yimou (if they pass the country's strict censorship laws), as well as Bacurau by the Brazilian duo Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles (which rumours suggests is a little too genre-oriented to be in the running for the Palme d’Or), as well as True History of the Kelly Gang by the Australian director Justin Kurzel. It should also be noted that there is uncertainty about the timing of Zombi Child by the Frenchman Bertrand Bonello, which could be a candidate for selection according to some, while others don’t think the film shoot will be entirely finished by the spring.

Serious contenders for a first foray in competition include Portrait of a Lady on Fire by the French director Céline Sciamma, Ema by the Chilean director Pablo Larrain, The Whistlers by the Romanian director Corneliu Porumboiu, Little Joe by the Austrian director Jessica Hausner, Wet Season by the Singaporean director Anthony Chen, The Wild Goose Lake by the Chinese director Diao Yi’nan (also allegedly a little too genre-oriented for competition, but so was his Golden Bear winner Black Coal at Berlin in 2014, so we'll see!), All Inclusive by the Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska, Beanpole by the Russia's wunderkind director Kantemir Balagov, and three films by American directors: First Cow by Kelly Reichardt, Wendy by Benh Zeitlin and Frankie by Ira Sachs.

European productions aren't lacking in diverse talent ready for a trip on the Croisette with Eden by the Hungarian director Agnes Kocsis, A Sun That Never Sets by the Spanish director Olivier Laxe and Mother by his compatriot Rodrigo Sorogoyen, the Icelandic films Echo by Runar Runarsson and The County by Grímur Hákonarson, The Disciple by the Slovakian Ivan Ostrochovský, Pelican Blood by the German director Katrin Gebbe, Suicide Tourist by the Danish director Jonas Alexander Arnby, 438 Days by the Swedish director Jesper Ganslandt, Martin Eden by the Italian director Pietro Marcello, Technoboss by the  Portuguese director João Nicolau, Heidi by the Romanian director Catalin Mitulescu, Adoration by the Belgian director Fabrice du Welz and La Frontière by his compatriot Frédéric Fonteyne. Also worthy of a mention is the enigmatic Undine by the German director Christian Petzold, which sprang from nowhere into this year’s predictions and whose production process is entirely unknown.

Also of note is As Long as the War Lasts by the Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar, Against All Enemies by the Australian director Benedict Andrews, The Lighthouse by the American director Robert Eggers, thedocumentary The Cordillera of Dreams by the Chilean director Patricio Guzmán, Positive School by the Moroccan director Nabil Ayouch, Yalda by the Iranian director Massoud Bakhshi, Our Lady of the Nile by the Afghani director Atiq Rahimi, A Girl Missing by the Japanese director Koji Fukada, Luz by the Chinese director Flora Lau, as well as Blue Train by her compatriot Dalei Zhang, Waves by the American director Trey Edward Shults, The Orphanage by the Afghani director Shahrbanoo Sadat, Litigante by the Colombian director Franco Lolli and Persian Lessons by the Russian-American director Vadim Perelman.

On the French side of things, in addition to the titles that have already been mentioned, are various contenders in good stead, such as An Easy Girl by Rebecca Zlotowski, Proxima by Alice Winocour, Sibyl by Justine Triet, Happy Birthday by Cédric Kahn, Just Great by Guillaume Nicloux and Gloria Mundi by Robert Guédiguian.

Also standing out among French productions are Chanson douce by Lucie Borleteau, Tijuana Bible by Jean-Charles Hue, My Traitor, My Love by Hélier Cisterne, The Room by Christian VolckmanMon initiation chez les chamanes by Fabienne Berthaud, Terminal Sud by Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche, L’État sauvage by David Perrault, La Fille au bracelet by Stéphane Demoustier, Camille by Boris Lojkine, Le Daim by Quentin Dupieux, The Translators by Régis Roinsard, and let's not forget the homage, The Most Beautiful Years by Claude Lelouch.

When it comes to the oft-disputed debut French film crowd, contenders include the likes of The Atlantides by Mati Diop, Cuties by Maïmouna Doucouré, Jumbo by Zoé WittockRevenir by Jessica Palud, Les Voeux by Sarah Suco, Les Héros ne meurent jamais by Aude Rapin, Le Jour de gloire by Antoine de Bary, Les Misérables by Ladj Ly and Qu’un sang impur… by Abdel Raouf Dafri.

Also worth noting are the animated films La Fameuse Invasion des ours by the Italian director Lorenzo Mattotti and Les Hirondelles de Kaboul by the French directors Zabou Breitman and Eléa Gobbé-Mévellec, while the midnight sessions may suit Midsommar bythe American director Ari Aster and Muscle by the English director Gerard Johnson.

Finally, among the first international features jostling for a spot at Cannes are Les Particules by Blaise Harrison, Arab Blues by the Tunisian director Manèle Labidi, Sole by the Italian director Carlos Sironi, Paradise Drifters by the Dutch director Mees Peijnenburg, The Wind Blew On by the Icelandic director Katrin Olfasdottir, Perfect 10 by the Scottish director Eva Riley and Song Without a Name by the Peruvian director Melina León.

Obviously, the thorny issue of the presence of Netflix films at Cannes still remains, even if would be fantastic to see The Irishman by Martin Scorsese on the Croisette, although it is unlikely anyway due to post-production delays, but who knows...

These very exciting questions about the Cannes 2019 line-up will be answered during section announcements, which (subject to official confirmation) are likely to take place on 18 April for the Official Competition, 19 or 22 April for the Critics' Week and 23 April for the Directors' Fortnight.

(Translated from French)

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