Four days ago (3.13) Screen Daily‘s Melanie Goodfellow posted a rundown of possible Cannes 2017 titles. Last night Deadline‘s Pete Hammond and Nancy Tartaglione posted their own forecast. It seems clear already that the festival’s biggest highlights won’t come from the U.S., and that the American-made films that will likely screen are going to rank as good or interesting rather than wowser or earth-shaking.
I’m not calling it another deadbeat Cannes in terms of U.S. entries, but, as I noted a couple of years ago, the counsel of Oscar strategists along with generally cautious instincts across the board have all but killed this festival in terms of potential award-season titles.
Chris Nolan‘s Dunkirk hasn’t definitely been scratched, but if you know Nolan (fiddle and fine-tune until the very last minute) and Warner Bros. (why risk even a mezzo-mezzo reaction from Cannes’ notoriously picky critics?), you know it’s unlikely. Hammond says festival honcho Thierry Fremaux has been told that Dunkirk, which will open on 7.21, won’t be ready to screen in Cannes in late May. Do you believe that?
My hunch is that while Nolan and Warner Bros. might well have strong cards, they’re scared of Cannes and would prefer to hide their hand until late June or early July, press-wise.
Nolan knows the knives have been out for him ever since the Interstellar debacle of ’14, and particularly the aghast responses when he confessed that he deliberately mixed the sound so that a good portion of the dialogue couldn’t be discerned, which was easily one of the biggest fuck-you messages sent to critics and paying audiences in Hollywood history. This is why people are gunning for Nolan. For years he’s regarded himself as Mr. King Shit, and they want to get him for his aloof Kubrickian airs, for maintaining an image as a Moses-down-from-the-mountain auteurist earth-shaker as opposed to the lithe and nimble-footed guy who made Memento and Insomnia, and particularly for that fucking Interstellar sound mix.
Hammond notes that just as esteemed director Alexander Payne went along with a May 2013 Cannes debut for Nebraska, which subsequently embarked on an award-season march all the way into February 2014, he might also go along with showing Downsizing, a dryly comic sci-fi thing, in Cannes two months hence. I can tell you that Downsizing was all set for a research screening on the Paramount lot two nights ago (Tuesday, 3.14), but they sent out a sudden cancellation notice to those who’d rsvp’ed, only seven or eight hours before the screening.
Hammond also mentions that Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, which Fox Searchight will probably open in the fall, “looks like the kind of film you would see in Cannes, but Fox Searchlight is thought to be looking further down the calendar.” Translation: FS has apparently adopted a more-or-less blanket policy of not screening any of their award-season hotties on the Croisette, not because they don’t believe in their films but because they believe that a Cannes bow will drain interest down the road plus they’re terrified of fickle press blowback. Remember that Three Billboards screened to a very positive response last October at L.A.’s Westside Pavillion.
Goodfellow suggests that U.S.-produced films likely to appear in Cannes include Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck; David Robert Mitchell‘s Under The Silver Lake, Josh and Benny Safdie’s Good Time and Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled.
Brad Pitt‘s Afghanistan-set War Machine, which Netflix will open on 5.26, is a possibility, Goodfellow adds; ditto a possible out-of-competition screening of Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant. Woody Allen‘s Wonder Wheel could also happen. Ditto Sundance favorites Patti Cake$, Novitiate and Brigsby Bear.
Michael Haneke‘s Happy End will almost surely screen in competition.
Other French-language titles: Blue Is The Warmest Color director Abdellatif Kechiche‘s Mektoub Is Mektoub; Michel Hazanavicius’ Redoubtable, a 1968-set story about Jean-Luc Godard‘s affair with Anne Wiazemsky (Stacy Martin); Xavier Beauvois‘ Les Gardiennes, André Téchiné’s Nos Années Folles; Laurent Cantet‘s L’Atélier; Arnaud Desplechin‘s Ismael’s Ghosts; Jacques Doillon‘s Rodin.
More foreign language hotties: Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless, Michael Roskam’s Le Fidèle with Matthias Schoenaerts and Adèle Exarchopoulos; Barbet Schroeder’s Le Vénérable; Fatih Akin’s In The Fade; and possibly the late Abbas Kiarostami’s 24 Frames.