The first official roster of Cannes ’17 films has been announced. My immediate reaction: “Uhhm, okay, another shortfaller and what else is new? But at least there’s the Andrezj Zvyagintsev, the half-silent Todd Haynes, the Noah Baumbach and the 390-second Alejandro G. Inarritu virtual-reality short to look forward to.”
Many interesting-sounding films were on the early-speculation lists, but only those with nothing to lose and everything potentially to gain from an early Cote d’Azur peek-out will show up. Those with even a teeny-weeny bit to lose (i.e., films which may turn out to be admired but not loved)? Forget it.
In my book there are six Cannes ’17 hotties — Andrezy Zvyagintsev‘s Loveless (very high expectations for the director of Leviathan), Todd Haynes‘ Wonderstruck, Michael Haneke‘s Happy End, Noah Baumbach‘s The Meyerowitz Stories, Alejandro G. Inarritu‘s 390-second virtual reality short Carne y Arena (which rsvp’ed viewers will have to journey on a shuttle to see, apparently within a viewing space some distance from the bunker) and a special screening of Eugene Jarecki‘s Promised Land, which reportedly “juxtaposes contemporary American socio-political history with the biography of Elvis Presley.”
Oh, yeah, right…the first two episodes of David Lynch‘s new Twin Peaks series…calm down.
As I noted a month ago, the festival’s biggest highlights will most likely be European-produced, and that the American-made films that will likely appear are going to rank as…who knows? “I’m not calling it another deadbeat Cannes in terms of U.S. entries,” I wrote, “but 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.
Martin McDonagh‘s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Fox Searchlight, 10.13) was test-screened last October to excellent notices and is, I gather, 100% finished and viewable, but it won’t be screening at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. Frances McDormand‘s Best Actress campaign will launch around Labor Day instead.
Alexander Payne‘s much-anticipated Downsizing (Paramount, 12.22) was shown last night in Sherman Oaks and is therefore not that far from finished (raggedy, half-completed features are rarely shown to Joe and Jane Popcorn for research purposes), but it won’t be going to Cannes either. Appetites were whetted at Cinemacon last month when attendees were thrilled by a 15-minute excerpt (I thought it looked brilliant), but just because Payne took Nebraska to Cannes doesn’t mean he’s obliged to follow suit this year.
And while it’s entirely possible that Chris Nolan‘s Dunkirk (Warner Bros., 7.21) — another Cannes no-go — won’t be “ready” to screen in mid May, many of us suspect that a very-close-to-finished version could be shown if Nolan and his Warner Bros. handlers wanted to go there.
What happened to Mektoub Is Mektoub, the latest from Blue Is The Warmest Color director Abdellatif Kechiche? My blood was up for that baby.
Among the “maybe but who knows?” attractions: Sofia Coppola‘s The Beguiled, Bong Joon-Ho‘s Okja, Lynn Ramsay‘s You Were Never Here, Yorgos Lanthimos‘ The Killing of a Sacred Deer (that title sounds so fucking precious I can barely breathe as I type it out), Francois Ozon‘s L’amant double, Michel Hazanvicius‘ Le redoubtable and Fatih Akin‘s In The Fade.
Respect and praise to Cannes topper Thierry Fremaux for choosing Arnaud Desplechin‘s Ismael’s Ghosts to open the festival and not, God forbid, Guy Ritchie‘s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, which a British critic recently speculated might be selected.
Everything else seems “meh” to me, or is yet to be tuned into:
Competition: Jacques Doillon‘s Rodin, Hong Sangsoo‘s The Day After, Sergei Loznitsa‘s A Gentle Creature, Benny Safdie & Josh Safdie‘s Good Time, Kornel Mundruczo‘s Jupiter’s Moon and Naomi Kawase‘s Radiance.
Un Certain Regard: Mathieu Amalric‘s Barbara, Annarita Zambrano‘s After the War, Michael Franco‘s April’s Daughter, Kaouther Ben Hania‘s Beauty and the Dogs, Laurent Cantet‘s L’Atelier, Serge Catellitto‘s Lucky, Taylor Sheridan‘s Wind River (missed it at Sundance, didn’t hear over-the-moon responses).
Sans Competish: Takashi Miike‘s Blade of the Immortal, John Cameron Mitchell‘s How to Talk to Girls at Parties, Agnes Varda & JR‘s Visages, Villages.
What happened to David Robert Mitchell‘s Under The Silver Lake? Or that out-of-competition screening of Brad Pitt‘s Afghanistan-set War Machine (which Netflix will open on 5.26) that some were speaking of? Or another speculated out-of-competition screening of Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant? Or Woody Allen‘s Wonder Wheel?