Monday, May 7, 2012

Cannes Film Festival 2012: Films in Competition

50th Anniversary of the Death of Marilyn Monroe
While Cannes is usually packed full of foreign language films, there is a strong presence of films from the United States for the 2012 festival. With six entries to compete for the prestigious Palme d'Or (or Golden Palm), the United States has as many films in competition as they have in the last three years combined. The class of 2012 should probably thank their predecessors, at least a little bit.

Can I have one...? My birthday's coming up...
Cannes 2011 featured three films from the United States, and all three ended up not only making a huge impact on Cannes but also on later film festivals and competitions. While only two of the entries from the United States were in competition, Terrence Malick's trippy dino romp Tree of Life won the Palme d'Or. The other two highly regarded films were Drive directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (who also won Best Director at Cannes) and Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris (which unfortunately wasn't in the running for the top prize). While these three films lost some steam heading into the "big time" award shows (specifically the Oscars), all of them generated a whole lot of buzz. Drive was featured on the top of many critics' best films of the year lists; Woody Allen took home Best Original Screenplay awards at the Golden Globes and the Oscars for Paris, and Malick's film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Cinematography. 

Even though many of the films that are highly regarded at Cannes don't usually make big splashes in the mainstream award shows (seriously, have you even heard of 2010's winner? Doubtful. Fun to say though), 2012 features many films that should be major players in competitions to come. 

While Paul Thomas Anderson's highly anticipated film, The Master, or Malick's latest and untitled project will not be unveiled at Cannes, the film festival still is packing a ton of power. It's not only the films from the United States that are going to make a splash either...

Kicking off the festival with Moonrise Kingdom (United States), Wes Anderson's latest quirky quirk of quirkness should be a sure bet to be a fan favorite, if not yet another critically successful film. Other films from the U.S. that should be sure-fire bets to garner acclaim include a couple of gun-toting violent pictures as well as a multi-national film and a legal thriller. 

The Weinstein Co. features two entries, both of them violent. Both of them to be well received. The previously titled Cogan's Trade turned Killing Them Softly is Andrew Dominik's follow-up to the fricken longest title ever... The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Killing Them Softly also features Brad Pitt (yay!). Robert Jenkins and James Gandolfini are also starring in the film that centers around Jackie Cogan (Pitt) and his dealings with the mob. The Weinstein Co.'s other entry also features a star-studded lineup. Lawless, directed by John Hillcoat (The Road), follows the story of three brothers attempting to keep their bootlegging business booming in Prohibition Era Virginia. Even though Shia LeBouf is in it... Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Gary Oldman, and Guy Pierce are headlining the film. 

The highly anticipated, highly multi-national film (it's an English language Brazilian-French-UK-US film), On the Road, should also garner a lot of attention, if not for the performances of the star-studded young cast that include Amy Adams, Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kirsten Dunst, and (sigh...) Kristen Stewart. Steve Buscemi and Viggo Mortensen are also involved in the Walter Salles directed film about, in short, a cross-country road trip.  

Two other U.S. films that shouldn't be overlooked are Mud and The Paperboy. Even though I like to diss on Zac Efron, The Paperboy should break him out of that ridiculous Disney-soaked boytoy aura. Directed by Lee Daniels (Precious), The Paperboy follows the story of two brothers (played by Efron and Matthew McConaughy) who try to acquit a man on death row (John Cusack). Nicole Kidman also stars. Jeff Nichols's Mud should also generate buzz, as the director showcases his follow-up to the critically acclaimed film, Take Shelter. Mud is a coming-of-age story based in Arkansas and also stars McConaughy and Reese Witherspoon. 

While the United States has a strong presence, its competition is certainly fierce. 

America's Hat Canada's entry should definitely make some noise. Literally. In David Cronenberg's latest film entry, the story follows a billionaire's trek across Manhattan. While that may not seem interesting, just check out the trailer...

Yikes. And yes, that was Robert Pattinson. And yes, that makes Cannes allowing people to make the inevitable Twilight jokes, as Stewart and Pattinson will be at the festival. Le sigh. 

Michael Haneke's Love (French Title: Amour), Jaques Audiard's Rust and Bone, Like Someone in Love directed by Abbas Kiarostami, The Angel's Share by Ken Loach should all be forces to be reckoned with as will the recently deceased Claude Miller's Therese Desqueyroux, the closing film to Cannes. 

Check out this trailer for Rust and Bone. Marion Cotillard... SO AMAZING! Also... hope you understand French...

Wow. There is an immensely talented showcase about to happen at Cannes. Does someone want to give me tickets now, please? Thanks...

Events and screenings will be help the 16th of May to May 27. Berenice Bejo (The Artist) will be host for the opening and closing ceremonies, while Tim Roth has been appointed as President of the Jury for the Un Certain Regard competition and Italian film director, Nanni Moretti, has the Presidency for the Jury of the main events. Ah, one day I'll make it over there...

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