As May approaches, so does the Cannes, which is of course one of the highlights of the European film festival calendar. This morning the line-up was revealed, with a number of films from Asia to look foward to. I have listed them all below, with trailer and synopses as far as they are available.
Note: All films in this section of the festival compete for the Palme d’Or.
- 「そして父になる」 (Soshite Chichi ni Naru, Japan, 2013) – Dir. by Koreeda Hirokazu.
No trailer yet available.
A story about two families who learn, six years after the fact, that their sons were switched at birth. It is the sort of nightmare scenario we have read about in papers, the kind we don’t want to think about – except, perhaps, when someone like Koreeda tackles it with his assured and sensitive hand.
Koreeda has been to Cannes before, with「DISTANCE」（ディスタンス/Diisutansu/Distance, 2001）and 「誰も知らない」(Dare mo shiranai/Nobody Knows, 2004). Maybe it will be third time lucky? To be honest, I have still have little idea what the rest of the field is like, but whether Koreeda scores an award or not, I’m sure Soshite Chichi ni Naru will be touch our hearts.
Note: I’m amused to see both Ono Machiko and Maki Yoko are in this film – they just co-starred in the dorama「最高の離婚」 (Saikou no Rikon/Matrimonial Chaos, Fuji TV, 2013).
- گذشته (The Past/Le Passé, France, 2013) Dir. by Asghar Farhadi.
I know it says “France”, but it’s Asghar Farhadi directing, the Iranian filmmaker that won
the Palme D’or in 2011 (and pretty much every film award afterwards) for his masterpiece جدایی نادر از سیمین (Jodái-e Náder az Simin/A Separation, Iran, 2011). How you follow up a film like that, I have no idea, but even if The Past/Le Passé is only half as good as Jodái-e Náder az Simin it will be worth watching.
- 「藁の楯」(Wara no Tate/Shield of Straw, Japan, 2013) – Dir. by Miike Takashi.
Miike has been to Cannes more than once as well, including last year with the whacky high-school musical「愛と誠」（Ai to Makoto, Japan, 2012). Wara no Tate is a whole different film altogether (no surprise there, Miike dabbles in turns every genre on its head), a tale of murder and revenge: A young girl is murdered. Her grandfather, a powerful man, is filled with feelings of vengeance and places an ad in a newspaper, promising one billion yen to anyone who kills Kiyomaru Kunihide, the suspected killer. Something reminds me of Dürrenmatt’s tragi-comic play Der Besuch der alten Dame (The Visit) here, but I have no doubt Miike will make it into something very much of his own.
- 天注定 (Tian Zhu Ding/A Touch of Sin, China) – Dir. by Zhangke Jia.
No trailer available.
Zhangke has been in Cannes before as well, with 海上传奇的海报 (Hai Shang Chuan Qi/Wish I Knew, China/The Netherlands, 2010), and now returns with Tian Zhu Ding. No synopsis, trailer or poster yet, but it’s Zhangke, so definitely something to look forward to.
Films screening in Cinefondation are short or medium-length pictures from film schools the world over.
- 더 라인 (Deo Lain aka Seon/The Line, South Korea) – Dir by Kim Soo-Jin.
- Duet (Iran) – Dir. by Navid Danesh.
Films in this section compete for Short Film Palme d’Or.
- 세이프 (Seipeu/Safe, South Korea) – Dir. by Moon Byung-gon.
- 盲探 (Máng tàn/Blind Detective, Hong Kong) – Dir. by Johnnie To.
The wonderful Andy Lau plays a detective that must retire early because he is going blind. He becomes involved in another case, teaming up with a female detective (Sammi Cheng) to solve it.
- Monsoon Shootout (India) Dir. by Amit Kumar.
No trailer available.
Setting: Mumbai during the monsoon season (oh yeah!). Insert: Torrents of rain. The story: Guru, a rookie cop, comes face to face with Shiva, a man suspected but not certain to be a gangster. The question: to shoot or not to shoot? It’s described as “an existential thriller that explores the impact of our choices on the lives of others and us” (quote), which sounds quite reflective, but I would expect more action & thrill than philosophical pondering nonetheless.
Gala Screening, Tribute to India
Bombay Talkies (India) – Dir. by Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar, Karan Johar.
In a tribute to 100 years of Indian cinema comes Bombay Talkies, an anthology of four stories by different directors. Wikipedia has synopses for each part.