The world’s most prestigious film festival kicks off tomorrow and we couldn’t be more excited. Cannes is more important and influential than any other festival throughout the year – so you don’t want to be stuck grappling for answers when it comes up in conversation with your over-earnest film-buff friend.
That’s why we’ve put together everything you need to know for bluffing your way through a Cannes chat, plus the films we’re most excited about in this year’s program.
To celebrate the beginning of the festival tune into our line-up of award-winning films with WM Cannes – 6.00pm Wednesday 15 May, featuring the Australian television premiere of Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon.
FACTS and GLOSSARY
The Cannes Film Festival was founded in 1946 and is an invitation-only festival held at Palais des Festivals et des Congr√®s.
Within each year’s Official Selection there are twenty films that are chosen as In Competition – competing for the grand prize of the Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) which is presented to the director of the best film of the festival. This year’s jury is headed up by Steven Spielberg.
Another prestigious category is Un Certain Regard, which is comprised of twenty films each year that are original, different or from far away cultures.
The Caméra d’Or prize rewards the best first film of the Festival, and can be awarded to any of the films throughout the various sections. Other awards include the Grand Prix which is the Grand Prize of the Festival, and the Prix du Jury which is the jury prize.
THIS YEAR’S FAVOURITES
Only God Forgives, Nicolas Winding Refn
What you need to know: Possibly the most hyped film of Cannes 2013, this is the follow-up collaboration between man-of-your-dreams Ryan Gosling and director-of-your-nightmares Nicolas Winding-Refn after their 2011 sleeper hit Drive. Set in amongst the neon-lit grime of Bangkok, it also stars Kristin Scott Thomas as a terrifying matriarch who forces her son (Gosling) to kill the person responsible for his brother’s recent murder.
Inside Llewyn Davis, Joel and Ethan Coen
What you need to know: A new Coen film is enough to get any film-lover into a frenzy, but one premiering at Cannes takes nerdy excitement to giddy new heights. This it the brother’s 9th film at Cannes, and have won the Palme d’Or before for Barton Fink (1991). With a killer soundtrack and their typically sparkling dialogue, Inside Llweyn Davis tells the story of a folk singer’s misadventures around New York City in 1961. Starring Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake in leading roles.
The Past, Asghar Farhadi
What you need to know: Farhadi has risen from his bed of A Separation awards (including the 2012 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film) to make a much-anticipated follow-up. This French-language film with deep Iranian sensitivities follows Ahmad who returns to Paris after four years in Tehran to finalise his divorce with his French wife. Expect beautifully handled clash-of-cultures themes, astounding performances and stunning cinematography. A frontrunner for the Palme d’Or.
Wara No Tate (Shield of Straw), Takashi Miike
What you need to know: The World Movies staff always love a new Takashi Miike film – half because he is the acclaimed director behind Audition, 13 Assassins and many more, and half because each film he makes is wildly different to the last. When a billionaire offers a massive reward for the murder of his granddaughter’s killer, the target immediately turns himself into police. As they take him back to Tokyo they must protect him from the many assassins out for the reward.
The Immigrant, James Gray
What you need to know: James Gray is simultaneously one of the most acclaimed and underestimated filmmakers working in America today. He returns to compete for the Palme d’Or for his fourth consecutive time, with this story of a Polish immigrant (Marion Cotillard) who arrives in New York City in 1921 to begin a new life. But her dreams quickly fall apart, as she’s forced into a life of prostitution. Should be a gritty story that brings 1920s New York to life, with the fine acting presence of Cotillard and Joaquin Phoenix.
La Grande Bellezza (The Grand Beauty), Paolo Sorrentino
What you need to know: Despite slightly disappointing reviews for his last feature, This Must Be The Place, this Italian director is a master of style and cool. Here he teams up again with Toni Servillo (the two worked together in Sorrentino’s masterpiece Il Divo) who plays an aging writer who ponders the beautiful excess of youth amongst the city of Rome. Good or bad, there won’t be anything else like it at the festival.
Some of the biggest filmmakers around the world bring their new films to Cannes 2013, including Alexander Payne (Nebraska), Francois Ozon (Young & Beautiful) and Jim Jarmusch (Only Lovers Left Alive – a vampire romance starring Tilda Swinton!). James Franco tries his hand at directing with As I Lay Dying, while the new film from Sofia Coppolla, The Bling Ring, will open Un Certain Regard. Not to mention the new film from Roman Polanski, the intimate relationship between an actress and a director in Venus in Furs.
Tune into WM: Cannes Marathon from 6pm Wednesday 15 May, featuring The Kid With A Bike, The White Ribbon and Polisse.