With today’s announcement of the Directors’ Fortnight lineup, the slate for next month’s Cannes Film Festival is officially complete. (Bar any stray late additions, of which there are usually a couple.) And the Fortnight programmers haven’t made it any easier to plan one’s viewing in an already stacked festival, serving up a selection rich in unexpected names and welcome genre diversions.
The Fortnight had already got off to a high-profile start with the announcement of Ari Folman’s “The Congress” as its opening film, but the name director who looks set to dominate the sidebar is 84-year-old Chilean cult favorite Alejandro Jodorowsky.
The singular artist behind such classic provocations as “El Topo” and “The Holy Mountain” hasn’t made a film in 23 years, but he’s making up for lost time here: in addition to the world premiere of his new autobiographical film “The Dance of Reality,” the Fortnight will also feature Frank Pavich’s “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” a documentary on the director’s failed attempt to film Frank Herbert’s landmark sci-fi novel “Dune.” (David Lynch eventually got the gig, and struggled mightily with it.)
“The Dance of Reality,” based on Jodorowsky’s published memoirs of his childhood in Chile, stars the director’s son Aden as his younger self; billed as a departure for Jodorwsky, it nonetheless sounds appropriate surrealistic. “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” meanwhile, will have many cinephiles and sci-fi buffs intrigued with a glimpse of what might have been — Hitfix’s own Drew McWeeny, by the way, is among the film’s interviewees.
Two Sundance titles crack the lineup, joining “Fruitvale Station” in Un Certain Regard and “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” in Critics’ Week as this year’s chosen Park City carry-overs. The first is “Magic Magic,” from another Chilean filmmaker, Sebastan Silva, and starring Michael Cera; the film didn’t get as much attention at Sundance as “Crystal Fairy,” Silva and Cera’s other, near-simultaneous collaboration, though reviews for the psychological thriller were generally better.
The other Sundance inclusion is a rare festival nod to outright horror: Jim Mickle’s “We Are What We Are,” a genuinely inspired remake of the Mexican cannibal-family hit that itself premiered in Directors’ Fortnight in 2010. That’s a nice bit of continuity, though Mickle’s smart, grisly reworking earns a place on its own merits. (I reviewed the film for Variety here, while Drew was similarly impressed.)
It’s refreshing to see one strand of the festival embracing genre film so openly: also selected is the Kickstarter-funded US revenge thriller “Blue Ruin,” directed by Jeremy Saulnier, and Ruairi Robinson’s “Last Days on Mars,” a sci-fi horror film starring Liev Schreiber and Romola Garai that is also one of the few British films in the fest.
Indeed, considering the UK is nowhere to be seen in the Official Selection, they’ve done pretty well at the Fortnight: also premiering is “The Selfish Giant,” Clio Barnard’s follow-up to her much-garlanded documentary-fiction hybrid “The Arbor.” And yes, in case the title has you wondering, it is a modern-day adaptation of the famed Oscar Wilde fable of the same name. Cannes festival director Thierry Fremaux has referred in interviews to one British film he wanted to program in the Official Selection, but lost to the Fortnight — I suspect this is the one.
Finally, Lynne Ramsay’s exquisite, BAFTA-winning short film “Swimmer” will be making its international premiere in this section — which should be a timely reminder of her talent to those who have been distracted by the “Jane Got a Gun” fracas.
The 22 feature films in Directors’ Fortnight are:
“A Strange Course of Events,” Raphaël Nadjari
“Les Apaches,” Thierry de Peretti
“Ate ver a luz,” Basil Da Cunha
“Blue Ruin,” Jeremy Saulnier
“The Congress,” Ari Folman (opening film)
“The Dance of Reality,” Alejandro Jodorowsky
“L”Escale,” Kaveh Bakhtiari
“La Fille du 14 Juillet,” Antonin Peretjatko
“Henri,” Yolande Moreau
“Ilo Ilo,” Anthony Chen
“Jodorowsky”s Dune,” Frank Pavich
“Last Days on Mars,” Ruairi Robinson
“Les Garçons et Guillaume, à table !,” Guillaume Gallienne
“Magic Magic,” Sebastian Silva “
On the Job,” Erik Matti
“The Selfish Giant,” Clio Barnard
“Tip Top,” Serge Bozon
“Ugly,” Anurag Kashyap
“Un voyageur,” Marcel Ophuls
“El verano de los peces voladores,” Marcela Said
“We Are What We Are,” Jim Mickle