When a film widely seen as a dead cert to make the Cannes lineup doesn't ultimately appear, there can be any number of routine explanations, from shooting and editing overruns to inter-festival politics to the aesthetic whims of the selection panel – but it's unusual for a filmmaker to withdraw his own work for “personal reasons.” That's what's happened, however, with German-Turkish auteur Fatih Akin, whose first narrative feature in five years, “The Cut,” was on most Competition prediction lists.
Akin has offered no further explanation for his decision to pull the film, which stars Tahar Rahim and is the belated final instalment in Akin's “Love, Death and the Devil” trilogy, with started with 2004's “Head-On” (a Berlinale Golden Bear winner) and continued with 2007's “The Edge of Heaven.” The latter premiered at Cannes and won the Best Screenplay award, so Akin has a history with the festival; two years ago, his environmental documentary “Polluting Paradise” played the Croisette in the Special Screenings section.
“The Cut,” which covers the Devil aspect of the trilogy, takes on the theme of man's inherent evil and features an entirely silent performance from Rahim; the director himself has likened him to a Sergio Leone character.
Chances are, then, that we'll see “The Cut” at Venice instead, where Akin has also been warmly received in the past. (A fall festival bow would fit with the film's German release date of October 16.) His last narrative feature, 2009's somewhat ramshackle comedy “Soul Kitchen,” played there and won the Jury Prize, though it didn't quite take off after that. Perhaps the “personal reasons” are that he's been talked round by another festival since entering into Cannes consideration; perhaps it's something else entirely. We'll probably hear eventually.
Moving on to films we do know will be at Cannes, the Cinefondation and Short Film selections were announced today. Both are short film sections; the 10 selected for the latter compete for the short Palme d'Or, while the former consists of 16 shorts by film school graduates. (They tend to get lost in the crush, but it's worth keeping an eye on the prizes, so to speak: former Cinefondation winners include Jessica Hausner, Corneliu Porumboiu and Antonio Campos.)
The films shortlisted for this year's Short Film Competition are:
“Manhole,” Giovanni Aloi (Italy)
“The Administration Of Glory,” Ran Huang (China)
“Invisible Spaces,” Dea Kulumbegashvili (Georgia)
“Happo-En,” Sato Masiko, Ohara Takayoshi, Seki Yutaro, Toyota Masayuki, Hirase Kentaro (Japan)
“Leidi,” Simón Mesa Soto (Colombia/UK)
“The Last One,” Sergey Pikalov (Azerbaijan)
“The Execution,” Petra Szocs (Hungary/Romania)
“Aïssa,” Clément Trehin-Lalanne (France)
“Les Corps Etrangers,” Laura Wandel (Belgium)
“Yes We Love,” Hallvar Witzo (Norway)
And the Cinefondation selection:
“Our Blood,” Max Chan, (Hampshire College, U.S.)
“Home Sweet Home,” Pierre Clenet, Alejandro Diaz, Romain Mazevet, Stéphane Paccolat (Supinfocom Arles, France)
“The Aftermath of the Inauguration Of The Public Toilet At Kilometer 375,” Omar El Zohairy (High Cinema Institute, Academy of Arts, Egypt)
“Stone Cars,” Reinaldo Marcus Green (NYU Tisch School of the Arts, U.S.)
“Last Trip Home,” Han Fengyu (Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore)
“A Radiant Life,” Meryll Hardy (Le Fresnoy, France)
“Niagara,” Chie Hayakawa (ENBU Seminar, Japan)
“Oh Lucy!,” Atsuko Hirayanagi (NYU Tisch School of the Arts Asia, Singapore)
“The Visit,” dir: Inbar Horesh (Minshar for Art, School and Center, Israel)
“Moonless Summer,” Stefan Ivancic (Faculty of Dramatic Arts, Serbia)
“The Bigger Picture,” Daisy Jacobs (National Film and Television School, UK)
“Provincia,” György Mór Karpati (University of Theatre and Film Arts, Hungary)
“Breath,” Kwon Hyun-ju (Chung-Ang University, South Korea)
“Thunderbirds,” Léa Mysius (La Fémis, France)
“Sourdough,” Fulvio Risuelo (Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, Italy)
“Skunk,” Annie Silverstein (The University of Texas at Austin, U.S.)