We’ve very pleased to introduce our Cannes correspondent Simon Gallagher, who covered Cannes last year for Obsessed With Film where he is the Features Editor. Simon will be our man in Cannes, bringing his considerable expertise to bear on the films which will be on show and we asked him to sum up his reaction to the line up and the 2010 festival itself.
Here’s what Simon had to say.
So, the 63rd Cannes film festival is officially upon us, with today’s announcement of the films in and out of competition: I have to say I’m impressed. While my head was turned at the rumours of Toy Story 3 and The Rum Diary, neither really felt like Cannes films in the same way that Fishtank and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus sang their relevance last year. Generally speaking, and in contrast to last year’s selection, today’s announcement feels a lot truer to the festival’s spirit of international filmic celebration.
I have to admit, when it became clear that this year’s jury would be headed by Tim Burton, and would feature Benicio Del Toro and Kate Beckinsale, I was more than a little curious as to what direction the festival was taking. Thankfully, any initial trepidation was replaced with newly invigorated excitement at the prospect of seeing a Mike Leigh, a Hideo Nakata and a Jean-Luc Godard in the same week as the new Woody Allen and one of my most eagerly anticipated films of the last two years- Oliver Stone’s Wall Street sequel.
Particular highlights include the prospect of Doug Liman’s Fair Game, starring potential queen of the festival Naomi Watts (she is also part of the fame-heavy Woody Allen cast for You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger) and Sean Penn, Alejandro Gonzalez’s Biutiful with the peerless Javier Bardem, and Stephen Frears’ adaptation of Posy Simmonds’ graphic novel Tamara Drewe. Last year’s midnight screening of Drag Me to Hell, hit the perfect late-night note, and it looks like Gregg Araki’s sophomore effort Kaboom, about the sexual awakening of a group of college students, will hit different, but equally exciting high-notes in the same midnight slot.
There are a few mild disappointments in the announcement- Robin Hood may be a potential epic in the making, but it doesn’t hold the same personal draw as Pixar’s beautiful Up did in 2009. Don’t get me wrong- that is not to undermine the opportunity to see Ridley Scott’s latest.
The announcement is also a tale of two absences- on an individual level it is deeply regrettable that Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life isn’t yet included, though the festival’s artistic director Thierry Fremaux remains quietly optimistic that it will be completed in time to screen (presumably as a Special Screening). On a more general level, it is a shame that this year’s competition will not feature a female voice- especially in the wake of Kathryn Bigelow‘s still-astounding Oscar success. But then, historically the film choices live and die on merit, and thankfully have no political implications.
All in all, the line-up is a wonderful mix- with the eclectic international feel that continually makes Cannes the premier European film festival event. And I have to say, I couldn’t be happier to be covering it for HeyUGuys.