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The Cannes nominees, Vol 1

May 20, 2009 13:20 IST

The Cannes nominees, Vol 1

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Raja Sen

What a year this is at Cannes.

The director's list reads like an all-star smorgasbord of global talent, the world's finest directors all competing for the festival's major prize, the Palme D'Or.

Twenty major films by twenty of the world's most feted directors are fighting for the main prize -- but the winners have to be us, the audience, licking our lips as we see all these fabulous movies unfold around us in the coming months.

Arranged in alphabetical order, today we look at the first ten.

A l'origine / In The Beginning
Directed by:
Xavier Giannoli

The French writer-director behind films such as Terre Sainte, L'interview and Les Corps Impatients takes on an interesting premise as his latest film explores the true story of a smalltime crook who built a highway.

His fantastic ensemble cast includes Soko, Francois Cluzet, Gerard Depardieu and Emmanuelle Devos.


Image: A scene from A l'origine

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Antichrist
Directed by:
Lars Von Trier

The pathbreaking Danish director responsible for movies like Epidemix, Europa, Dancer In The Dark, Dogville and Manderlay -- not to mention being the starting force behind European cinema's Dogme 95 movement -- is now ready with a surreal horror movie.

Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsburg are the only two human actors in the film about bizarre experiences a couple have on a jungle retreat. There is rumoured to be heavily explicit sexual content in the film, which was shot on digital video.


Image: A scene from Antichrist

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Bright Star
Directed by:
Jane Campion

The consistenly-acclaimed Ms Campion is best known for her 1993 feature film, The Piano, which won her a second Palme D'Or after her 1982 short, Peel.

The New Zealand director has dabbled in literary cinema before, with An Angel At My Table about the life of poet Janet Frame and an adaptation of Henry James' The Portrait Of A Lady.

Her latest film is a romantic drama based on the last three years of the life of Romantic poet John Keats -- a fascinating subject considering it chronicles a romance he had with Fanny Brawne (played here by Abbie Cornish) that was abruptly interrupted when the poet (Ben Whishaw) died at the tragically young age of 25.


Image: Cast members Ben Wishaw, Abbie Cornish and director Jane Campion
Photographs: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters
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Fish Tank
Directed by:
Andrea Arnold

British director Andrea Arnold won on Oscar for her live-action short called Wasp, and her first feature film Red Road won her comparisons with established masters Lars Von Trier and Michael Haneke, both of whom will be competing against her for the Cannes prize this year.

The film, featuring Michael Fassbender, Harry Treadaway, Kierston Wareing and Katie Jarvis, is about how a teenage girl's life goes through absolute upheaval when her mother makes a new boyfriend.


Image: A scene from Fish Tank

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Inglourious Basterds
Directed by:
Quentin Tarantino

Style-defying American auteur Quentin Tarantino, he who influenced modern cinema with Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, is finally ready with his long-awaited epic war movie, one that the director calls his own spaghetti western.

The film stars Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, BJ Novak, Michael Fassbender, Mike Myers, Melanie Laurent, Diane Kruger and Samuel L Jackson. The sloppily typed but fantastic first draft of Tarantino's script is freely available on the Internet, and it is one that points to a truly spectacular film.


Image: A scene from Inglourious Basterds

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Kinatay
Directed by:
Brillante Mendoza

Filipino director Mendoza made his feature debut in 2005 with Masahista, and has managed to churn out six more films in the next three years. The profilic director makes his first appearance at Cannes with his 8th film, Kinatay.

The film is about a criminology student working as an errand boy for a Manila gang that hustles local businesses into protection money. He showers the money he makes onto his girlfriend, but to marry her he needs even more cash, wherein is hatched a scheme...

The drama stars Coco Martin, Mercedes Cabral, and Jhong Hilario.


Image: Cast members Maria Isabel Lopez, Coco Martin and Mercedes Cabral
Photographs: Regis Duvignau/Reuters
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Les Herbes Folles / Wild Grass
Directed by:
Alain Resnais

Veteran nouvelle vague master Resnais, best known for the seminal Night And Fog, Last Year at Marienbad and Private Fears In Public Places, might be 86 years old, but that doesn't stop him from crafting a top-notch drama film.

His latest revolves around a stray wallet -- lost by some, found by others -- that takes his protagonists Georges, played by Andre Dussollier, and Margeurite, played by Sabine Azema, into an unexpectedly romantic adventure. Mathieu Amalric, from The Diving Bell And The Butterfly and Quantum Of Solace, also stars.


Image: A poster

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Looking For Eric
Directed by:
Ken Loach

72-year-old British filmmaker Ken Loach won the 2006 Palme d'Or for The Wind That Shakes The Barley, and is a director known for unscripted realism in most fields of his work. He prefers working with non-actors who have genuine life experience in the occupations they would portray on screen.

Looking For Eric has been described as a film 'about football fans and life.' The film is about a football crazed postman going through a major life crisis and much introspection -- finally ending up in words of advice from French footballer Eric Cantona. Steve Enets, Gerard Kearns and Max Beesley star.


Image: A scene from Looking For Eric

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Los Abrazos Rotos / Broken Embraces
Directed by:
Pedro Almodovar

Iconic director Almodovar, the finest known Spanish filmmaker of his generation, has traversed quite the range of films -- from Labyrinth Of Passions to Matador to Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down to Live Flesh and, most recently, Volver -- all films that use melodrama to astonishing, evocative effect.

Pedro sexes up the festival lineup with his latest offering, a 50's style noir drama told four-ways, and starring his muse Penelope Cruz, Bianca Portillo, Lluis Homar and Lola Duenas. The film tells a tale of pseudonyms, love, loss and cinema.


Image: A scene from Los Abrazos Rotos

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Map Of The Sounds Of Tokyo
Directed by:
Isavel Coixet

Spanish director Coixet has a knack for casting her movies perfectly, be it with Sarah Polley and Tim Robbins in The Secret Life Of Words or Peter Sarsgaard and Penelope Crux in her last film, Elegy.

This time her film stars the lovely Rinko Kikuchi, Sergi Lopez and Hideo Sakaki, and that is reason enough to be excited. Kikuchi plays the lead role about a girl who sells fish and moonlights as an assassin, while the film promises to head into romantic territory soon enough.


Image: A scene from Map Of The Sounds Of Tokyo

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