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Cannes 2017 film US

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A bold US independent thrust in the Directors' Fortnight Line-up at Cannes

Still from The Florida Project, directed by Sean Baker, featured in the Directors' Fortnight 2017

The parallel film meet during the Cannes Film Festival run by the French Film Directors’ Guild (SRF) begins with a feature from veteran dame Claire Denis, A Beautiful Sun Inside, and closes with a debut film, Patti Cake$ by US newcomer Geremy Jasper. Says festival artistic director Edouard Waintrop, "Denis' film sets the tone of the festival where we hope to have a lot of laughs."


In between and up to the closing shot, while often prominent in this parallel section films from the US hog the 19-film line-up.

Edouard Waintrop, artistic director of the festival on the sidelines of the Cannes Film Festival makes no apologies and instead identifies a trend which he calls, “neo Neo-realismo", found across the globe and of course in films he’s selected from Italy such as L’Intrusa by Leonardo Di Costanzo who sets a story in Naples with an emotional focus on the wife of gangster in Naples.

Five first features were selected out of more than 1,600 pitches, including the only representative of Latin America in the features section, Colombian Natalia Santa’s La Defensa del Dragon (The Dragon's Defence).

Flavours of France

Cinema fun in all its forms is a Waintrop-essential and French director Bruno Dumont's Jeanette, Joan of Arc’s Childhood, is placed in the musicals category which can only be presumed to be whacky. Dumont chased after a Golden Palm in the Cannes Film Festival’s main competition last year  with Ma Loute.

The title of radio journalist Sonia Krunland’s documentary film implies she has a sense of humour calling her first film Nothingwood. It follows a stubborn cinema aficionado-director in Afghanistan.

French content is undoubtedly well-represented at the Fortnight with, in addition, Carine Tardieu’s Otez-moi d’un doute (Relieve me of a doubt) and Philippe Garrel’s L’Amant d’un jour (Lover for a day).

Eastern European cinema seems to be ticking the boxes of the various Cannes' picks these days. Lithuanian director Sharunas Bartas enlists French actress Vanessa Paradis as a reporter in his film Frost set in the separatist war in eastern Ukraine.

More rare at the international gathering, are films from or about Asian countries like Indonesia. The Fortnight presents Mouly Surya’s Marlina si pembunuh dalam empat babak. Just as rare if not more so, features from Africa or African directors. The Fortnight has chosen UK-Zambian director Rungano Nyoni’s first film, I am not a witch, which Waintrop confides also allows the audience a few laughs.

While the Fortnight hands out no prizes itself, some of its partners do at the closing ceremony on May 27th. The debut films, like those in the Critics’ Week, all compete for the Golden Camera award from the Cannes Film Festival, whose jury this year is chaired by French actress Sandrine Kiberlain.

This side-bar also stands out in Cannes because all of its shows are open to the public who however have to queue early to be sure of a seat.

DIRECTORS’ FORTNIGHT 2017 LINE-UP (in alphabetical order)

  • A CIAMBRA director Jonas Carpignano (US)
  • ALIVE IN FRANCE director Abel Ferrara (US)
  • L’AMANT D’UN JOUR director Philippe Garrel (FRANCE)
  • BUSHWICK director Cary Murnion & Jonathan Milott (US)
  • CUORI PURI director Roberto De Paolis (ITALY)
  • THE FLORIDA PROJECT director Sean Baker (US)
  • FROST director Sharunas Bartas (LITHUANIA)
  • I AM NOT A WITCH director Rungano Nyoni (ZAMBIA)
  • L’INTRUSA director Leonardo Di Costanzo (ITALY)
  • LA DEFENSA DEL DRAGÓN director Natalia Santa (COLOMBIA)
  • MOBILE HOMES director Vladimir de Fontenay (CANADA)
  • NOTHINGWOOD director Sonia Kronlund (FRANCE)
  • ÔTEZ-MOI D’UN DOUTE director Carine Tardieu (FRANCE)
  • PATTI CAKE$ director Geremy Jasper (US)
  • THE RIDER director Chloé Zhao (US)
  • UN BEAU SOLEIL INTÉRIEUR director Claire Denis (FRANCE)