April 15, 2011 11:11:01 AM IST Rajesh Kumar Singh, Glamsham Editorial
The 64th Festival de Cannes line up of 20 Competition films that was unveiled on 14th April, 2011, by the top festival officials Gilles Jacob and Thierry Fremaux at the Grand Hotel, Paris, looks like a celebration of European cinema, with a few non-European films making it to the prestigious Competition list. They include Israel's FOOTNOTE by Josef Cedar, and two Japanese films 'HANEZU NO TSUKI', by Naomi Kawase and ICHIMEI (HARA-KIRI: DEATH OF A SAMURAI) by Takashi Miike. There are eight films from France, co-productions or otherwise, and three from US including a UK-US collaboration WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN by Lynne Ramsay. Surprisingly, there is not a single Korean or Thai film in the line up. The last year's Palme d'Or winner was a Thai film UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
Big art house films by Cannes veterans and past winners crowd the competition list. You name them and they are there - from Aki Kaurismaki with his film LE HAVRE a Finnish, French, and German co-production, to Lars von Trier ('MELANCHOLIA,' Denmark-Sweden-France-Germany-Italy) and Pedro Almodovar (THE SKIN THAT I INHABIT, Spain). There are just two films by débutantes in the list dominated by the giants - MICHAEL by Markus Schleinzer (Austria) and SLEEPING BEAUTY by Julia Leigh (Australia).
In spite of a lot of hype and hoopla about Cannes in India not a single Indian name is seen in the Cannes programme announced thus far, including the Cinefondation line up. It seems that our 'new age' filmmakers have to work harder to make it to the world stage. Much speculated DELHI BELLY is not there in the list, neither is Nitin Desai's Bal Gandharv film. They may probably have their première in Marche Du Film (Cannes Film Market). There has been a lot of news in the Indian media about some short films making it to the Short Film Corner section of the festival. That list is yet to be announced officially. Let us hope we find some Indian names there.
(Rajesh Kumar Singh is Editorial Consultant for Festivals and Markets for BollywoodTrade.com. He is a filmmaker, critic and market analyst)