Cannes 2014 Preview

Séamas's picture

Séamas McSwiney has decades of experience in film journalism, and work published in some top international publications. As our guest film correspondent he will be sending us special reports from the Cannes 2014 film festival, starting with this preview.

It's that time of year again, where Glamour, Art and Business get together on the Riviera, in search of attention, glory and profit.

The press conference to announce the fifty or so films in the Official Selection of the Festival de Cannes, (Competition, Un Certain Regard, Out-of-Competition, Midnight screenings, etc) was a jovial event, it being the last over which Gilles Jacob would preside.

He and the General Delegate, Thierry Frémaux, were sat beside the official posters featuring a shot of Marcello Mastroianni from Fellini's . He's the Cannes ‘poster boy' to counter the recent series of alluring actresses who have adorned recent years' posters, considered by some to be a tad sexist. Marcello is therefore this year's ‘male object' for the ogling eyes of all admirers.

The opener on May 14th will be Grace de Monaco starring Nicole Kidman, a film that already has tongues wagging regarding the "creative control" discussions between the French director Olivier Dahan and the US studio that produced this Grace Kelly epic. Fashionistas, gossip mongers and historians will have their opera glasses firmly trained on this one.

Cannes is the opposite of the Oscars, insofar as it is deliberately shrouded in secrecy and surprise. For the Oscars, a handful of already successful films of similar origin are discussed for months before. Cannes requires exclusivity and mystery and loves surprise. Most films will have never been screened before and are unveiled following a red carpet parade twice a day during the festival. Some are films by Cannes regulars and others by relative unknowns who have caught the attention of the Cannes selectors, and are chosen from a thousand hopefuls from all corners of the globe. Cannes is the ephemeral capital of world cinema.

Thierry Fremaux went a step further and asked those who already knew, not to reveal some of the surprising actors appearing in two of the films in competition. This year's notables include Jean-Luc Godard's return, at 83, with a slim volume titled Adieu to Language and at the other end of the age scale, 25-year old Xavier Dolan, forever exploring the darker reaches of relationships and sexuality, brings his Mummy.

From Britain, two stalwarts of Cannes and more appreciated in France than Albion, Ken Loach and Mike Leigh arrive each with historical perspectives. In Jimmy's Hall, Loach looks at Ireland in the ‘30s and the conflict between a communist activist and the newly emboldened and conservative Catholic Church. In Leigh's opus, Timothy Spall plays the eponymous lead role of the great British painter in Mr Turner.

Mauritanian Abderrahmane Sissako brings Timbuktu, the desert crossroads of the recent strife in Mali, while The Artist director Michel Hazanavicius, in a radical change of register takes us to Chechnya in The Search to look at the war that took place there.

And then there's Cronenberg, Tommy Lee Jones, the Dardenne Brothers, Atom Egoyan...the list goes on.

For much, much more visit the Cannes official site, and read more posts by Seamas here.

Share with friends