Friday 22 April 2011

Cannes Film Festival 2011: The surprises

And rounding up our comments about the official selection of the Cannes Film Festival, a few unexpected choices:

Polisse by Maiwenn

For the international audience, French actress/director Maiwenn is only known for her small part as the blue alien diva in Luc Besson's The six element. A few gorehounds also know her for her part in Switchblade Romance (aka High Tension) by Alexandre Aja. Yet she has built herself an interesting career in France, before turning her attention to directing. Indeed, Polisse is her third film already, her two first films having been fairly well received in her own country.

So the festival is now going to put her into intense spotlight with her latest offering, the story of a journalist who falls for the subject of her investigation, a juvenile delinquent. It has been a tradition for the festival to let the (usually French) media savagely destroy a French film every year, so either Maiwenn truly deserved the graduation to the official selection, or the festival has find a sacrificial lamb.

Hara-Kiri: Death of a samurai by Takashi Miike

After the absolutely fantastic 13 Assassins (finally out in the UK in May 2011), which garnered some excellent reviews, it is still a surprise to see Takashi Miike, the prolific Japanese director responsible for such extreme movies as Audition and Zebraman 2, in the official selection and in competition. Not that the festival has ever been scared of violence, but I was more expecting this in one of the midnight out of competition slots. His new film will be in 3D, so expect some 3D splatter to liven up the festival!

Sleeping beauty by Julia Leigh

Having your first time presented under such intense scrutiny can be a mixed blessing. So first time Australian director Julia Leigh must be trying to calm her nerves right now. Her film, produced by Jane Campion is described as an erotic fairytale "drawn into a mysterious world of beauty and desire". If there is one genre that is notoriously difficult, it is the erotic film, and looking at the trailer, this could either reach the elegant and disturbing heights of Blue velvet, or be shot down in flames by critics.

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