By Jake Howell jake.howell@utoronto.ca

Divining Cannes 2013

Sundance and Berlin are receding into the haze of early 2013 and all eyes now look to May and the Cannes Film Festival—as well the annual guessing game as to the likely Palme d’Or challengers.

History offers hints. In any given year, Cannes is rich with Competition alumni. Last year’s Palme slate was dominated by past winners and challengers, with veterans accounting for 16 of the 22 films (or ~73% of the total). Of the remaining 2012 Competition contenders, only John Hillcoat, Wes Anderson, and Andrew Dominik had never premiered a film on the Croisette—Lee Daniels played Un Certain Regard with 2009’s Precious, Yousry Nasrallah’s The Gate of the Sun screened out of Competition in 2004, and Jeff Nichols won Critics’ Week in 2011 with Take Shelter.

Cannes 2013 isn’t likely to deviate from this formula.

I’ve compiled an alphabetical list of the 150 filmmakers who have debuted films in Competition since 2003, a decade defined by the choices of Cannes artistic director (and now delegate general) Thierry Frémaux, who started taking the reins in 2001 as part of what his predecessor Gilles Jacob called “the start of a new chapter” of the festival. Working on the theory that Cannes will once again select many Palme alumni to compete for the Festival’s most prestigious prize, we can make some safe extrapolations from the data.

The finished 2013 slate will likely include films not found below, but my scope is not all-encompassing. For example, Baz Luhrmann has not played in Competition since 2001’s Moulin Rouge, but The Great Gatsby is heavily rumored to see the light of day in the south of France this May. Furthermore, had I included the 2002 Festival in my research, Roman Polanski would also be listed (who, in fact, has Venus in Fur to release this year).

Below, my math has yielded three separate lists: the first is a condensation of sorts; a final, plausible pool of films by directors with Competition experience in the last decade (2003-2012) that should or will be ready for May.

The second list shows Competition veterans that have, according to the Internet Movie Database, films releasing this year (whether or not they are in pre-production).

The third list is every Competition veteran since 2003. If a director had nothing listed for the foreseeable future on their IMDb page, I wrote “NDPL” (No Directing Prospects Listed) next to their name. As it always is with films in the ether, some of these listings may be inaccurate.

Palme d’Or 2013: Best Guesses of Possible Returning Competitors

Almodóvar, Pedro – I’m So Excited (2013, June 28 release)

Breillat, Catherine – Abus de Faiblesse (2013, starring Isabelle Huppert, Aug 28 release)

Coen, Joel and Ethan – Inside Llewyn Davis (2013, release Dec 4)

Coixet, Isabel – Panda Eyes (2013, Sept 2nd release)

Coppola, Sofia – The Bling Ring (2013, with Emma Watson and Leslie Mann, June 5 release)

Desplechin, Arnaud – Jimmy Picard (2013, starring Benicio Del Toro, Mathieu Amalric)

Egoyan, Atom – Devil’s Knot (2013, completed)

Folman, Ari – The Congress (2013, starring Paul Giamatti, Harvey Keitel)

Garcia, Nicole – Il est parti dimanche (2013, post-production)

Gray, James – Lowlife (2013, Jeremy Renner, Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard)

Hou, Hsiao-Hsien – The Assassin (2013, wrapping production in April)

Jarmusch, Jim – Only Lovers Left Alive (2013, Dec 5, with Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska)

Jaoui, Agnès – L’art de la fugue (2013, completed)

Koreeda, Hirokazu – Soshite chichi ni naru (2013, Oct 5th release)

Kurosawa, Kiyoshi – Real (2013, June 1 release)

Malick, Terrence – Knight of Cups (2013)

Miike, Takashi – Straw Shield (2013, release April 26)

Miller, Frank and Robert Rodriguez – Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2013, October 4)

Sorrentino, Paolo – La grande bellezza (2013, April 11 release Italy)

To, Johnnie – Man Tam (2013)

Tsai, Ming-Liang – Diary of a Young Boy (2013, post-production)

Winding Refn, Nicolas – Only God Forgives (2013, May 23 release, starring Ryan Gosling)

Some notes: 

— With nine Competition films under his belt, Lars von Trier would normally be considered a sure thing for a Palme slot. However, due to his ill-considered remarks about Hitler at the 2011 Festival, the director is still pegged as persona non grata at Cannes. There are also doubts circling about whether Nymphomaniac would even be ready in time for a May premiere. As such, von Trier’s Competition eligibility remains up in the air.

—Héctor Babenco, Amos Gitai, and Emir Kusturica (all recent Competition alumni) are attached to Words with Gods, which sounds similar to 2012’s 7 Days in Havana. This compilation film is a good bet for an Out-of-Competition or Un Certain Regard slot.

Sin City vied in Competition in 2005; it’s reasonable to think the sequel would as well (assuming it’s done in time).

—Because the 2012 Competition line-up featured zero women (and Sundance 13’s U.S. Dramatic showing an equal dispersion, with 8 men and 8 women), it’s possible this year’s Competition slate will try to make amends, giving Catherine Breillat, Sophia Coppola, Agnès Jaoui, and others a stronger shot at a Palme position.

Cannes alumni with projects expected to emerge this year

Almodóvar, Pedro – I’m So Excited (2013, June 28 release)

Avati, Pupi – Miniseries: Un Matrimonio (2013)

Babenco, Héctor – Words with Gods (2013, segment)

Breillat, Catherine – Abus de Faiblesse (2013, Isabelle Huppert, August 28 release)

Campion, Jane (Top of the Lake, TV Series, debuting Sundance Channel 2013)

Coen, Joel and Ethan – Inside Llewyn Davis (2013, release Dec 4)

Coixet, Isabel 3 – Panda Eyes (2013, Sept 20th release)

Coppola, Sofia – The Bling Ring (2013, Emma Watson / Leslie Mann, June 5 release)

Cronenberg, David – Maps to the Stars (2013, pre-production)

Daniels, Lee – The Butler (2013, major A-list talent; including Oprah Winfrey)

Del Toro, Guillermo – Pacific Rim (2013, release July 12)

Desplechin, Arnaud – Jimmy Picard (2013, Benicio Del Toro, Mathieu Amalric)

Dominik, Andrew – Blonde (no date)

Egoyan, Atom – Devil’s Knot (2013, completed)

Folman, Ari – The Congress (2013, Paul Giamatti, Harvey Keitel)

Garcia, Nicole – Il est parti dimanche (2013, post-production)

Garrel, Philippe – La jalousie (2013, pre-production)

Gitai, Amos – Words with Gods (2013, segment)

Gray, James – Lowlife (2013, Jeremy Renner, Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard)

Greenaway, Peter – Eisenstein in Guanajuato (2013, pre-production)

Hazanavicius, Michel – untitled project (2013, pre-production)

Hillcoat, John – Triple Nine (2013, pre-production)

Hong, Sang-soo – Nugu-ui Ttal-do Anin (2013, Berlinale release), two other rumoured titles (2013)

Hou, Hsiao-Hsien – The Assassin (2013, wrapping production in April)

Iñárritu, Alejandro González – Birdman (2013, pre-production)

Jarmusch, Jim – Only Lovers Left Alive (2013, Dec 5, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska)

Jaoui, Agnès – L’art de la fugue (2013, completed)

Jones, Tommy Lee – The Homesman (2013, pre-production, Meryl Streep, TLJ, Hilary Swank, shoots March 19th)

Kaufman, Charlie – Anomalisa (2013, pre-production)

Kelly, Richard – Corpus Christi (2013, pre-production)

Koreeda, Hirokazu – Soshite chichi ni naru (2013, Oct 5th release)

Kurosawa, Kiyoshi – Real (2013, June 1st release date)

Kusturica, Emir – Words with Gods (2013, segment)

Malick, Terrence – Knight of Cups (2013)

Meirelles, Fernando – Rio, eu te amo (2013, pre-production, starts August 2013)

Miike, Takashi – Straw Shield (2013, release April 26)

Miller, Frank – Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2013, October 4)

Ozon, François – Jeune et Jolie (2013)

Rodriguez, Robert – Machete Kills (2013, Sept 13 release), Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2013)

Soderbergh, Steven – Behind the Candelabra (2013, TV movie, Matt Damon, Michael Douglas, post-production)

Sorrentino, Paolo – La grande bellezza (2013, April 11 release Italy)

Tavernier, Bertrand – Quai d’Orsay (2013, filming)

Tsai, Ming-Liang – Diary of a Young Boy (2013, post-production)

To, Johnnie – Man Tam (2013)

von Trier, Lars – Nymphomaniac (2013, May 30 release)

Winding Refn, Nicolas – Only God Forgives (2013, May 23 release, Ryan Gosling)

Wong, Kar-wai – The Grandmaster (2013, has already premiered)

Cannes Competition alumni, 2003-2012:

Adamson, Andrew – NDPL
Akin, Fatih – NDPL
Almodóvar, Pedro – I’m So Excited (2013, May 3 release)
Amalric, Mathieu – NDPL
Anderson, Wes – Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Arcand, Denys – Deux Nuits (2014)
Arnold, Andrea – NDPL
Asbury, Kelly – Kazorn (2014)
Assayas, Olivier – NDPL
Audiard, Jacques – NDPL
Avati, Pupi – Miniseries: Un Matrimonio (2013)
Beauvois, Xavier – NDPL
Bellocchio, Marco – NDPL
Belvaux, Lucas – NDPL
Blier, Bertrand – NDPL
Babenco, Héctor – Words with Gods (2013, segment)
Bonello, Bertrand – NDPL
Bouchareb, Rachid – NDPL
Breillat, Catherine – Abus de Faiblesse (2013, Isabelle Huppert)
Caetano, Israel Adrián – NDPL
Campion, Jane (Top of the Lake, TV Series, 2013)
Cantet, Laurent – NDPL
Carax, Leos – NDPL
Cavalier, Alain – NDPL
Cedar, Joseph – Jerusalem, I Love You (2014)
Ceylan, Nuri Bilge – NDPL
Coen, Joel and Ethan – Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
Coixet, Isabel – Panda Eyes (2013)
Coppola, Sofia – The Bling Ring (2013, Emma Watson / Leslie Mann, June release)
Costa, Pedro – NDPL
Cronenberg, David – Maps to the Stars (2013, pre-production)
Dardenne, Jean-Pierre and Luc – NDPL
Daniels, Lee – The Butler (2013, major A-list talent; Oprah Winfrey)
Del Toro, Guillermo – Pacific Rim (2013)
Desplechin, Arnaud – Jimmy Picard (2013)
Dominik, Andrew – Blonde (No date)
Dumont, Bruno – NDPL
Eastwood, Clint – NDPL
Egoyan, Atom – Devil’s Knot (2013)
Fincher, David – NDPL
Folman, Ari – The Congress (2013, Paul Giamatti, Harvey Keitel)
Gallo, Vincent – NDPL
Garcia, Nicole – Il est parti dimanche (2013)
Garrel, Philippe – La jalousie (2013, pre-production)
Garrone, Matteo – NDPL
Gatlif, Tony – NDPL
Giannoli, Xavier – NDPL
Gitai, Amos – Words with Gods (2013, segment)
Giordana, Marco Tullio – NDPL
Gray, James – Lowlife (2013, Jeremy Renner, Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard)
Greenaway, Peter – Eisenstein in Guanajuato (2013, pre-production)
Haneke, Michael – NDPL
Haroun, Mahamat-Saleh – NDPL
Hazanavicius, Michel – untitled project (2013, pre-production)
Hillcoat, John – Triple Nine (2013, pre-production)
Hong, Sang-soo – Nugu-ui Ttal-do Anin (2013), two other rumoured titles (2013)
Honoré, Christophe – NDPL
Hopkins, Stephen – NDPL
Hou, Hsiao-Hsien – The Assassin (2013, wrapping production in April)
Im, Sang-soo – NDPL
Iñárritu, Alejandro González – Birdman (2013, pre-production)
Jarmusch, Jim – Only Lovers Left Alive (2013, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska)
Jaoui, Agnès – L’art de la fugue (2013)
Jones, Tommy Lee – The Homesman (2013, pre-production, Meryl Streep, TLJ, Hilary Swank)
Kawase, Naomi – NDPL
Kaufman, Charlie – Anomalisa (2013, pre-production,
Kaurismäki, Aki – NDPL
Khoo, Eric – NDPL
Kiarostami, Abbas – NDPL
Kim, Ki-Duk – NDPL
Kitano, Takeshi – NDPL
Kelly, Richard – Corpus Christi (2013, pre-production)
Koreeda, Hirokazu – Soshite chichi ni naru (2013)
Kurosawa, Kiyoshi – Real (2013, June 1st release date)
Kusturica, Emir – Words with Gods (2013, segment)
Larrieu, Arnaud and Jean-Marie – NDPL
Lee, Ang – NDPL
Lee, Chang-dong – NDPL
Leigh, Julia – NDPL
Leigh, Mike – NDPL
Liman, Doug – Everest (2014, pre-production)
Linklater, Richard – Before Midnight (2013, has already premiered at Sundance and Berlin)
Loach, Ken – The Spirit of ’45 (2013, March 15th release)
Lou, Ye – NDPL
Loznitsa, Sergei – NDPL
Luchetti, Daniele – NDPL
Maïwenn – NDPL
Makhmalbaf, Samira – NDPL
Malick, Terrence – Knight of Cups (2013)
Masahiro, Kobayashi – NDPL
Mamoru, Oshii – The Last Druid: Garm Wars (2014)
Martel, Lucrecia – NDPL
Meirelles, Fernando – Rio, eu te amo (2013)
Mendoza, Brillante – NDPL
Mihăileanu, Radu – NDPL
Miike, Takashi – Straw Shield (2013)
Mikhalkov, Nikita – NDPL
Miller, Claude – NDPL
Miller, Frank – Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2013)
Moll, Dominik – NDPL
Moore, Michael – NDPL
Moretti, Nanni – NDPL
Mundruczó, Kornél – NDPL
Mungiu, Cristian – NDPL
Nadjari, Raphael – NDPL
Nasrallah, Yousry – NDPL
Nichols, Jeff – NDPL
Noé, Gaspar – NDPL
Nossiter, Jonathan – NDPL
Ozon, François – Jeune et Jolie (2013?)
Park, Chan-wook – Stoker (2013)
Paronnaud, Vincent – NDPL
Ramsay, Lynne – Jane Got a Gun (2014, pre-production)
Resnais, Alain – NDPL
Reygadas, Carlos – NDPL
Rodriguez, Robert – Machete Kills (2013), Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2013)
Ruiz, Raúl – RIP
Saleem, Hiner – NDPL
Salles, Walter – NDPL
Satrapi, Marjane – The Voices (pre-production)
Seidl, Ulrich – NDPL
Schleinzer, Markus – NDPL
Schnabel, Julian – NDPL
Soderbergh, Steven – Behind the Candelabra (2013, TV movie, Matt Damon, Michael Douglas)
Sokourov, Alexander – NDPL
Sorrentino, Paolo – La grande bellezza (2013, April 11th release Italy)
Suleiman, Elia – NDPL
Tarantino, Quentin – NDPL
Tarr, Béla – NDPL
Tavernier, Bertrand – Quai d’Orsay (2013)
Téchiné, André – NDPL
Thomas, Daniela – NDPL
To, Johnnie – Man Tam (2013)
Trapero, Pablo – NDPL
Tsai, Ming-Liang – Diary of a Young Boy (2013, post-production)
Van Sant, Gus – NDPL
Vernon, Conrad – NDPL
Vinterberg, Thomas – NDPL
von Trier, Lars – Nymphomaniac (2013)
Wang, Xiaoshuai – NDPL
Weerasethakul, Apichatpong – NDPL
Weingartner, Hans – NDPL
Wenders, Wim – Every Thing Will Be Fine (2014, pre-production)
Winding Refn, Nicolas – Only God Forgives (2013, May 23rd release, Ryan Gosling)
Wong, Kar-wai – The Grandmaster (2013)
Zhangke, Jia – NDPL
Zviaguintsev, Andrei – NDPL

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Tsangari: With my next film, White Knuckles, it comes with a budget — it’s going to be a huge new world for me. As always when I enter into a new thing, don’t you wonder how it’s going to be and how much of yourself you are going to have to sacrifice? The ballet of all of this. I’m already imaging the choreography — not of the camera, but the choreography of actually bringing it to life. It is as fascinating as the shooting itself. I find the producing as exciting as the directing. The one informs the other. There is this producer-director hat that I constantly wear. I’ve been thinking about these early auteurs, like Howard Hawks and John Ford and Preston Sturges—all of these guys basically were hired by the studio, and I doubt they had final cut, and somehow they had films that now we can say they had their signatures.  There are different ways of being creative within the parameters and limitations of production. The only thing you cannot negotiate is stupidity.
Filmmaker: And unfortunately, there is an abundance of that in the world.
Tsangari: This is the only big risk: stupidity. Everything else is completely worked out in the end.
~ Chevalier‘s Rachel Athina Tsangari

“The middle-range movies that I was doing have largely either stopped being made, or they’ve moved to television, now that television is a go-to medium for directors who can’t get work in theatricals, because there are so few theatricals being made. But also with the new miniseries concept, you can tell a long story in detail without having to cram it all into 90 minutes. You don’t have to cut the characters and take out the secondary people. You can actually put them all on a big canvas. And it is a big canvas, because people have bigger screens now, so there’s no aesthetic difference between the way you shoot a movie and the way you shoot a TV show.

“Which is all for the good. But what’s happened in the interim is that theatrical movies being a spectacle business are now either giant blockbuster movies that run three hours—even superhero movies run three hours, they used to run like 58 minutes!—and the others, which are dysfunctional family independent movies or the slob comedy or the kiddie movie, and those are all low-budget. So the middle ground of movies that were about things, they’re just gone. Or else they’re on HBO. Like the Bryan Cranston LBJ movie, which years ago would’ve been made for theaters.

“You’ve got people like Paul Schrader and Walter Hill who can’t get their movies theatrically distributed because there’s no market for it. So they end up going to VOD, and VOD is a model from which no one makes any money, because most of the time, as soon as they get on the site, they’re pirated. So the whole model of the system right now is completely broken. And whether or not anybody’s going to try to fix, or if it even can be fixed, I don’t know. But it’s certainly not the same business that I got into in the ’70s.”
~ Joe Dante

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