10 Movies That Make Me Wish I Was at Cannes

Once again this year Film Misery will be covering the Cannes Film Festival from thousands of miles away from the Croisette. It is with great jealousy that I watch critics, journalists, and bloggers from all over the web make the trip to the most prestigious film festival of the year and read their reviews, interviews, and all around great experiences. However, I will not fret, because I know that each film that is greatly successful at Cannes will soon make it to the states…hopefuly.

Last year Cannes proved to be hugely influential in the Awards season with several of the films that premiered there in and out of competition went on to Oscar nominations including: Inglourious Basterds, The White Ribbon, A Prophet, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, and Up. This year there are fewer American films, but still a high possibility for some serious Oscar contenders to emerge.

Here are the ten films that make me incredibly jealous of everybody who is at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival:

Les Amours Imaginaires (Un Certain Regard)
Directed By: Xavier Dolan

Once again 21-year old filmmaker Xavier Dolan writes, directs, and stars in a film that could possibly be a hit at the biggest film festival of the year. Dolan’s 2009 offering I Killed My Mother received mostly positive reviews coming out of last year’s festival and he could be bettering himself with his second major  contender. The trailer for the film looks fantastic and it has a very simple plot that could turn out to be incredibly rich. Regardless of what the reaction to the film is, it is definitely clear that by getting two films selected for the most prestigious film festival in the world at the age of 21, Dolan has definitely showed himself to be a filmmaker of the future.

Another Year (In Competition)
Directed By: Mike Leigh

As usual very little is known about Mike Leigh’s latest effort that stars Jim Broadbent and Imelda Staunton as a quarreling married couple. Regardless of what the film is about it sounds like right up Mike Leigh’s alley with stars that he’s proven to work well with. I will watch Jim Broadbent in anything he does and this film sounds like it has the serio-comic tone that he does so well. I don’t expect this film to win any awards at Cannes, but I do expect to love it when it hits theatres in America.

Biutiful (In Competition)
Directed By: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has a very good track record with the Academy Awards. Each film he has appeared in has received more Oscar nominations than the last. This time he teams up with new Oscar favorite Javier Bardem. This may be the film that most Oscar prognosticators are paying close attention to this year. Don’t expect it to win any major awards, apart from a possible acting nod for Bardem.

Fair Game (In Competition)
Directed By: Doug Liman

Doug Liman’s political thriller represents America’s only chance at winning the Palme d’Or. Judging from the competition, I don’t think its chances are very good, but that does not mean I wouldn’t wait hours in line to see it first. Sean Penn and Naomi Watts look to be in top form in this story about Valerie Plame’s “outing” as a CIA agent. From the clip I get a very Michael Clayton vibe and we know how much the Academy loved Michael Clayton.

Film Socialisme (Un Certain Regard)
Directed By: Jean-Luc Godard

Not much is known about this project except that it is helmed by the legendary French auteur Jean-Luc Godard with the help of many other capable international filmmakers. I’m truly impressed that Godard, who turns 80 this year, is still releasing such intelligent and experimental films. I really haven’t seen enough of his work, which is why he is a strong candidate for next month’s Career Appreciation.

La Nostra Vita (In Competition)
Directed By: Daniele Luchetti

The only Italian film in this year’s competition is a domestic drama that features Italian actor Elio Germano. The story follows a widowed father whose financial hardships force him into criminal activity. There is no English trailer for the film yet, but watching the Italian trailer felt like watching the trailer for an American Oscar contender. It’s the type of movie that has done well with Cannes juries and hopes for some luck this year.

Of Gods and Men (In Competition)
Directed By: Xavier Beaudois

The film follows the true story of the 1996 massacre of seven French Trappist monks from Algeria. The trailer is available at the Cannes website and it looks fantastic. Beaudois’ film hopes to be only the second French film in 26 years to take home the Palme d’Or and I think it has a solid possibility to do so.

A Screaming Man (In Competition)
Directed By: Mahamat Saleh-Haroun

Set against the backdrop of the current ongoing civil war in Chad, this drama follows a father who loses his job to his own son. Neil Young’s Film Lounge gives this film the highest odds of winning the Palme d’Or at 11 to 4, which could make it the first African film to do so in over a decade. The trailer for the film is available at the Cannes website.

Tournee (On Tour) (In Competition)
Directed By: Mathieu Almaric

Well-known French actor Matthieu Almaric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, A Christmas Tale) returns to behind the camera for this comedy that stars himself as the manager of a travelling American burlesque dancer group. This will be the lightest offering in the festival and is therefore very unlikely to compete for the Palme d’Or, but just the fact that this comedy was selected means it must have something good going for it.

You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger (Out of Competition)
Directed By: Woody Allen

Naomi Watts appears in two films this festival one in competition (Fair Game) and one out (You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger). I’ve said it before and I will say it again – I will enthusiastically see any movie that Woody Allen releases. He continues to work with some of the best actors in the business, both young and old, and every few years he releases a truly great film. In You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger he continues his world tour, setting the film in Spain.

If you were at Cannes this year (or if you are at Cannes), what films would you be dying to see?

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  • I assume you have seen Leigh’s “Happy-Go-Lucky”. It was a crime that Sally Hawkins didn’t land an nomination for that performance (while Meryl Streep’s mediocre performance in “Doubt” did).

  • Wholeheartedly agree with Hawkins. Mike Leigh has a knack for directing actresses to dynamite performances and I expect him to do the same with Imelda Staunton for ‘Another Year’ in a repeat of her amazing work in Leigh’s ‘Vera Drake’.

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