Cannes 2013 Preview: Critics' Week and Directors' Fortnight Sidebars

Editor, Festivals; Los Angeles, California (@RylandAldrich)
Cannes 2013 Preview: Critics' Week and Directors' Fortnight Sidebars

It's that wonderful time of the year again where brightest stars of the film world take to the French Riviera to unveil their latest masterpieces -- with a few duds likely thrown in as well. Yes it's almost time for the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival and ScreenAnarchy European Editor Brian Clark and Festivals Editor Ryland Aldrich will be there in our tuxedos to tell the faithful ScreenAnarchy audience just which films flip and which films flop. (Actually we'll probably just be wearing jeans and t-shirts at the press screenings, but what's the difference?)

The festival kicks off Wednesday with the opening night out-of-competition screening of The Great Gatsby. You've already read one opinion of that, but Brian and I will be previewing quite a few of the films that have yet to premiere over the next three days. We'll start things today with a look at a few of the titles playing in the Critics' Week and Directors' Fortnight sidebars. Check back tomorrow as we dive into the Palmes d'Or competition and let us know what you're most excited to see!

Critics' Week

A mafia killer in Palermo goes on an assignment to murder a family and unwittingly, and mysteriously, restores the sight of a 20-year-old blind girl. It's quite a setup, and besides that, Palermo is a mysterious, decrepit and beautiful city and I can't wait to see how directors Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza use it. -Brian Clark

David Lowery's Sundance fave makes its way to Europe via the Critics' Week sidebar. Expect the French to eat up the meaty performances by Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, and Ben Foster, though the heavy comparisons to films by Terrence Malick could cause some ire as well. -Ryland Aldrich

YOU AND THE NIGHT (aka Les recontres d'apres minuit or Meetings After Midnight)
A comedy about a couple who tries to throw an orgy to spice up their lives. It's true that for every great sex-comedy, there are nine bad ones, but I like to gamble. Alain Delon's son, Alain-Fabien, stars as one of the invitees. -BC

Directors' Fortnight

We've been talking about Erik Matti's prisoners-as-hitmen thriller since back in 2011. The long awaited Filipino star-maker is finally ready for prime time and the trailer shows loads of promise. -RA

Two female cops (Isabelle Huppert and Sandrine Kiberlain) with very extreme and disparate approaches to love and sexuality team up to investigate the death of a police informant. Meanwhile, a third male cop (Francois Damiens) spies on them. Sounds like a great recipe for a farcical thriller. This one was adapted from the novel by Bill James. -BC

Ari Folman's fourth feature and follow-up to the much lauded Cannes 2008 title Waltz with Bashir is another hybrid of live action and animation, this time centered on a future Robin Wright exploring the end of her career. -RA

A sci-fi thriller about very unfriendly life on Mars starring Liev Schreiber, this is the first evil-alien movie that I can recall playing in the Director's Fortnight. -BC

Cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky makes two appearances in the director's fortnight this year, once with a movie he never got to make, and once with a new one that he actually completed. The former, Jordorowsky's Dune is a documentary by Frank Pavich that chronicles the director's failed attempt to bring Frank Herbert's novel to screen. The second is Jordorowsky's adpatation of his own autobiographical novel, which is said to be, not surprisingly, very surreal. -BC

The more star-studded of Chilean Sebastian Silva's two Sundance-premiering features, this story about an American tourist losing her shit stars Juno Temple, Michael Cera, Emily Browning, and Catalina Sandino Moreno. A US distribution deal has yet to be announced for the picture, though the other Silva Sundancer Crystal Fairy will hit theaters from IFC this summer. -RA

Last year, I really wanted to see Anurag Kashyap's Gangs of Wasseypur, but unfortunately, a 320-minute movie, no matter how good, would have wreaked complete havoc on my already hectic Cannes schedule. But this new psychological kidnapping thriller is only 128 minutes! Let's do it! -BC

Another Sundance Midnighter in the Cannes mix is Jim Mickle's third feature after Mulberry Street and Stake Land. Check out Sean Smithson's review of the "tastefully macabre" cannibal thriller here. -RA

I didn't think that Jeremy Saulnier's last movie, Murder Party, was a masterpiece, but I was extremely impressed with how much fun it was, especially considering that its art-hipster satire sounded so weak and easy when I first read the synopsis. His new one, about a beach bum bent on vengeance who discovers that he's not actually a very good killer, sounds more intriguing, and the programmers thought it was good enough for a coveted competition spot in the lineup, so I'm hopeful. -BC

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