Jauja dir. Lisandro Alonso
In one of the great coups of recent casting, Viggo Mortensen, a Danish national who grew up in Argentina plays… a Danish man living in Argentina.
The film, which may be in equal parts Spanish and Danish, appears to be a mystical, Patagonia set riff on John Ford’s The Searchers. Here, army captain Viggo goes off hunting for his wayward teenage daughter, who has run off looking for love and is living across enemy lines.
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby dir. Ned Benson
Now here’s an interesting case. Director Ned Benson has already premiered not just one, but two versions of this film in Toronto last year, and the version playing here is a wholly new edit.
Benson’s project is ambitious. He sought to depict the gradual breakup of a married couple across two separate films, one told from the perspective of the woman, one from the perspective of the man. Those two films, titled Eleanor Rigby: Her and Eleanor Rigby: Him are the ones that premiered last September. This one, with the longer title The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby edits together footage from both films to create a two-hour story told from both sides.
More ambitious still is the plan to release all three versions into theaters next fall and let audiences pick which version they want to see, though things are being handled by The Weinsteins, so that can always change.
White God dir. Kornél Mundruczó
A film, told from the perspective of a dog, about a brewing war between man and canine, meant to function as direct commentary on Western arrogance and imperialism. It is also, per its director, “a sentimental adventure film”, and his attempt to “touch a broader audience.”
So I’m interested.
Lost River dir. Ryan Gosling
In the film’s press notes, Gosling notes that he was deeply impacted by his recent acting roles, enough to anchor his directorial debut between the gritty realism of Derek Cianfrance and the Grand Guignol fantasy of Nicolas Winding Refn.
The film’s story, about a mother and son encountering a secret supernatural world, and its original title (How To Catch A Monster) certainly lean closer to one camp than the other, so we’ll just have to see what The Gos has up his sleeve.
One thing’s for certain though. With Christina Hendricks, Eva Mendes and Saoirse Ronan starring and Spring Breakers/Enter The Void cinematographer Benoit Debie shooting, the film will certainly look beautiful.
Bird People dir. Pascale Ferran
Details about this one have been sketchy at best, and it would appear intentionally so. What I do know is that it involves a young maid at an airport hotel, an American man mulling about on a layover at the same hotel and a supernatural event that connects them. Oh, and birds.
What we also know is that Pacale Ferran is one of France’s most respected directors, and someone who works deliberately and with precision. In her 30-year career, this is only her fourth feature length film, her first in almost ten years. So I guess she can afford to be coy.
Misunderstood dir. Asia Argento
The Italian filmmaker goes autobiographical. The free-flowing film, about a young girl coming of age in 1980s Rome, is meant to evoke the scattered subjectivity of its nine-year-old main character. “Like opening a collection of 20-year old photos and looking at them one by one” Argento writes. Charlotte Gainsbourg plays her mom.
A Girl At My Door dir. July Jung
An interesting looking thriller, set in rural South Korea.
A young policewomen quickly rises the management ranks in Seoul, but a censure for misconduct gets her reassigned to the sticks. In her new, small town post, she tries to protect a trusting young girl from her violent stepfather, but as often the case, the policewoman’s altruistic actions have unintended and sinister consequences.
The Blue Room dir. Mathieu Amalric
Remember what I said up there about Cannes being famously loyal? Well, every rule has its exception.
An extremely popular movie star in France, and with a short but punchy Hollywood dance card that includes Munich, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Quantum of Solace, Amalric’s last outing behind the camera, the burlesque road trip On Tour not only premiered in the OC, but actually won him the critic’s award and Best Director prize. Which makes this UCR berth somewhat eyebrow raising.
Whatever the case may be, the first images from the film, about a man who stands accused of murdering his lover, portrays it as the kind of literary-influenced erotic thriller as only the French can make. Prestige launch not, that’s more than enough for me.
The Rover dir. David Michod
Ah, this one.
Look, it’s David Michod’s follow up to Animal Kingdom. It stars Guy Pearce as an angry drifter in a post-apocalyptic Australia.
Though we’re drawing from a rather limited well, the track record of films directed by David Michod and films that take place in post-apocalyptic Australia are so goddamn strong that this one is going in saddled with expectations that are through the roof, that it should have no obligation to meet and that—
Ah, I don’t care. I want to see it, and I want to see it like now. Playing as a Midnight Projection.
The Salvation dir. Kristian Levring
I’m not sure the world really needs another ultraviolent neo-western, especially as another Midnight Projection alongside the former film, but this cast just hooks me.
As if Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green and Jonathan Pryce weren’t enough, second billed in the credits is the mercurial, storied footballer Eric Cantona, as a character called only The Corsican.
If you don’t know Cantona, you can check out Ken Loach’s (Cannes launched) valentine Looking For Eric, or just fall down the rabbit hole of YouTube videos and fan pages. You may come out the other side equally excited.