Cannes 2015: Critics' Week Selection Rich In French Flair

Contributor; Paris
Cannes 2015: Critics' Week Selection Rich In French Flair
The Cannes Film Festival is just weeks away, and as April winds its way towards May things are really picking up steam. Last week heralded both the Official Competition and the Un Certain Regard lineups, and today we saw this year's batch of Critics' Week contenders announced. 

Critics' Week, though not an official part of the Cannes festival, is what our own Ryland Aldrich likens to a kind of Slamdance to the main festival's Sundance, a kind of Cannes farm team. The independent sidebar focuses on films from first and second-time directors; up and comers making their debut on the world stage. Brand-name directors like Wong Kar-wai, Guillermo del Toro, and Alejandro González Iñárritu have broken through following Critics' Week spotlights, as have many, many more.

This year's crop skews decidedly French. Opening the festival is Elie Wajeman's The Anarchists, the story of a policeman infiltrating a cell of (you guessed it!) anarchists in 19th Century Paris. It stars Tahar Rahim (A Prophet) and Adele Exarchopoulos (Blue is the Warmest Color), two of the more electric actors of modern French cinema, and who both, it should be noted, made their splash at Cannes.

Joining them for the ride are Jeremy Renier (My Way) and Kevin Azais (Love At First Fight) in director Clement Cogitore's The Wakhan Front, a tale of soldiers finding God and war in Afghanistan, and Golshifteh Farahani (Exodus: Gods and Kings) and Louis Garrel (The Dreamers) in Garrel's own Les Deux Amis, a French New Wave riff rich in seduction, mood and cigarettes. 

From beyond France comes Trey Edward Shults' Krisha, a psychological thriller that took last month's South By Southwest by storm, and Arab & Tarzan Nasser's Dégradé, a black comedy shot and set in the Gaza Strip. 

Check out the full list below, and stay tuned for the Director's Fortnight announcement, our preview of the sixteen films in Competition and, in a few short weeks, our full festival coverage.

The Anarchists, Elie Wajeman (opening film)
La Vie en Grand, Mathieu Vadepied (closing film)
Les Deux Amis, dir: Louis Garrell (special screening) 

Dégradé, dir: Arab and Tarzan Abunasser
Krisha, dir: Trey Edward Shults
Mediterranea, dir: Jonas Carpignano
Ni le ciel, ni la terre, dir: Clement Cogitore 
Paulina, dir: Pauline Santiago Mitre 
Sleeping Giant, dir: Andrew Cividino 
La tierra y la sombra, dir: Augusto Cesar Acevedo
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