News from Canne

The nominees for the 61st edition of the Cannes Film Festival were announced in Paris Wednesday morning. In all, 54 films have been selected, with 20 in the Official Competition section running for the coveted Golden Palm, and 19 films in the “Un Certain Regard” category, a parallel section that features more independent and personal works.

The jury, presided by American actor-director Sean Penn, includes Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman and Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Two other members are to be announced soon.

While Latin American films are prominent in this years’ selection, with 4 films selected in all, international media is likely to focus on films from across the Atlantic – Clint Eastwood’s The Changeling and Steven Soderbergh’s Che, a 4-hour adaptation of Che Guevara’s life being possible prizewinners.

In the out of competition section, Woody Allen’s latest film and the world premiere of Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will add the touch of glamour characteristic of the Cannes Festival.

Other prizes up for grabs are the Grand Prix, the special Jury Prize and prizes for best director as well as male and female acting performances. The Golden Camera will be awarded to the best first film.

The unstoppable Cannes ‘regulars’
The selected feature films from a total of nearly 1,800 entries showcase an array of Cannes ‘regulars,’ without whom no edition of the festival is complete.

Returning directors include two-time Golden Palm winners the Dardenne Brothers with Le Silence de Lorna (Lorna’s Silence), Wim Wenders with The Palermo Shooting and Atom Egoyan with Adoration, all competing for the Golden Palm. Other favourites include Taiwanese director Hao Hsieu Hsien, and French directors Olivier Assayas and Bruno Dumont who make their Cannes comebacks as jury members.

Special screenings have been arranged to accommodate films by former jury presidents Wong Kar-Wai and Emir Kusturica. The former presents a re-edited version of his film Ashes of Time, while the latter has been slotted for a midnight screening of a 2006 documentary about legendary footballer Diego Maradona. Quentin Tarantino, another former jury president, will, for his part, treat festival goers with a cinema ‘masterclass,’ given by Martin Scorcese last year.

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Cannes Critics Week, which runs in parallel with the film festival next month, is placing its 2008 spotlight on budding talent from across Europe, in contrast with last year’s South American flavour.

“We were struck this year by the power and diversity of young European film-makers, while last year we were flooded by offers from Latin America,” the head of the May 15-23 event, Jean-Christophe Berjon, told AFP.

Of the seven films selected Thursday to compete for the Critics Week award for a best first or second feature, one is from Argentina while the others are from Britain, Bosnia, Belgium, Germany, France and Russia.

A first movie by Britain’s Duane Hopkins, “Better Things”, for example focuses on sex and drugs among teenagers in rural England while Germany’s “The Stranger In Me” by Emily Atef is about a happily pregnant woman who cannot cope with her baby after the birth once it is born.

Following is the list of films chosen:

“The stranger in me” (Das fremde in mir) by Emily Atef, Germany

“Moscow, Belgium” (Aanrijding in Moscou) by Christophe van Rompaey, Belgium

“Better things” by Duane Hopkins, Britain

“La sangre brota” by Pablo Fendrik, Argentina

“Les grandes personnes” by Anna Novion, France

“Snow” (Snijeg) by Aida Begic, Bosnia/France

“Everybody dies but me” (Vse umrut a ja ostanus) by Valeria Gaia Germanica, Russia.

Information sourced from


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