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Cannes Film Festival 2014

World cinema on show at Cannes Film Festival 2014

Cannes Film festival director Gilles Jacob at Thursday's press conference
Cannes Film festival director Gilles Jacob at Thursday's press conference ReutesBenoit Tessier

The 2014 Cannes Film Festival selection resists any temptation to be swamped by Hollywood, with films from around the world and by new talents as well as cinema veterans like Jean-Luc Godard.

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As can be expected, there’s a broad enough choice in the 2014 Cannes main competition line-up.

Among the 18 film up for the Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) award on 24 May at the time of writing are some “regulars” as artistic director Thierry Frémaux likes to call them and some new or newish blood.

For the veterans, Jean-Luc Godard with a film called Adieu au Langage (Goodbye, Language) - which just about meets the Festival’s film-length criteria at 1’10” - Ken Loach, who returns to Ireland to, as Frémaux told RFI, “ talk about today’s issues through history”, and Mike Leigh with a film about the 19th-century British painter William Turner.

On the freshers’ side, competing with the big names, Alice Rohrwacher, whose name hides her Italian origins, with her second feature film, Le Meraviglie, Damien Szifron with Relatos Salvajes (Wild Tales) and the youngest of the young, the filmworld wunderkind from Canada, Xavier Dolan. At 25 and a few weeks, Dolan’s fifth feature, Mommy, is on the list.

The selection process, begun six months ago, has to maintain balance, according to Frémaux.

“Even if I see 15 great movies from the US, I can’t compose the selection with only films from there,” he says.

The usual geographical mix at Cannes reflects where major filmmaking hubs are located but is never exhaustive.

This year, there’s a film made by seasoned Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako – Timbuktu, which looks at Mali - three films from France, two from Britain, one from Belgium, one from Italy.

The Americas are as ever well represented at Cannes with Argentinian Szifron, from Canada, Cronenberg, Egoyan and Dolan, Tommy Lee Jones and Benett Miller from the US.

There are also Nuri Bilge Ceylan from Turkey with Winter’s Sleep, Andrey Zvyagintsev from Russia with Leviathan and from Japan Naomi Kawase, well known to cinema buffs in France, with her Futatsume No Mado (Two Windows).

Luckily for Indian filmmakers in particular, the Cannes Festival effect is quite generous and prizes are awarded in other sections.

Kanu Behl’s Titli competes in the Un Certain Regard section. Bahl co-wrote LSD – Love, Sex aur Dhoka - with Dibakar Banerjee, a film which has featured in Festivals in France (FFast).

It’s one of the director’s first feature films to be competing for the Golden Camera award, along with US actor Ryan Gosling’s Lost River and UK director Andrew Hulme’s Snow in Paradise.

Dossier: Cannes Film Festival 2014

Five documentaries have been selected in the non-prize Special Show section on Syria, among them Syrian Mohammed Ossama’s Silvered Water, Ukrainian Sergei Loznitsa’s Maidan, along with films on Soviet ice hockey, the city of Sarajevo, shot by a 13-hand collective, and the role of satirical cartoonists.

Even up here in here Paris, the excitement is building ahead of the 14 May, when the Festival opens with French director Olivier Dahan’s Grace of Monaco, which is not in competition, starring Tim Roth and Nicole Kidman.

And beyond?

Festival director Gilles Jacob is retiring after 35 years of service and handing over to Pierre Lescure.

“Jacob taught me how to do this job and certainly it will be a new time for Cannes, but I’m still here. I’m not leaving,” Frémaux told RFI. “The festival has its own future. It’s a future for the people involved in cinema, including the audience.”

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