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CANNES 2019

The Directors’ Fortnight: New Face, Same Vision

The Directors' Fortnight 2019 Op-Art poster questions personal viewpoints - precipice or starting block?
The Directors' Fortnight 2019 Op-Art poster questions personal viewpoints - precipice or starting block? Robert Schlaug

24 films this year make up the main list, including enticing titles like Robert Eggers' The Lighthouse starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, Takashi Miike's First Love, art filmmaker, Lav Diaz’ The Halt andBertrand Bonello’s Zombi Child.

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It’s Paola Moretti's first line-up as executive of the Directors' Fortnight, which is 51 years old this year. He replaces Edouard Waintrop who helmed from 2011 to 2018. Moretti has already worked for a string of international film festivals like La Mostra in Venice, in Leeds and Rome and more recently in France at Roche-sur-Yon.

His first programme line-up, announced in Paris on Tuesday is, he said, the result of “great teamwork with an expert committee” and contains a broad range from comedy to horror, from social realism to portraits to punchy drama and fantasy.

Fair chances

Films from four female directors made the grade including France’s own Rebecca Zlotowski's An Easy Girl starring Benoit Magimel and Afghan filmmaker Shahrbanoo Sadat’s Bollywoodian musical called The Orphanage which is “funny and profound”, according to Moretti. Two of the women directors have their first features in this selection, Molina Léon with Song Without a Name and Sick Sick Sick by Alice Furtado from Brazil.

Other debuts in the Directors' Fortnight, vying for the Cannes Caméra d’Or first-feature award are Swiss Blaise Harrison’s Les Particules and French director Erwan Le Duc’s Perdrix (working title).

Independent spirit

Most often referred to as a parallel section of the Cannes Festival, La Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, the event’s French title, is instead a “festival within a festival” says Moretti.

However, this year, unlike the official Cannes Film Festival selection, the Fortnight has decided to include a Netflix production in its line-up: Moretti and his team have selected Wounds by Babak Anvari.

The streaming company which has become a prominent producer in the space of a few years, withholds rights for film releases in theatres - a compulsory condition for a Palm winner.

Cannes president Pierre Lescure, speaking at the official selection announcement last week in Paris, said the festival continues to seek ways out of the deadlock.

Preserving its pioneer image of a festival with an entirely independent spirit, Moretti has also casually invited Luca Guadanigno (Call Me by Your Name, A Bigger Splash) who has never had a film at Cannes before.

His film without a title, set in the world of haute couture, stars Julianne Moore, Marthe Keller and Alba Rohrwacher. The music is composed by Ryuchi Sakamoto. It will have a special screening during the Fortnight.

The opening film is Le Daim or Deerskin, a comedy directed by French director Quentin Dupieux, starring Jean Dujardin and Adèle Hanael, and the closing film on 24 May will be another comedy, Yves by Benoît Forgeard.

 

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