Cannes sidebar festivals pay tribute to Resnais, boost Bradford
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Don’t ignore the sidebar festivals at Cannes. Two low-key festivals are well known to a limited public and serve as a launchpad for cinematic talent. And one of them will be paying special tribute to the late French director Alain Resnais.
Since their beginnings in the 1960s La Quinzaine des Réalisateurs (The Director’s Fortnight) and La Semaine de la Critique (The Critic’s Week) have often been ground-breakers, talent-spotting the cinema heavyweights of the future, for example Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets, which took off after showing at the Quinzaine exactly 40 years ago.
La Semaine de la Critique has opened the door to the likes of Ken Loach, whose film Jimmy’s Hall is in the official festival’s main competition in 2014, as well as Amos Gitai, Wong Kar Wai, Guillermo del Toro, Jacques Audiard and Andrea Arnold.
This year, the Semaine opens on 15 May with a film called FLA - which stands for Faire l'Amour (Make Love) by Haitian Djinn Carrénard - about love in times of migration.
It’s followed by an international selection of debut and second-time films.
The 46th Quinzaine opens with French director Céline Sciamma's third film, Girlhood, the third in a trilogy about adolescent sexuality.
Among its line-up of 19 feature films, seven are in English, while others are in French, Hebrew and Spanish.
For the second year running La Quinzaine’s artistic director, Edouard Waintrop, and his team have selected a film from Bradford in the north of England - Catch Me Daddy by Daniel Wolfe.
In 2013, their choice was The Selfish Giant by Clio Barnard.
Bradford is generally better known for its precipitation levels than its cinematic output.
Is a new cine-wood emerging? Brollywood?
The closing film for the Quinzaine is The Pride by Matthew Warchus.
It takes place in 1984 when gay rights campaigners from London joined forces with striking miners from Wales.
Waintrop’s three selections have been marked by a taste for humour.
“We show that serious topics can be treated with comedy,” he says. “It’s one of our fundamentals.”
Putting the role of these often-overlooked festivals in perspective, what would Hollywood be without Scorsese and thus without La Quinzaine des Réalisateurs?
This Quinzaine opening, like others before it, gives a nod to the past as well as to today and tomorrow.
The annual Carrosse d'Or (Golden Carriage) award for a lifetime’s achievement is being awarded to Alain Resnais, the French film-maker who died in March, aged 91, just as his last film, The Life of Riley - a theatre-on-film adaptation of Alan Aykbourn’s play - reached the screens in France.
If you’re in Cannes don’t miss a special screening at the Quinzaine of a restored version of the genre landmark Texas Chainsaw Massacre by Tobe Hooper made in 1974.
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