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Lars von Trier's Cannes comeback, Terry Gilliam's Don Qixote world première

US-born British film director Terry Gilliam at the Opera Bastille in Paris, March 2018. His film, The Man who Killed Don Qixote will mark the close of the 71st Cannes Festival.
US-born British film director Terry Gilliam at the Opera Bastille in Paris, March 2018. His film, The Man who Killed Don Qixote will mark the close of the 71st Cannes Festival. STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP
Text by: Rosslyn Hyams
3 min

As promised one week ago, the Cannes Film Festival has added three films to the Golden Palm competition line-up. As Thierry Frémaux, the festival executive director, hinted at the time, the festival has lifted the ban on Danish director Lars von Trier. Another eagerly awaited piece of news, Terry Gilliam's film about the legendary Don Qixote, which has been more than 20 years in the making, will première at Cannes, and will be the closing film.


The Festival's frequent promise of more film titles in between the announcement of the line-up in April and the opening night in May always creates suspense, this year even more so.

However, because of rumours circulating for more than a year, the lifting of the ban on Cannes Golden Palm winner of 2000 comes as only half a surprise. Lars von Trier's latest film, The House that Jack Built starring Uma Thurman and Matt Dillon will  have its première out-of-competition. At the same time as restoring his relationship with Cannes 18 years after he won the top prize for the musical drama Dancer in the Dark, the announcement is an attempt to restore the Danish filmmaker's reputation. Von Trier has always maintained that the remarks he made at a press conference at Cannes in 2011 about his empathy with Hitler, were made in jest and he hasn't been invited back since that year and his film Melancholia won the best actress award for US star Kirsten Dunst.

The other huge hint that was dropped at the press conference in mid-April was about ex-Monty Python, Terry Gilliam's film, The Man who Killed Don Qixote. The fantasy-adventure-comedy loosely based on the Cervantes story, stars Jonathan Pryce as the ageing cavalier, and Adam Driver as a young man he mistakes for Sanchez.

The Festival had said it was waiting for news about the outcome of court proceedings holding up the world première of the film. Gilliam began working on it in the 1980s, began shooting in 2000, and made a documentary called Lost in La Mancha in 2002, which captured the trials and tribulations which had beset what seemed like an ill-fated project.

The final three films added to the competition list are The Pear Tree directed by Turkish Golden Palm-winning Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Un couteau dans le coeur - A Stab in the Heart from Yann Gonzales, a French director-writer and Ayka from Kazakh filmmaker Sergey Dvortsevoy.

Competing in the Un certain regard feature section, Donbass from Ukranian Sergey Loznitsa, whose film will open this section, Muere, Monstruo, Muere (The Dead and the Others) by  Argentinian Alejandro Fadel and Chuva E Cantoria Na Aldeia Dos Mortos, from Portuguese director João Salaviza and Brasilian Renée Nader Messora.

Two US films have been added to the Midnight Screenings section, Whitney by Kevin Macdonald  which releases in the US in July, and Fahrenheit 451 a remake from director Ramin Bahrani of late French director François Truffaut's adapation of a 1953 Ray Bradbury novel.






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