In an unprecedented, Canadian father-son auteur act, both director David Cronenberg and his son Brandon have films in the official selection at this year’s 65th Cannes International Film Festival.
David Cronenberg’s new film, Cosmopolis, based on Don DeLillo’s 2003 novel, stars Twilight’s Robert Pattinson as a billionaire New Yorker making a trip across town in his limousine for a haircut. The film is in competition for the Palme d’Or, alongside contenders from such Cannes favourites as Alain Resnais, Abbas Kiarostami, Michael Haneke and Ken Loach.
Meanwhile, son Brandon Cronenberg’s feature Antiviral is in the sidebar Un Certain Regard. The film, starring Caleb Landry Jones ( X-Men:First Class), Malcolm McDowell and Sarah Gadon, focuses on an employee at a clinic that sells injections of viruses harvested from celebrities. Also in the Un Certain Regard is the third feature from 23-year-old Montreal director Xavier Dolan, Laurence Anyways, about a doomed transgender love affair.
This is the fourth time the senior Cronenberg (69) has had a film in competition at the French film festival, following Crash (1996), Spider (2002) and A History of Violence (2005). As well, Cronenberg was president of the Cannes jury in 1999 and received the festival’s lifetime achievement Carosse d’or (Golden Coach) award in 2006.
President Gilles Jacob and artistic director Thierry Frémaux announced the official selection for the festival, which opens on May 16, at a Paris press conference Thursday morning, with Frémaux noting that “American cinema has come back relatively strong” this year.
The American directors include Wes Anderson, whose New England comedy Moonlight Kingdom will open the festival ; Lee Daniels, director of Precious, will screen the Nicole Kidman-starring erotic thriller The Paperboy; and Jeff Nichols ( Take Shelter) will bring his coming-of-age drama Mud, with Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey and Michael Shannon.
As is the case with Cosmopolis, there are other U.S.-set movies by non-American directors, who will bring major Hollywood star glamour to the Croisette. These include New Zealand’s Andrew Dominik, whose gangster drama Killing Them Softly stars Brad Pitt; Australian John Hillcoat’s Prohibition-era Lawless, with Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy; and Brazilian director Walter Salles’s adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s classic beat novel On the Road, with Sam Riley and Garrett Hedlund.
France’s entries include Jacques Audiard’s Rust and Bone with Marion Cotillard; Leos Carax’s Holy Motors, with Denis Lavant, Eva Mendes and Kylie Minogue; and 89-year-old Alain Resnais’s You Haven’t Seen Anything Yet. The festival closes May 27 with Thérèse Desqueyroux, an adaptation of François Mauriac’s novel, starring Audrey Tautou – the final film from France’s Claude Miller, who died on April 4.
Overall, 2012 is an American-European dominated year, with perennial contenders Michael Haneke ( Amour), Abbas Kiarostami ( Like Someone in Love) and Ken Loach ( The Angels’ Share) anchoring the competition. South Korea is standing for Asian cinema with two selections – Hong Sang-soo’s In Another Country, with Isabelle Huppert, and Im Sang-soo’s Taste of Money – though the film by Iran’s Kiarostami is set in Japan. Latin American cinema is represented by just one entry, with Mexico’s Carlos Reygadas bringing his globe-hopping semi-autobiographical film, Post Tenebras Lux, Spanish for “light after darkness.”
Rounding out the international slate are: Italy’s Matteo Garrone with Reality, about reality television; Egypt’s Yousry Nasrallah with After the Battle; Austria’s Ulrich Seidl with Paradise: Love; Denmark’s Thomas Vinterberg with The Hunt; Ukraine’s Sergei Loznitsa with In the Fog, and former Palme d’Or-winning Romanian director Cristian Mungiu with Beyond the Hills.
Out-of-competition screenings include DreamWorks Animations’s Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted; Bernardo Bertolucci’s Me and You; and midnight screenings of Italian horror master Dario Argento’s Dracula 3D, and Japan’s Takashi Miike with the teen-gangster drama The Legend of Love & Sincerity.