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Cannes: The Buzz

May 08, 2011

Going into the Cannes International Film Festival (or Festival de Cannes, to give it its proper title) there are always a handful of projects that are so anticipated the buzz around them is almost palpable. Take a look below to see 2011’s hot picks…

Opening Night – Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight In Paris’

Woody Allen has fallen out with the US film industry in a big way, and since 2005 he has been firmly planted on European soil. Making four films in London, one in Barcelona, and only one across the pond, 2011 sees his first ever venture to the French capital with ‘Midnight In Paris’. Not only will it be the opening night film of the festival, it will also be playing simultaneously in 400 cinemas across France.

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Midnight In Paris - Trailer

إعلان فيلم منتصف الليل في باريس

Will it be worth the hype?
Over the last decade Allen has been very hit and miss, and if I’m being honest there have been more stinkers than winners. Considering that his two latest films ‘Whatever Works’ and ‘You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger’ tanked, Woody is due a good one, so here’s hoping that ‘Midnight In Paris’ is a return to form.

Egypt as ‘Guest Of Honour’

In 2011 Egypt will be the first ever country to be invited to Cannes as a ‘Guest of Honour’. May 18th will see the screening of ten short films that depict the recent revolutions, while the 1968 Egyptian classic ‘The Postman’ (‘Al-Boustag’) will also be shown, as well as an homage to legendary director Youssef Chahine. Watch the video below to see him collecting his lifetime achievement award at Cannes in 1997.

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Youssef Chahine at 1997 Cannes Film Festival

يوسف شاهين في مهرجان كان السينمائي عام 1997

Will it be worth the hype?
In a word: yes. There will be a huge Egyptian presence at the festival, from officials to industry stars, and Egyptian music megastars Wust El-Balad have been booked for the evening performance. This is a story to follow.

‘Melancholia’: Lars Von Trier’s Latest

Arguably the world’s most controversial director, this is THE film that everyone will be talking about. In 2009 he horrified Cannes audiences with ‘Antichrist’, which some audience members described as “the most offensive film they had ever seen”. ‘Melancholia’ sees a departure from his previous stripped down style, with Von Trier using super slo-mo and CGI to tell the story of a planet hurtling towards Earth to ruin Kirsten Dunst’s wedding day.

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Melancholia - Trailer

إعلان فيلم ميلانكوليا

Will it be worth the hype?
It will divide critics: Von Trier always does. Some will say he’s the greatest European director since Tarkovsky, while others will argue that he’s little more than a publicity jokester building a media personality to sell his films. Whatever happens, it will definitely be interesting.

Caramel: The Follow Up

Nadine Lebaki took the film world by storm with her 2007 hit debut ‘Caramel’, the story of the lives and loves of four women in contemporary Beirut. ‘Where Do We Go Now?’ is her second feature, and follows a group of Christian and Muslim women in a Lebanese village, trying to protect their community from interreligious tension. We don’t have a trailer just yet, but we do have this still to tease your interest.

Film - 'Where Do We Go Now'

Will it be worth the hype?
It seems to tick all the boxes that made ‘Caramel’ so successful – new talent, sisterly solidarity and a look at the people behind the politics. I’m going to say that ‘Where Do We Go Now?’ should be good news for Arab film, female directors and cinema lovers everywhere.

‘The Tree Of Life’: Terrence Mallick returns

Terrence Mallick is not a prolific director: since his 1973 masterpiece ‘Badlands’ he has only made three films. There aren’t too many details about his latest piece, but we do know that it stars Brad Pitt and Sean Penn (who are two of Hollywood’s shrewdest actors when it comes to picking scripts) and that Mallick has been working on it for a VERY long time.

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The Tree of Life - Trailer

Will it be worth the hype?
Absolutely no idea. There’s too little information on the project, and Mallick is such a recluse that we have no idea what his plans for it are. Of course, this just makes us want to see it even more!

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