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Cannes Festival

Cannes: The French in competition for the Palme d'Or

By Adrienne Benassy

After Michael Haneke's success with Amour, will a French film once again win the prestigious Palme d'Or? Steven Spielberg, President of the Jury, will give us the answer on 26 May. In the meanwhile, France in London shares the list of French films which have been short-listed. 

François Ozon - Young and Pretty

Jeune et Jolie
Jeune et Jolie

François Ozon flirts once again with subversion with his new film on the verge of erotism. Jeune et Jolie does not explore the history of the famous French women's magazine, but tells the story of a 17-year-old teenager, played by the actress and model Marine Macth (Ma part du gâteau by Cédric Klapisch, Ce que le jour doit à la nuit by Alexandre Arcady), who becomes a prostitute for pleasure. 


Arnaud Desplechin - Jimmy Picard

Arnaud Desplechin has not made a film since 2008 (A Christmas Tale with Catherine Deneuve and Mathieu Amalric). Surprisingly he comes back with an unusual cast, and chose the Puerto Rican actor Benicio del Toro to play his title role, Jimmy Picard. Inspired by Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian written by the French psychanalyst and anthropologist Georges Devereux, the movie tells the story of a native American (Benicio del Toro), destroyed by his experience during World War II, who meets Georges Devereux (Mathieu Almaric) on his way to Kansas. The two befriend each other even though everything seems to seperate them from the start. 

Valeria Bruni Tedeschi - A castle in Italy

Valeria Bruni Tedeschi
Valeria Bruni Tedeschi

Inspired by her own story, Carla Bruni's sister, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, plunged herself into the universe of a great Italian bourgeois family and co-wrote the script with Noémie Lvovsky and Agnès de Sacy. The actress is used to climbing up the stairs at Cannes but it will be the first time that she has entered the competition as a film director. 


Roman Polanski - Venus in furs

La Venus à la fourrure
La Venus à la fourrure

Eleven years after receiving the Palme d'Or for The Pianist, Roman Polanski, who will this time compete in the name of Poland and not France, comes back to Cannes with a sulphurous movie, Venus in Furs. Adapted from a David Ives play of  the same name, the movie follows Thomas in his search for an actress to play a major role in Venus in Furs, the famous book by Sacher-Masoch which then inspired a song by Velvet Underground. Thomas finally meets Vanda (Emmanuelle Seigner) who will try to convince him to choose her. 

Abdellatif Kechiche - La Vie d'Adèle

La vie d'Adèle
La vie d'Adèle

After many successes in Venise (La faute à Voltaire, La graine et le Mulet, Vénus Noire), Abdellatif Kechiche will for the first time be in competition in Cannes. Adapted from Blue is the Warmest Colour, written by Julie Maroch, La vie d'Adèle is about a 15-year-old teenager (Adèle Exarchopoulos) who falls in love with a blue-haired woman (Léa Seydoux). 


François Arnaud des Pallières - Michael Kohlhaas

Michael Kolhlaas
Michael Kolhlaas

François Arnaud des Pallières who had been an actor for many years, got into directing in 2004 with Adieu and then with Parc in 2008. He comes back to Cannes this time with an adaptation of Heinrich Von Kleist's short story, Michael Kolhlaas, and dresses up the Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen in 16th century costume. The story is about a horse seller (Mads Mikkelsen) who has been robbed while going through the Cévennes. After this, he turns himself into a warrior with a strong desire for revenge. 


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