Last week, right in the middle of the Cannes Film Festival, when half the world's film journalists were taking in the new Terrence Malick and debating the Festival's decision to throw Lars von Trier under the bus, Variety's Nick Vivarelli broke the news that the Venice Film Festival was suddenly all but waving its hands and calling out, "You think you're having fun now…" Vivarelli reported that Roman Polanski's Carnage (an adaptation of Yasmina Reza's award-winning play, God of Carnage, with Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz and John C Reilly), David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method (based on Christopher Hampton's play, The Talking Cure, with Viggo Mortensen as Freud, Michael Fassbender as Jung and Keira Knightley as Sabina Spielrein), Aleksandr Sokurov's Faust (the fourth and final installment in his Men of Power series), Philippe Garrel's A Burning Hot Summer (Un été brûlant, "a remake of sorts of Jean-Luc Godard's Contempt, starring Monica Bellucci") and Todd Solondz's Dark Horse (with Mia Farrow, Christopher Walken and Selma Blair) had all been confirmed to compete in the 68th edition, running August 31 through September 10.
Vivarelli then went on to list the contenders. Stevens Soderbergh and Spielberg will both have two films out this year, so we might well see either Contagion or Haywire, but not, of course, both in the lineup. Likewise, War Horse and/or The Adventures of Tin-Tin: The Secret of the Unicorn. Same goes for Johnnie To's Life Without Principle and Don't Go Breaking My Heart.
Other possibilities: Brillante Mendoza's Prey, with Isabelle Huppert; Giorgos Lanthimos's Alps, "about a hospital nurse who provides unusual services to bereaved families"; Ulrich Seidl's Paradise; Tomas Alfredson's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, with Gary Oldman and Colin Firth; Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights; Steve McQueen's Shame; Terence Davies's The Deep Blue Sea; Michael Winterbottom's Trishna, an adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles with Freida Pinto and "a Bollywood tone"; Álex de la Iglesia's La chispa de la vida; Alexander Payne's The Descendants, with George Clooney, and Clooney's own The Ides of March, with Ryan Gosling.
"From Italy, the only certainty is Cristina Comencini's Quando la notte (When the Night) a drama about a fragile young mother and a tough mountain guide who meet after an accident in the Italian mountains," reports Vivarelli. Films by Emanuele Crialese, Gianni Amelio and Ermanno Olmi "have been submitted but are not yet slotted." And three documentaries are all but confirmed: Cameron Crowe's Pearl Jam film, PJ20; Jonathan Demme's untitled Hurricane Katrina doc; and Fatih Akin's film on globalization, Garbage in the Garden of Eden.
And then there's this tantalizing note: "Works rushing to get finished in time for 'wet-print' Lido preems include Wong Kar-wai's The Grandmasters and Walter Salles's On the Road."
On Monday, Cannes artistic director Thierry Frémaux told indieWIRE's Eric Kohn, "Cannes doesn't compete with anybody. Cannes is Cannes." On the one hand, Cannes might not be competing, but maybe Venice is. On the other, these two major festivals, however consciously or intentionally, may be working out the choreography of a dance in which, based on which films are ready when, Cannes sucks all the air out of the room during the first half of each year, while a resurgent Venice takes care of the second half. Which isn't to diminish Toronto or New York by any means; it's just that Toronto's most interesting premieres are usually in its Wavelengths program of avant work, while New York's role is to usher the best of Cannes and Venice, primarily, into the US.
Regardless, Ioncinema's Eric Lavallee has gone out on a limb to make "30 Predictions for Cannes 2012." As each of the films gets a solid paragraph write-up, his hypothetical list makes for a pretty fun read. David Cronenberg shows up again, here with Cosmopolis. Among the other titles: Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, Olivier Assayas's Something in the Air (note that IFC has already picked up North American rights), Laurent Cantet's Foxfire, Xavier Dolan's Lawrence Always, Amat Escalante's Heli, Matteo Garrone's Big House, James Gray's The Lost City of Z, Michael Haneke's Amour, Hou Hsiao-hsien's The Assassin, Jia Zhangke's In the Qing Dynasty, Abbas Kiarostami's The End, Emir Kusturica's Cool Water, Ken Loach's Angel's Share, Sergei Loznitsa's In the Fog, Ursula Meier's L'enfant d'en Haut, François Ozon's In the House, Park Chan-wook's Stoker, Carlos Reygadas's Post Tenebras Lux and Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained.
To come full circle for the time being, neither of the new films Terrence Malick is working on is mentioned in either roundup. But as FirstShowing's Alex Billington reports, the IMAX documentary Voyage of Time and the as-yet-untitled romantic drama with Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Rachel Weisz, Javier Bardem, Barry Pepper, Olga Kurylenko and The Tree of Life's Jessica Chastain are still on.
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