The prizes are starting to come fast and furious here in Cannes. The Un Certain Regard jury has just given its top prize to Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó’s White God, a buzzed about cautionary tale that features a gang of stray dogs who seize an opportunity to escape from a pound and revolt against mankind. The Jury Prize went to Swedish film Turist from director Ruben Oestlund with a Special Prize reserved for Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado’s documentary The Salt Of The Earth. Party Girl, the French debut feature that opened the section, was awarded the Ensemble Prize. It hails from writer/directors Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis. David Gulpilil was named Best Actor for his role in Rolf de Heer’s Charlie’s Country. Earlier today, Jauja by Lisandro Alonso was honored by international critics group FIPRESCI with its UCR prize. Pablo Trapero was president of the jury which said the section testified to the diversity and vitality of filmmaking in the world today.
Cannes: Un Certain Regard Gives Top Prize To ‘White God’; Winners Include ‘Turist’, Wenders’ ‘Salt Of The Earth’ & More
Hollywood is jumping through hoops to infiltrate China; now, a Chinese company is returning the favor. China Lion Film Distribution acquired U.S. and Canada rights to the Enlight Pictures’ romantic comedy The Breakup Guru, which it will also release in Australia and New Zealand day-and-date with its June 27 release in China. Pic stars Deng Chao (who co-directed the film with Yu Baimei) and Yang Mi. Deng Chao is a member of the Chinese National Theatre from Mainland China, with credits that include The Four Franchise, and Detective Dee And The Mystery Of The Phantom Flame. Yang Mi is a well-known Chinese actress known for her roles in Tiny Times and Painted Skin: The Resurrection, the latter of which China Lion Australian/New Zealand previously released. Breakup Guru follows the misadventures of a man (Deng Chao) hired to do one of the most uncomfortable jobs ever: break-up with someone. Excelling at his job, a client (Yang Mi) finds him more of a nuisance to get rid of. Here’s the teaser trailer:
Cannes: Quentin Tarantino On Digital As The Death Of Cinema; A ‘Django’ Miniseries; ‘Hateful Eight’ Prospects & More
“It’s rare to see a filmmaker who doesn’t have a movie here in Cannes do a press conference,” said Cannes Film Festival chief Thierry Frémaux as he introduced Quentin Tarantino to journalists this afternoon. But Cannes loves Tarantino and the feeling is clearly mutual. His Pulp Fiction Palme d’Or is “my single, absolutely, positively greatest achievement,” the director said. Besides, even if he doesn’t have a new movie here, Pulp Fiction is screening tonight in celebration of the 20th anniversary of winning that Palme. Tarantino is also hosting the Closing Night screening of Sergio Leone’s A Fistful Of Dollars. That film, he said, marked “the birth of genre action cinema as it’s become to be known ever since.” Otherwise, there was plenty to discuss. In a wide-ranging chat with the press, Tarantino waxed on the rise of digital projection as the “death of cinema”; the status of The Hateful Eight; and possibly revisiting Django Unchained as a miniseries, among other topics.
Tonight’s Pulp Fiction showing will be the only time during this two-week event that a movie will be screened in 35mm, Frémaux noted. Later queried about that, Tarantino said, “The fact that now most films are not shown in 35mm means the war is lost. The death of 35mm is the death of cinema.” He allowed that the “good side of digital is the fact that a young filmmaker can now just buy a cell phone, and if they have the tenacity… can actually make a movie” to help start them on their way. But, he thundered, “Why would an established filmmaker shoot on digital? I just don’t get it.” He likened seeing movies digitally projected in a theater to watching “television in public.” Perhaps as we’re in the waning days of May, he did allow for some optimism to spring. “I’m hopeful that we’re going through a woozy, romantic period with the ease of digital, and I’m hoping that while this generation is completely hopeless, the next generation will come out and demand the real thing.”
In this week’s podcast, Deadline International Editor Nancy Tartaglione and host David Bloom recap some of Nancy’s most notable stories out of the Cannes Film Festival, including the first prizes to be announced; where all the hot deals are percolating both domestic and international; that big reunion marking Pulp Fiction at 20; and another reunion, this time of self-proclaimed “children with arthritis,” a batch of aging action heroes promoting the latest Expendables movie. They also take a quick peek at the BAFTA TV Awards, where Broadchurch proved a broad winner.
Directed by Pierre Morel, The Gunman stars Sean Penn as a former Special Forces soldier and military contractor suffering from PTSD. He tries to reconnect with his longtime love but first must go on the run from London to Barcelona and across Europe to clear his name. The movie was a huge sales title for StudioCanal in Cannes last year, and Open Road earlier this month acquired it for the U.S. The action thriller, which also stars Javier Bardem, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance and Jasmine Trinca, now has been set for a February 20 stateside release. StudioCanal, which has the movie in its home territories, will go first on February 18 in France, followed by Australia and New Zealand on February 19. It will time the UK release to the U.S. and open in Germany a week later on February 26. The Gunman originally had a December 2014 release in France, but I understand the switch was made to accommodate a closer day-and-date with the U.S.
In this week’s podcast, Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond and host David Bloom catch up on the latest from the Cannes Film Festival. They discuss Sophia Loren’s new movie, directed by her son; the critical backlash against Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut; the fine performances by Marion Cotillard and Berenice Bejo that humanize their politically minded latest projects; Steve Carell’s “unrecognizable” performance in Bennett Miller’s fine Foxcatcher; Harvey Weinstein’s 2014 slate of would-be Oscar contenders; and Jeffrey Katzenberg’s commanding honor.
Olivier Assayas marks his return to the Cannes Competition tomorrow with Clouds Of Sils Maria. The director, who has oft had films in various capacities here, was last in the main category with 2004′s Clean, and first appeared in the section as the writer of André Téchiné’s 1984 Rendez-Vous. That film starred Juliette Binoche who leads the cast of the English-language Sils Maria as an actress at the peak of her international career who is asked to perform in a revival of the play that made her famous 20 years ago. But rather than reprise her own role, she is offered the part of the older woman her original character drives to suicide. With her assistant (Kristen Stewart) in tow, she heads off to rehearse in Sils Maria, a remote region of the Alps. There she finds herself faced with the young Hollywood starlet who is to take on the younger part (Chloë Grace Moretz), an ambiguously charming woman who is an unsettling reflection of herself. When Cannes Fest director Thierry Frémaux announced the lineup back in April, he noted that there’s a surprise bit of casting here that has an “amazing effect.” We’ll find out just what that is tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s the trailer for the movie that IFC has in the U.S.:
EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situatiom, WME has signed writer/director Cedric Jimenez. Jimenez’s Cannes Festival film, the Jean Dujardin-starrer La French, was just picked up by Picturehouse Entertainment and Altitude Film Distribution for the UK. The film, which is repped by Gaumont Intl. and produced by Legende Films, is produced by Alain Goldman. Several U.S. distributors are circling it.
Set in the late 70s in Marseille, La French is based on the true story of the judge who tried to stop the French Connection, one of the most powerful drug organizations of its day. The film crisscrosses between Marseille, which was the world capital of drug trafficking and the main supplier of heroin in the U.S., and NYC. Jimenez continues to be repped by Film Talents in France.
The Critics’ Week section of Cannes can sometimes appear a bit obscure to non fest-heads, but it’s important to remember that such groundbreaking talent has been discovered here as Guillermo del Toro, Gaspar Noé, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Jeff Nichols. The sidebar is made up of first and second features and just announced a near-sweep for Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s The Tribe. The film won the Nespresso Grand Prize, the Gan Foundation Support for Distribution Prize and the France 4 Visionary Award. I’ve heard great things about this film from Ukraine. Told in Sign Language, it’s set in a specialized boarding school for the deaf and mute. There, a young man learns to navigate the school’s organized crime syndicate, The Tribe, until he breaks all of the unwritten rules by falling for the chief’s girl. The film is understood to be difficult to watch in parts, but makes the director one to keep an eye on. The Society of Authors, Directors and Composers Award for best screenplay went to Boris Lojkine for Hope. The French pic is set in the Sahara desert where a young man from Cameroon rescues Hope, a Nigerian woman, as they attempt to make it to Europe. The UK’s Gaëlle Denis won the Canal Plus Award for best short film with Crocodile and the new Sony …
A jury led by veteran Iranian helmer Abbas Kiarostami announced the winners of the 17th Cinéfondation Selection here in Cannes tonight. The section, which had 1,631 submissions from 457 film schools around the world this year, was whittled down to 16 titles that unspooled over the last week. First Prize was awarded to Skunk from director Annie Silverstein of the University of Texas at Austin. She takes home 15,000 euros and a guarantee that her first feature will be given a berth in a future Cannes Film Festival. Second Prize went to Oh Lucy! by director Atsuko Hirayanagi of NYU Tisch School of the Arts Asia in Singapore; and 3rd Prize was a tie for Lievito Madre from Fulvio Risuleo of Italy’s Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, Italy, and The Bigger Picture from the UK’s Daisy Jacobs who attends the National Film and Television School. Second Place wins 11,250 euros and 3rd takes 7,500 euros. The Cinéfondation jury was comprised of Kiarostami, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, Noémie Lvovsky, Daniela Thomas and Joachim Trier. The same jury will award the Short Film Palme d’Or on Saturday night.
EXCLUSIVE: Ken Kao was one of the new financiers who made a splash on the Croisette when he launched Bloom with former Exclusive Media exec Alex Walton and shopped international on several strong properties including Sea Of Trees with Gus Van Sant directing Matthew McConaughey, Naomi Watts and Ken Watanabe. Under his other banner, Waypoint Entertainment (under which he set up Sea Of Trees), Kao has made a first-look deal with Russell Ackerman and John Schoenfelder and their newly formed Addictive Pictures.
Ackerman was Guillermo del Toro’s development executive for six years, and worked on such films as the horror pic Mama. He’s still working on projects with filmmakers that include the Neil Cross-scripted Midnight Delivery and the Rodrigo Cortes-directed Mine. Schoenfelder comes from the book world, where he was editorial director for the Little Brown imprint Mulholland Books and worked on projects from JJ Abrams, Warren Ellis, Charlie Huston, Scott Spencer, David Guggenheim, Derek Haas and Anthony Horowitz. He also oversaw the relaunch of Popcorn Fiction, a Haas-hatched website that featured writing from such screenwriters as Brian Helgeland, Rian Johnson, DB Weiss, Mark Bomback, Brian Koppelman and Scott Frank. Books Schoenfelder shepherded that were set up for films include Ellis’ Gun Machine, Guggenheim’s Weaponized and others.
Cannes: ‘Pulp Fiction’ Reunion Shapes Up As Travolta Expected To Join Tarantino, Thurman For 20th Anniversary Tribute
EXCLUSIVE: Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman are confirmed to attend a special celebration of Pulp Fiction here in Cannes tomorrow night. Now I’m hearing word that Vincent Vega himself will join his director and co-star in the festivities. John Travolta is not yet set in stone, but he’s been in town this week and I’m told the festival is hoping to confirm his attendance tonight with the actor keen to take part. The plan as it stands thus far is for the Pulp Fiction posse to walk the red carpet at the Palais at 6:30 PM on Friday night, then head off to a cocktail ahead of the film’s special beach screening which the director will introduce. Miramax is presenting and hosting all the Pulp Fiction activities.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since Pulp Fiction won the Palme d’Or. But that was not the first film Tarantino ever had in Cannes — two years earlier in 1992 his Reservoir Dogs was an Official Selection title that ran out of competition. Since then, movies he’s directed that have appeared at the Palais include Kill Bill Vol 2, Death Proof and Inglourious Basterds. Tarantino is already in Cannes this week and will host the closing-night screening of Sergio Leone’s 1964 Spaghetti Western A …
Freshly-minted distributor Saban Films has acquired North American rights to Cannes Competition entry, The Homesman. The sophomore directing effort from Tommy Lee Jones is Saban’s first acquisition after launching just last week, and Deadline hears they put down what was about a $3.5M MG. Jones also stars with Hilary Swank, and a supporting cast that includes Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter, Hailee Steinfeld, James Spader and Meryl Streep. Saban is headed up by Bill Bromiley who came to Cannes with an aggressive acquisitions strategy and quickly targeted the film after its official debut on Sunday in what is understood to have been a competitive situation. The film received generally upbeat reviews and Deadline’s Pete Hammond has said it has awards potential. The deal was made with majority owner of the North American rights, Brian Kennedy. EuropaCorp is selling internationally.
The Homesman is produced by Peter Brant, Kennedy and Luc Besson and is based on the 1988 novel by Glendon Swarthout with a screenplay by Jones, Kieran Fitzgerald and Wesley A. Oliver, It’s set in mid-19th century on the edges of the American frontier. When three women are driven insane, the task of delivering them back east falls to a pious spinster (Swank) who employs a drifter (Jones) to aide in the effort. They cross the untamed Nebraska Territories …
Heading into Cannes, the refrain was roundly the same as the one we heard going into the last big market, February’s EFM in Berlin. Whether it be from sales people, buyers or producers both foreign and domestic, there was a lament that the big projects had failed to materialize and that despite hopes to the contrary, this would be a very soft sojourn on the Croisette. One buyer called the situation a “catastrophe.” It is simply harder to pull together exciting packages, execs said, as talent attachments take longer and numbers are harder to hit. Still, if international dealmaking was in line with expectations, there was a jolt in domestic deals from the get-go. On the eve of the market, Paramount spent a record $20M on Story Of Your Life. The deal for the Denis Villeneuve-directed sci-fi pic starring Amy Adams was brokered by Lava Bear’s David Linde with WME Global’s Graham Taylor and FilmNation’s Glen Basner. Basner was also in the middle of The Weinstein Co’s landmark $7M Berlin deal for The Imitation Game. That acquisition was the real news out of Berlin, but it did not have a knock-on effect of jump-starting what ended up to be a pretty tepid EFM.
EXCLUSIVE: I’m back on my feet after an awful case of jet lag, in time to lob a couple end-of-day stories as the Cannes Film Festival continues supplying splashy deals into the waning days. The Weinstein Company tonight is now in exclusive negotiations to acquire The Water Diviner, and is in position to land the directorial debut of Russell Crowe. This comes after Crowe traveled to the Croisette and presented about 12 minutes of footage to an array of distributors at the Majestic. He then hung around and met with them. The distributors I spoke with all came away very impressed by what Crowe had done. In the end, he and his WME Global reps felt that Harvey Weinstein would be the right man for the job of releasing the film. TWC has offered $4 million with the promised of a wide release. Crowe and Weinstein worked together years ago on Master And Commander.
In the film, Crowe plays an Australian man who travels to Turkey to find his three sons, who went missing after the brutal Battle of Gallipoli during WWI. I am told that there is an epic quality to the subject matter in the script by Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastasios, covering a war that absolutely decimated a generation of young Australian men. Anyone who saw Peter Weir’s Gallipoli knows the scale of carnage. I’ve heard The Water Diviner has a Braveheart quality to it.
EXCLUSIVE: While Warner Bros brought Ryan Gosling‘s directorial debut Lost River to Cannes, I’m hearing that the studio now is chatting with specialty distributors about the possibility of one of them acquiring and releasing the film. Nothing’s definite, but this is about doing the best thing for Gosling and his Bold Films-funded pic. The actor’s helming bow premiered yesterday and got a polarized reaction. Despite that, this potential move could be the best thing possible for Gosling and the movie he worked so hard on. Given what I’ve read about the story, it doesn’t at all seem appropriate for a big distributor like Warner Bros. Give that studio Godzilla or The Lego Movie and they’ll hit it out of the park. They did well with Spike Jonze’s Her and Argo, and some of those movies Gosling has made for the studio as an actor. This seems like one of those films that is smaller, and requires the care and feeding that the specialty distributors can take the time to do. There will also likely be some fine tuning as Gosling takes feedback from the festival and readies his film for release during the late fall. These meetings are underway right now, and some of the distributors are feeling like, “What took you so long?” I would not be surprised to see this …
Aussie Zak Hilditch‘s directorial debut These Final Hours has been acquired by Well Go USA Entertainment, which plans to platform release the dramatic thriller in NY and LA. Village Roadshow’s Roadshow Films is set to release the pic wide in Australia on July 31. Paradigm handled North American sales on behalf of Roadshow Films, which in addition to Australia and New Zealand also has U.S. and UK rights. Celluloid Nightmares is selling international at the Cannes market. The pic, which Hilditch also wrote, centers on a self-obsessed man who on his way to the party-to-end-all-parties on the last day on Earth ends up saving the life of a little girl searching for her father. The relationship between the two ultimately leads him on the path to redemption. Nathan Phillips, Angourie Rice and Jessica De Gouw star. (Check out the trailer below.) Hilditch is repped by Paradigm, Thruline Entertainment and HLA Management Australia.
Cannes: Politics Heats Up Competition Films But It’s Berenice Bejo And Marion Cotillard Who Give Them Humanity
Politics came to the Cannes Film Festival (as it often does) in the form of two major movie debuts in the course of 24 hours.
This morning one of the most-awaited films in the Official Competition unspooled for critics at 8:30 AM, and 2 1/2 hours after its start the verdict appeared to be critically mixed for Oscar winner Michel Hazanavicious’ The Search, first feature film since he won Best Director for his 2011 Best Picture winner The Artist. From my vantage point, his new film works on many levels — most importantly, a human one. There was applause at the end but some noticeable boos and I wouldn’t have been surprised if they came from the Russians. They don’t come off well in this story set in the second Chechen War in 1999 as Russians invade, and a young boy and his new baby brother are separated from their family after his parents are killed. Thus begins an incredible journey — and this film hooked me right in – in this contemporary remake of the post-World War II Fred Zinnemann film The Search (1948), in which a young boy is separated from his parents in a concentration camp and taken in by a caring soldier played by Montgomery Clift (Berenice Bejo has the Clift role this time, a gender change in which she plays a European Union delegation head).
The original Search won a Motion Picture Story Oscar and a special juvenile statuette for its young star, Ivan Jandl. It was also nominated for lead actor, director and screenplay. And deservedly so. Perhaps it is never a good idea to tackle a remake of such an honored film, but in this case using the basic premise to shine a larger light on a forgotten cause seems smart. And the boy’s plight is just one strand here, as there’s also the corresponding story focusing on a tough Russian street kid who is slowly turned into a killing machine when drafted into the army. It’s harrowing stuff to watch, but all of a sudden relevant again, coinciding with another Russian invasion of sorts currently happening in Ukraine.
IFC Films bought North American rights to the TrustNordisk title The Salvation. The film premiered in the out of competition Midnight section of Cannes. A couple distributors chased the film, which stars Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Kristian Levring directed the Western. Set in 1870s America, pic starts when a settler kills the man that murdered his family. That unleashes the fury of a notorious gang leader. Then it’s a fight to the death.
Related: Hot Cannes Trailer: ‘The Salvation’