Cannes is Every Filmmaker’s Dream

admin   May 18, 2022

Walking the Red Carpet at Cannes for the past 18 years, film industry veteran Ravi Kottarakara, Secretary, South Indian film Chamber of Commerce and producer, Ganesh Pictures, underscores the Film Festival’s significance in world cinema, and how the platform has evolved as a great springboard for new talent and discoveries

The International Festival de Cannes, which began in 1947, is now celebrating 75 years of existence. Since its inception, the festival has expanded and grown from strenth-to-strength, showcasing the best films and discovering new talent and bringing together film fraternity from across the world to watch, ponder, and debate on cinema art. Over the year, Cannes has become the most sought after platform to meet the top brains from world cinema, highly-skilled, and knowledgeable experts in the film craft business.

The magical aura of the film festival is such that attending amateur filmmakers get an opportunity to acquire a wealth of knowledge and experience at Cannes, and return as established top professionals. The festival acts as an excellent springboard for budding filmmakers. For the past 18 years, I’ve been regularly coming to the Cannes, and it stands out for me. I have got the opportunity to meet and learn from many outstanding professionals and legends attending the festival.

The Cannes Film Festival has an extensive programme divided into various sub-categories including film viewing, co-production, film market, diverse country stalls, and skill development. Its multi-faceted structure has something to offer to everybody who come here to quench their appetite for good cinema.

It is every film industry professional’s dream to have their film screened at Cannes. I was completely overwhelmed and awestruck by the sheer body of cinema artwork and craftsmanship at the Cannes
when my first film was included in the programme and I walked the red carpet here. Watching a movie and discussing it with eminent international filmmakers and cinema experts is the ultimate experience. Another highlight of the spectacular Cannes Film Festival is the the Marché du Film that attracts film buyers from all corners of the globe, and adds dynamism to the global film industry. This leading Film Market facilitates purchase of films in any genre and in any language, provided the content is distinctive and of high quality. Hundreds of filmmakers attend this event for not only networking but also acquire services and tools they need to hold negotiations and uncover new opportunities, and they are always rewarded with excellent discounts.

In terms of co-productions, many film producers sign incredible coproduction deals at Cannes, whether between countries or between leading film firms, and even aspiring amateurs have had the opportunity to meet with highly professional companies. Every time I go to Cannes, I have a fresh experience and gather valuable knowledge that I can apply in my job.

Co-productions will become more common, and many professions will profit financially. In India, the South theatres are now ruling the roost, producing blockbuster hits. The films with the highest box office receipts are from the south. They deliver excellent service and thoroughly delight the crowd. South will be able to create even more terrific works if the scope of joint cinematic cooperation between France and India is further expanded.

The fact that Cannes is celebrating 75 years and that India, the world’s largest film producer, is the country of emphasis is a wonderful feeling. The collaboration between France and India in the sphere of filmmaking will push the medium forward.


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A Selection to Die for

admin   May 18, 2022

From the latest works of recognised masters to new films from budding directors, the official Cannes 2022 selection has the diversity, depth, and daring for everyone to exult over or cringe from. The quality of the lineup that festival director Thierry Fremaux has put together is expected to be the event’s most talked-about topic. By SaibalChatterjee

The 68 titles that constitute the Official Selection of the 75th Cannes Film Festival add up to one of the strongest lineups that the event has cobbled up in recent years. Picking ten, or even 20, of the films that one must definitely to watch over the 11days of the festival – often called the Olympic Games of world cinema – isn’t the easiest of chores. We are giving it a shot nonetheless.

The Cannes Film Festival, by far the world’s most important celebration of cinema, is, as is well known, approaching a landmark. The edition that is set to unspool on the French Riviera is the festival’s 75th. It isn’t, however, the number of editions that have been toted up that cineastes are focused on. The quality of the lineup that festival director Thierry Fremaux has put together is beyond any ifs and buts. It promises to be the biggest talking point during the event.

The Cannes 2022 official selection isn’t devoid of diversity, depth or derring-do. From the latest works of established masters to new films from emerging directors, the 75th Cannes Film Festival has a bill of fare that has something for everybody to exult over or recoil from.

Nothing can rival the thrill of discovering gems from directors who are starting out in their careers or stumbling upon films from corners of the world that have minuscule movie industries. This year’s official selection – eight of the titles in Un Certain Regard (which means ‘A Certain Gaze’) are from first-time directors.

At the other end of the spectrum, competing for the Palme d’or (Golden Palm) are four previous winners, including a sibling duo who has claimed the festival’s top prize twice. Belgium’s Dardenne brothers (Jean-Pierre and Luc), Japan’s HirokazuKoreeda, Sweden’s Ruben Ostlund and Romania’s CristianMungiu will have another shot at the coveted award alongside many other wellregarded directors.

The Dardenne Brothers – who won the Palme d’Or for Rosetta (1999) and L’Enfant (2005) – are back with another social-realist drama, Tori and Lokita, which tells the story of a young boy and an adolescent girl who have travelled from Africa to Belgium and have their friendship tested by the difficult circumstances that they are thrust into.

Both Ostlund (winner of the Palme d’Or in 2017 for The Square) and Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 4 Days, which won the prize in 2007) have new films that expressly turn the spotlight on the state of humanity and world politics, something that many of the stories that will unfold on the screens in Cannes this year are likely to do.

Among these trenchant commentaries on the world that we live in are two other films from Scandinavia –Swedish-Egyptian director Tarik Saleh’s political thriller Boy from Heaven and Danish-Iranian filmmaker Ali Abbasi’s Holy Spider. Both Saleh and Abbasi are Competition first-timers. The latter’s sophomore venture Border won the Un Certain regard Prize in Cannes in 2018.

Boy from Heaven, set in Egypt, is about a fisherman’s son studying at a prestigious Cairo religious university who witnesses a tussle a power after the death of the grand imam on the first day after summer holidays.The film is a contemplationnot only on what Egypt is turning, but also the direction the world as a whole is moving towards.

Holy Spider is a serial killer hunt drama involving a religious fanatic out to eliminate street prostitutes in a holy Iranian city. After murdering several women, his desperation peaks as he begins to feel that his divine mission isn’t receiving the public enthusiasm that it merits. Holy Spider is a police procedural that journeys into the darkness at the heart of contemporary human existence.

In Sweden’s second Palme d’or contender, Triangle of Sadness, a dark comedy, Ostlund serves up a probe into what humans have become and how precarious socio-economic hierarchies are. A luxury cruise ship under the command of a staunch Marxist captain sinks. A celebrity couple are stranded on a desert island with a group of billionaires and a cleaning lady. Equations are disrupted as the cleaning lady moves up the pecking order because she is the only one among the marooned who can cook.

Mungiu’s R.M.N. raises questions about people who are under severe strain from rising intolerance. A man returns to his small village for Christmas and finds himself in the midst of a community overrun by strong anti-immigrant sentiments.

Kore-eda, the 2018 Palme d’Or winner for Shoplifters, continues to explore the theme of broken families and parenting dilemmas in Broker, a film about “baby boxes” in which people can anonymously leave unwanted babies. The film spotlights a mother who leaves her baby in a box and returns several years later to reclaim it.

A European festival held under the shadow of the hostilities in Ukraine cannot but contribute its mite to the unfolding discourseon war and its repercussions. The Cannes 2022 Competition lineup includes Tchaikovsky’s Wife, a film by dissident Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov, while Ukrainian filmmaker MaksimNakonechnyi’s Butterfly Vision is one of the 20 films that constitute the Un Certain Regard sidebar.

Serebrennikovcould not to travel to Cannes for the premiere of his previous two films – Leto and Petrov’s Flu. He was serving a suspended prison sentence (on what his supporters believe were trumped-up embezzlement charges) and was under a three-year travel ban. Serebrennikovis now in Germany, having been allowed to travel to Hamburg to direct a play based on an Anton Chekhov short story. So he is expected to hop across to Cannes to present Tchaikovsky’s Wife in person.

Serebrennikov’s new film is a 19th century drama that delves into the legendary Russian composer’s tempestuous relationship with his wife. Classical in terms of formal rigour but very contemporary
in mood and spirit – that is what one can expect Tchaikovsky’s Wife to be.

While two world cinema octogenarians, Poland’s Jerzy Skolimowski (Eo) and Italy’s Marco Bellocchio (EsternoNotte),are in the Cannes 2022programme, the 79-year-old Canadian David Cronenberg, a
maverick who has never shied away from provoking the audience with his “body horror” movies, returns to the Croisette with Crimes of the Future. Skolimowski and Corenberg are in Competion, Bellocchio is in Cannes Premiere.

Bellocchio’s EsternoNotte (Exterior Night), which is scheduled to be released in the cinemas as a two-part film and then as a series that will play over two nights on television, is a dramatization of the events leading to the kidnapping and killing of Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro by the Red Brigades in the 1970s.

Another series that will have a part of it showcased in Cannes Premiere is Olivier Assayas’ Irma Vep. It is adapted from the director’s 1996 film of the same name that played in Un certain regard. Starring Alicia Vikander, Irma Vep is the story of an American actress who, after a break-up, goes to France to work on a remake of a vampire film. She begins to lose hold of herself during the shoot as similarities between the character and herself assume unsettling proportions.

Although it shares the title of the 1970 Cronenberg film, Crimes of the Future is not a remake. If nothing else, the film starring Viggo Mortensen, Lea Seydoux and Kristen Stewart is expected to set the cat among the pigeons.

Skolimowski’sEo, a modern interpretation of Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar, tells the story of a donkey that begins in a circus in Poland and ends in a slaughterhouse in Italy. The Berlin Golden Bear-winning director (for Le depart, 1967) ruminates on humanity (or its absence) through the prism of mankind’s treatment of animals.

Discussions around gender parity in the official selection havebeen a constant in Cannes for several years now. Fremaux has consistently insisted that his choice of films isn’t swayed by quotas. Last year, although the percentage of female filmmakers in the line-up wasn’t exceptional, all the major prizes at the festival were won by women directors.

The 20-film Un certain regard section has nine films directed by women, which translates into nearly 50:50 gender parity. Eight of these films are by first-time directors. The sidebar will, therefore, definitely be worth keeping an eye on if you are looking for surprises and discoveries.

This year, only five of the 21 Competition titles have been directed by women but chances are that at least two of them – 76-year-old French auteur Claire Denis (Stars at Noon) and American filmmaker Kelly Reichardt (Showing Up) – will be in with a chance of being among the awards.

We also expect Park Chan-wook (Decision to Leave), Arnaud Desplechin (Brother and Sister), James Gray (Armageddon Time), Albert Serra (Bora Bora)and Mario Martone (Nostalgia) to be on the radar of the jury when the nine members chaired by French actor Vincent Lindon begin their final deliberations.

Other major works to watch out for in Cannes are the Opening Night film Coupez! (English title: Final Cut) by Michel Hazanivicius, Austrian director Maria Kreutzer feminist period drama Corsage, the Tom Cruise starrer Top Gun: Maverick and Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic, Elvis.

Last but not the least, ShaunakSen’s All That Breathes, which won the World Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, gets a Special Screening in Cannes this year. The film centres on two brothers who, amid Delhi’s worsening air pollution and growing social unrest, devote themselves to rescuing black kites.

In the Special Screenings section, All that Breathes is in the company of documentaries by Ethan Coen (Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind), Patricio Guzman(My Imaginary Country) and Sergei Loznitsa (The Natural History of Destruction), who has been disowned by the filmmaking fraternity in Ukraine because he has declared his opposition to Russian filmmakers being boycotted because of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of his country.


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Le Musk: A Brave New Frontier in Cinema

admin   May 18, 2022

A technical masterpiece by Oscar and Grammy-winning composer A.R. Rahman with inter-disciplinary expertise coming together from around the world, Le Musk is a feature that ushers new ground in art and technology, merging worlds, mediums and cultures, and is all set to exclusively premiere at Cannes XR

Le Musk is a cinematic sensory experience by A.R. Rahman, incorporating virtual reality (VR). With scent being the key to unlocking the story, the movie is immersive, pathbreaking and unparalleled as it marks a new frontier in cinema. Directed and scored by Oscar and Grammywinning composer A.R. Rahman — who makes his directorial debut with the film — Le Musk is all set to exclusively premiere at Cannes XR in partnership with Marché du Film, a part of the 75th Cannes Film Festival. Punctuated by scent, motion and music, Le Musk is a feature that ushers new ground in art and technology, merging worlds, mediums and cultures.

The 36-minute film features a global star cast comprising Hollywood actress Nora Arnezeder (Army of the Dead) and Guy Burnet (Oppenheimer) in lead roles, joined by Munirih Grace and Mariam Zohrabyan from Armenia. The film, where technology meets the storytellers, constructs a compelling world of music, motion and scent, following the journey of an orphaned heiress and musician, who grows up to be a woman on a mission. Despite her tumultuous life, she has one constant companion – the lingering Muskan scent.

Centering an unforgettable protagonist in Arnezeder’s Juliet, Le Musk is an ode to music and memory. The movie is a potent portrait of a woman spurned by the oldest, most treacherous quest of humankind — revenge. Juliet yearns for normalcy, but her past doesn’t allow her the luxury of mundanity. Dipping into the abstract trenches of the woman’s psyche, Le Musk constructs a compelling world of music and scent that lay bare sinister and pure motives. As Juliet searches for the four men — the injured, the tattooed, the poacher and the ‘Musk’ — she must come face to face with the price of her purpose and confront the persistent presence of the past. As she inches closer to discovery, will she endure or will she break… irreversibly?

The idea for Le Musk was born out of director Rahman’s conversation with his wife SairaRahman. The partners share a love for perfume and wished to employ scent as a narrative device in immersive cinema. They tapped into the infinite possibilities posed by immersive VR soon after their exchange. Gradually, the world and characters of Le Musk took shape in the artist’s mind.

Shot in Rome, Le Musk is a technical masterpiece with inter-disciplinary expertise coming together from around the world. Shot on 14 different cameras capture super-resolution quality video. Post-produced in stereoscopic 360 VR workflow at higher resolution and frame rate, Le Musk’s was finished by 10 VFX houses from around the world with close to a petabyte of data.

In association with Marché du Film / CannesXR allows the project to be experienced at the immersive VR chair by Positron, the Los Angeles-based company. All that with motion, scent, immersive sound, and haptics integrated.


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Tom Cruise’s ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ to Blaze at Cannes

admin   March 15, 2022

Film festivals and markets are accelerating changing gears to give boost to the entertainment sector post Covid and Cannes which will be celebrating 75th edition this May (17-28) will screen Tom Cruise’s ‘Top Gun: Maverick’

Cannes Film Festival, the world’s most high-profile film festival, is all set to give the much needed push to the film industry post-Covid. Celebrating its 75th edition this year, Cannes will screen Tom Cruise’s ‘Top Gun: Maverick’. This comes amid the film’s planned release around the globe at the end of May.

The Hollywood Reporter said Paramount and Skydance high-profile sequel — starring Tom Cruise, one of the world’s biggest stars — will screen at the festival in advance of its Memorial Day premiere in theaters. The festival on the French Riviera will go on from May 17 to 28.

This is for the first time in three decades a Cruise film has screened at Cannes, with the Ron Howard-directed Far and Away bowing at the fest in 1992. Cannes would be an obvious place for the actor to show off his new film, The Hollywood Reporter said, adding Cruise’s appearance would be of benefit to the festival as it emerges from the pandemic.

Directed by Joseph Kosinski, the movie also stars Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Danny Ramirez, Monica Barbaro, Ed Harris and Val Kilmer, returning as Iceman.

‘Top Gun: The Maverick’ has been made from a screenplay by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, and Christopher McQuarrie and a story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks.It is the sequel to 1986’s Top Gun.

It was originally scheduled for release on July 12, 2019, but was postponed to “allow the production to work out all the complex flight sequences”. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and scheduling conflicts, the film experienced further delays.