'Ismael's Ghosts' to open 70th edition of Cannes

Indo Asian News Service

Paris, April 13 (IANS) French film "Les fantômes d'Ismaël" ("Ismael's Ghosts" in English) has been picked as the opening film of the 70th edition of Cannes Film Festival, where India's "Afternoon Clouds" will also participate.

Directed by Arnaud Desplechin, the film stars Charlotte Gainsbourg and Marion Cotillard. The category -- Un Certain Regard -- will kick off with Mathieu Amalric's "Barbara", a biopic of the mono-monikered French chanteuse, reports variety.com.

From India, "Afternoon Clouds" directed by Payal Kapadia, a third-year film direction course student (2012 batch) of Film and Television Institute of India, has been invited to participate in the Cinefondation selection of the festival, which will run May 17-28.

In the category -- In Competition -- American directors Sofia Coppola ("The Beguiled"), Noah Baumbach ("The Meyerowitz Stories"), and Todd Haynes ("Wonderstruck") are competing with each other.

The line-up in the above category also includes works from filmmakers like Michael Haneke ("Happy End"), Andrey Zvyagintsev ("Loveless") and Hong Sangsoo - who will have two films -- "The Day After" and Isabelle Huppert-starrer "Claire's Camera" .

English-language entries from Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos (who follows up his Cannes-launched "The Lobster" with "The Killing of a Sacred Deer") and South Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho, whose "Okja" stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton, are also part of the line-up.

At a press conference on Thursday here, festival president Pierre Lescure and general delegate Thierry Frémaux announced 49 films from 29 countries, including films from 12 women directors and nine first-time feature helmers, reports variety.com.

Russia makes an especially strong showing this year.

"Russia used to be lagging behind. This year, we saw many Russian films, many beautiful works which suggest that there is some sort of new wave or a renewed vitality in this big country," Frémaux said.

This edition also sees the inclusion of a virtual reality project from Alejandro G. Iñárritu entitled "Carne y arena", as well as two television projects, David Lynch's "Twin Peaks" revival and season two of Jane Campion's "Top of the Lake".

Frémaux also addressed several emerging trends at the conference, including the rise of online distributors and the inclusion of two television series.

"Basically, two big players have appeared in the last few years, Amazon and Netflix, which are two new operators for filmmakers, producers, and for festivals," he said.

Both "Okja" and "The Meyerowitz Stories" are Netflix original productions (though Frémaux described the latter as a Scott Rudin production), while Amazon Studios backed both "Wonderstruck" and Scottish director Lynne Ramsay's "You Were Never Really Here" (which Frémaux said is not yet done, and which was accepted with three scenes still to shoot).

Although the 2017 line-up was announced on Thursday, Fremaux suggested that there's always the possibility that Cannes may add one or two more titles before the start of this year's event.

Scheduled to take place at the same time but not part of the "official selection", Directors' Fortnight and Critics' Week will be announcing their line-ups later this month.

--IANS

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