Regular contributor Fausto gives us a rundown of what to look forward to at Cannes this year…
This year in Boulevard de la Croisette the Asian party will easily get started by asian lovers from all over the world. Last year Takashi Miike and Hong Sang-soo were quite alone with their movies in separate sections, just the second of the two in competition against some of the best world directors, but this year, at the 66th Festival de Cannes, things might finally change. It’ll be a bloody battle between Nicolas Winding Refn, the Coen Brothers and Roman Polanski, but none of them should underestimate the three Asian directors in competition: Takashi Miike enters in the main challenge jumping off the “out of competition” limbo and will represent Japan together with Master Hirokazu Kore-Eda, while Mainland China will try to catch the Palme d’Or with the help of Jia Zhangke.
Takashi Miike goes back to what he knows best: an epic thriller adapted from Kazuhiro Kiuchi’s novel Wara no Tate. It’ll be called Shield of Straw and it’s Kunihide Kiyomaru’s (Tatsuya Fujiwara, Battle Royale, Death Note) story, a young ex-convict guilt of the murder of a young girl eight years ago, a past that haunts him again when the granddaughter of an important Japanese politicisan, Takaoki Ninagawa (Tsutomi Yamazaki, The Woodsman and the Rain, Departures), is killed. He becomes the main suspect and when Ninagawa places a one billion yen reward for the head of the murderer, Kiyomaru has to escape. It seems unlikely for a plot and a director like these to be awarded with the Palme d’Or, but why shouldn’t we root for Miike?
Hirokazu Kore-Eda is, as usually, whose I Wish was recently released in the UK, ok with his dramas gives us Like Father, Like Son the story of Ryota, a successful man forced to take a decision that might take him on a path to rewrite his beliefs about himself. He has a perfect family, a good job and a nice little kid of 6 years old, Keita, but as the hospital says he’s not his son. Because of a mistake made six years ago, Ryota has now learned that his biological son has been nurtured by another family, and he has now to choose between nature and nurture. For a place that has a particular love for dramas, Kore-Eda could easily be one of the winners.
Jia Zhangke’s movie Tian Zhu Ding is still a mystery, it’s impossible to find anything about it on the web, but we trust the Chinese director, since he is one of the true contemporary neorealist directors, a real visionary and interpreter of the reality. But the biggest surprise we had today was in the Midnight Screening section, in which Johnnie To will have his premiere for his new action thriller with Andy Lau (A Simple Life, Shaolin, Cold War), Blind Detective, one of the most anticipated Asian movie of the year together with his Drug War that still hasn’t been released both in Europe and the US after its unexpected premiere at the Rome International Film Festival.
And then Thailand will have its place thanks to Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives, but few names in it have truly worked in the peninsula, while the Philippine director Lav Diaz’ Norte, Hangganan Ng Kasaysayan will surely be a sold out with his premiere in the Un Certain Regard competition. Now the only thing we have to do is wait, as usual, until some saint will decide to release some of this titles, even if the situation is already worrying and most of the works of the directors we talked about has still to see our continent.
The 66th Cannes Film Festival takes place from 15 to 26 May.
(And several easternKicks contributors are lucky enough to be going! Not me though – Editor.)