One does not even remember when was the last time that an Indian movie competed at the Cannes Film Festival. It was literally years and years ago.
Last year, when the two most important men from the Festival, Thierry Fremaux and Christian Jeune, came over the International Film Festival of India at Goa’s Panaji, I had hoped that they would get around watching some interesting fare. Obviously, they did not. Or, interesting fare was not shown to them.
So this year, there is an Indian movie, albeit in the section called A Certain Regard, the most important after Competition and one that has been tailored for experiments and discoveries. Kanu Behl’s debut venture, Titli, will play here.
Many Indians would be unhappy that the country missed being in Competition – yet again.
Similarly, world movie buffs and Cannes regulars will miss the films of master-makers and Festival favourites like Terrence Malick, Abel Ferrara, Stephen Frears and Doug Liman. Their creations were tipped to be at the 67th edition of Cannes, to begin on May 14 with the Nicole Kidman starrer, Grace of Monaco.
It was hoped that Malick would be on the Croisette with his Knight of Cups or Voyage of Time. But Fremaux (General-Delegate of the Festival) told a media conference in Paris on April 17 – when the official lineup was being unveiled – that he had been informed over the telephone by Malick that his movie would not be ready for the Festival. “Bad news for us, but not for him," Fremaux quipped.
Although the journalists at the conference tried quizzing Fremaux about the “misses”, he was firm when he said: "It's tradition to talk about the films that we are showing, and not films that we are not showing." However, he added that Fatih Akin had pulled out his movie also because it was not ready.
Well, there are others who failed to get in this year. Abel Ferrara’s Welcome to New York, with Gerard Depardieu (that excellent but “crazy” actor who once urinated in the aisle of a plane”) as Dominique Strauss Kahn, the disgraced French International Monetary Fund chief, is not in the race. Did political consideration play a part here?
Xavier Beauvois, whose Of Gods and Men nabbed the Grand Prix in 2010, also appeared conspicuous by his absence. His Price of Glory -- starring Benoit Poelvoorde and Roschdy Zem as thieves desecrating the grave of Charlie Chaplin in the 1970s -- was in the running. But did not make the cut.
The buzz now is that some producers and directors have not sent their films to Cannes, because they prefer the Fall season’s awards. So, it is quite likely that Venice, happening in August-September, will grab the Cannes misses. These can also include Paul Thomas Anderson’s much-anticipated adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Michael Keaton-starrer Birdman and Stephen Frears’ untitled Lance Armstrong biopic (with Ben Foster).
The Festival, which runs till May 25, is yet to tell us what its closing shot will be.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran will be covering the Cannes Film Festival, and may be e-mailed at