Double delight: Two Indian films at Cannes this year

  • Gautaman Bhaskaran, Hindustan Times, Beijing
  • Updated: Apr 17, 2015 15:13 IST

Although India has not found a slot in Competition at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival, the country will see two entries in the section called A Certain Regard.

Gurvinder Singh's Chauthi Koot (The Fourth Direction) and Neeraj Ghaywan's (a protege of Anurag Kashyap) Masaan (Fly Away Solo) will screen in this section -- often considered second in importance only to Competition and a platform where talent is discovered through novel experiments in cinema.

A still from Gurvinder Singh's Chauthi Koot.

Singh shot to prominence at the 2011 Venice Film Festival, where his debut Anhey Ghorey Da Daan (Alms for a Blind Horse) was shown. Chauthi Koot is very different from his first work. It unfolds in the 1984 Punjab, a state in turmoil, in the midst of Sikh militancy, in the midst of fear and suspicion.

The movie explores the horrible plight of the common man as he finds himself trapped between the army and the extremists, demanding a separate homeland for Sikhs.

Unfortunately, really nothing much is known about Masaan, except that it stars Richa Chadda, who also essayed a part in Anurag Kashyap's Gangs of Wasseypur. The plot is said to unfold in Varanasi.


Bombay Velvet

-- which was heavily tipped to be part of


-- has been passed over.

It is rumoured that Fox, which produced Bombay Velvet, wanted it to be the opening film. One supposes that Cannes could not accede to this 'demand'. Maybe, Kashyap will be back in the Directors' Fortnight, a parallel section which takes places along with the festival. His Gangs of Wasseypur was there too.

The festival's General Delegate, Thierry Fremaux, said while announcing the official lineup in Paris on Thursday, that about 10 more titles would be added in the coming days -- before Cannes kicks off on May 13. Some 40-odd were named on Thursday -- 17 in Competition, a section that last saw an Indian work in 1994, Shaji N Karun's Swaham.

Fremaux has attempted to shake things up a bit, which is quite unlike the French, who believe in eternal continuity. As the Variety movie critic, Patrick Frater, told this writer at Beijing on Thursday, the Cannes Press notes even have the same type faces that one saw 25 years ago.

However, 2015 looks likes it is going to be different. "It's a beautiful, fresh line-up which formulates ideas, takes risks and says something about the state of creativity in cinema around the world," Fremaux told a packed conference.

While some of the old timers will be there at Cannes Competition this year (but of course) -- Jacques Audiard (with Dheepan, about a Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger working in Paris), Nanni Moretti (My Mother), Todd Haynes (Carol), Hirkazu Kore-eda (Our Little Sister) and Hou Hsiao-Hsien (The Assassin) -- first-timers, such as Valerie Donzelli (Marguerite And Julien) and Norwegian auteur Joachim Trier (not Lars Von Trier) with his Louder than Bombs will walk the Red Carpet.

Fremaux averred that 'there are those who say, if you watch 1,800 movies (1850 were submitted this time for possible inclusion) , how come the same names always get selected, this year they'll see it's not really the case... Not everyone is there. Not everyone is ready... When the big auteurs are present at Cannes, there's stigmatism… but on the other hand when they're not ready it's not so easy to find the young or unknown auteurs, who are talented enough or in a position, to present a film in competition in the biggest movie festival in the world."

Other debutant directors who have made the cut in Competition include Hungary's Laszlo Nemes with Son of Saul (about a prisoner who retrieves the body of young boy from the fire pits of Auschwitz in order to give him a proper burial), French Stéphane Brizé's A Simple Man, (which follows his critically acclaimed A Few Hours of Spring), the established auteur, Denis Villeneuve with a New Mexico thriller about drugs, Sicario, Australia's Justin Kurzel with Macbeth, and Greece's Yorgos Lanthimos with Lobster.

Some important names do not figure as yet in the list ("We had to leave behind some movies we liked," added Fremaux.) and they are Alexander Sokurov (Francofonia, Le Louvre Under German Occupation), Gaspar Noe (Love), Arnold Desplechin (My Golden Years), Hong Sang-soo (Right Now, Wrong Then), UK's Terence Davies (Sunset Song), Ben Wheatley (High Rise) and Stephen Frears (Icon).

Full list of all titles:

* Dheepan (working title), Jacques Audiard
* A Simple Man (La Loi Du Marché), Stéphane Brizé
* Marguerite And Julien, Valérie Donzelli
* The Tale Of Tales (Il Racconto Dei Racconti), Matteo Garrone
* Carol, Todd Haynes
* The Assassin (Nie Yinniang), HOU Hsiao Hsien
* Mountains May Depart (Shan He Gu Ren), JIA Zhang-Ke
* Our Little Sister (Umimachi Diary), Hirokazu KORE-EDA
* Macbeth, Justin Kurzel
* The Lobster, Yorgos Lanthimos
* Mon Roi, Maïwenn
* Mia Madre, Nanni Moretti
* Son Of Saul (Saul Fia), László Nemes
* Youth, Paolo Sorrentino
* Louder Than Bombs, Joachim Trier
* The Sea of Trees, by Gus Van Sant
* Sicario, Denis Villeneuve

Out of Competition:
* Standing Tall (La Tête Haute), Emmanuelle Bercot (opening film)
* Mad Max : Fury Road, George Miller
* Irrational Man, Woody Allen
* Inside Out, Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen
* The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince), Mark Osborne

A Certain Regard:
* Fly Away Solo (Masaan), Neeraj Ghaywan
* Rams (Hrútar), Grímur Hákonarson
* Journey To The Shore (Kishibe No Tabi), Kurosawa Kiyoshi
* I Am A Soldier (Je Suis Un Soldat), Laurent Larivière
* The High Sun, (Zvizdan), Dalibor Matanic
* The Other Side, Roberto Minervini
* One Floor Below (Un Etaj Mai Jos), Radu Muntean
* The Shameless (Mu-Roe-Han), Oh Seung-Uk
* The Chosen Ones (Las Elegidas), David Pablos
* The Treasure (Comoara), Corneliu Porumboiu
* The Fourth Direction (Chauthi Koot), Gurvinder Singh
* Madonna, Shin Suwon
* Maryland, Alice Winocour

Midnight Screenings:
* Amy, Asif Kapadia
* Office (O Piseu), HONG Won-Chan

Special Screenings:
* Oka, Souleymane Cisse
* Hayored Lema'ala, Elad Keidan
* A Tale Of Love And Darkness (Sipur Al Ahava Ve Choshech), Natalie Portman
* Amnesia, Barbet Schroeder
* Panama, Pavle Vuckovic
* Asphalte, Samuel Benchetrit

Gautaman Bhaskaran has covered the Cannes Film Festival for 25 years)

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