Two more movies have been added to the 17 Competition titles at the Cannes Film Festival that begins on May 13. The 17 movies were announced on April 16 in Paris. In recent years, this has been the festival's style of adding a few names in the several sections of the official selection just days before the 12-day event kicks off.
The first of the two films is Chronic by Mexican director Michel Franco, starring Tim Roth and Bitsis Tulloch. This is Franco's first ever English-language work -- a move that is clearly intended to expand the market, although India hardly ever seems to be in this radar.
Chronic tells us the story of a depressed male nurse who helps terminally ill patient -- a profession that has created a chasm between him and the family he abandoned. His efforts to reconnect with it will form the focus of the movie.
Franco and Roth had met at the 2012 Cannes -- where the auteur's After Lucia played at A Certain Regard, whose jury was chaired by Tim. It was there at the French Riviera that the two made up their minds to work together.
The second Competition title that has been included to take the total number in this category to 19 is The Valley of Love, helmed by Guillaume Nicloux. The movie has as its lead stars Isabelle Huppert and Gerard Depardieu (the man who famously eased himself in the aisle of a plane because the toilets were occupied and who in his teens had been a petty thief till a theatre talent spotter lifted him out of destitution and paid him to study drama). Depardieu was on the Croisette in 2014 with Abel Ferrara's controversial Welcome To New York, an veiled take on the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal.
Nicloux won the Best Screenplay Award at Tribeca in 2014 for The Kidnapping, a comedic interpretation of a rumoured abduction of a writer.In The Valley Of Love, Huppert and Depardieu essay Gerard and Elle, two celebrated actors who were once married and had a son. The boy's death reunites the two -- though in an eerily strange way.
Noe was part of Competition in 2002 (with his Irreversible) and 2009 (Enter the Void).Also part of Midnight/Special Screenings will be French director Robert Guediguian's Don't Tell Me The Boy Was Mad -- about a French Armenian lad who becomes a terrorist. Guediguian was in Competition in 2002 with Marie-Jo and Her Two Lovers, and in A Certain Regard in 2011 with The Snows of Kilimanjaro.
There have been five additions in A Certain Regard. Naomi Kawase's An (Japan) -- which is about the friendship between an old lady and a baker -- will set this section rolling. Kawase has vied for the Palm d'Or on four occasions: Shara (2003), The Mourning Forest (2007) (which won the Grand Jury Prize), Hanezu (2011) and Still the Water (2014). In 1997, she won the Camera d'Or for Suzaku.
Thailand's Apichatpong Weerasethakul, who clinched the Palme d'Or in 2010 with Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, returns with Cemetery of Splendour, which talks about a lonesome housewife who tends a soldier with sleeping sickness and falls into a hallucination, which triggers strange dreams, phantoms, and romance. A typical Weerasethakul idea.
The Philippines' Brillante Mendoza will be back at Cannes with Taklub, a dramatic tale of typhoon survivors. Mendoza won the Best Director trophy for Kinatay in 2009.
Lamb by debutant Yared Zeleke, will be the first work from Ethiopia to screen in official selection. It is a poignant story of a nine-year-old and his constant companion, a sheep names Chuni.
Finally, Alias Maria is a war drama from Colombian auteur Jose Luis Rugeles.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran has covered the Cannes Film Festival for 25 years.)