When a film widely seen as a dead cert to make the Cannes lineup doesn't ultimately appear, there can be any number of routine explanations, from shooting and editing overruns to inter-festival politics to the aesthetic whims of the selection panel – but it's unusual for a filmmaker to withdraw his own work for “personal reasons.” That's what's happened, however, with German-Turkish auteur Fatih Akin, whose first narrative feature in five years, “The Cut,” was on most Competition prediction lists.
Back in 2010, the Cannes Film Festival picked Juliette Binoche to grace its official festival poster -- only for the choice to stir some cynical grumblings when the French star went on to win Best Actress from Tim Burton's jury. The strength of her performance in "Certified Copy" was enough for most to file the occurrence as a happy coincidence rather than anything more calculated -- still, the festival has played it safe ever since, opting for vintage movie-star images that couldn't conceivably cause any disagreement.
One of the most pleasant surprises of this year's Sundance Film Festival, for me, was Gillian Robespierre's warmly authentic debut feature "Obvious Child" -- a film that gives former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Jenny Slate her first film lead, and lets her run with it to utterly disarming effect. As a romantic comedy that touches on more complicated human issues than the average example of the genre, it was a perfect acquisition for A24 Films, the young distribution company that is building a neat line in coolly offbeat indies, many of them female-driven.
In the same way that the day of the Oscar nominations is a bit like Christmas morning for a certain sect of film lovers, so it is with the announcement of the Cannes Film Festival lineup -- which takes place on Thursday in Paris. Across the internet, you can find any number of comprehensive prediction pieces, as internationally inclined cinephiles attempt to guess (and second-guess) what Thierry Fremaux and his his team will select for this year's fest -- and, almost as crucially, in what section they'll elect to place it.
I'm still getting used to the fact that Brad Pitt is now an Oscar-winning producer -- one wonders whether, like Michael Douglas before him, the acting award will come later, Either way, the man's no slouch in the off-screen department: aside from "12 Years a Slave," the man's production credits range from "The Departed" to "Kick-Ass" to "The Tree of Life" to the (likely Cannes-bound) HBO feature "The Normal Heart." And now "The Operators," to which Pitt is also attached to star as US military general Stanley McChrystal.
Robert Pattinson has re-teamed with his "Cosmopolis" director David Cronenberg, and you can get your first look at the result now.
I love that Tommy Lee Jones is carrying a torch for the western genre. He gave us "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada" nearly a decade ago and 10 years prior, his directorial debut was the TV movie "The Good Old Boys." Now he's saddling back up (so to speak) with "The Homesman," and like "Three Burials," we can probably expect it to debut at Cannes next month.
If you haven't seen the trailer for "Gone Girl" yet, check it out over at Motion/Captured. I'm anticipating the film, particularly because it's interesting to me that Ben Affleck is sticking with the acting for a while, working with masters like Fincher and Malick rather than diving full force into directing only. It'll only help him moving forward behind the camera, and I think he's taking note of how buddy Matt Damon has been doing the same before saddling up to his first directorial effort.
There's also word today that Fincher is off of the Aaron Sorkin/Steve Jobs project at Sony, which, if true, is a bit of a relief. He's an amazing director and nearly always nails the material, but I'm growing a touch weary of the prestige baiting and long for the old Fincher middle finger days of "Fight Club" and "Se7en," when the style and the substance were both going all the way to 11. Here's hoping whatever his next project is, it's something in line with the earlier days, because I'm sure there's still a lot of punk rock in him (not that I'm saying he's sold out as of late at all, because he hasn't — this is just what I'd like to see).
Anyway, we have our first glimpse of the poster this afternoon. I dig it. Check that out below. The film hits theaters Oct. 3.
The husband-and-wife producer team of Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald have a pretty interesting résumé, as these things go: their credits range from blockbusters like "Men in Black" to specialty passion projects like Guillermo Arriaga's "The Burning Plain."