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Directors’ Fortnight has compiled an eclectic mix of 22 films

THE BUG, THE MURDER, THE MONSTER & THE SUICIDE BOMBER
For Cannes 2006, Directors’ Fortnight has compiled an eclectic mix of 22 films from 19 countries, ranging from Bug, by the 70 year old William Friedkin, who famously directed The French Connection (1971) and Rules of Engagement (2000) to Jindabyne, by Australia’s Ray Lawrence who famously directed Bliss (1985) and Lantana (2001). Andrew L. Urban and Louise Keller report on the selection.

From its inception in 1969 by the French Directors Guild, the aim of the Directors’ Fortnight, which is independent of the Official Competition, has been to showcase filmmakers for audiences and critics alike. This not only involves highlighting new talent in world cinema and the directors of tomorrow, but also supporting filmmakers who are still little-known in the West or whose work has not been shown in the major international festivals. The emphasis is on “individual talent and an original directorial style”; these are the principles that have guided Olivier Pére, the Artistic Director of the event.

Ray Lawrence’s much anticipated adaptation of Raymond Carver’s novel (So Much Water So Close To Home), Jindabyne, stars Laura Linney, Gabriel Byrne, Deborra-lee Furness, John Howard. Stewart Kane, an Irish-born local from the Australian town of Jindabyne, is on a fishing trip in the mountains with three friends when they discover the dead body of a young woman in the river. Rather than return immediately, they continue fishing and only report their gruesome find days later. When they get home, they must confront the rage and incomprehension of the townspeople. The incident exposes the deep-lying secrets and feelings of love and hate that shake the community.

“It is a very poignant story about both individual and collective guilt and responsibility,” comments Pére. “It deals with very important and ambitious themes. The cinematography, the editing, the screenplay and the direction are brilliant, confirming that Ray Lawrence is a great film director. All the cast gives excellent performances, especially Laura Linney and Gabriel Byrne.

“Jindabyne is the best Australian film we have seen this year for our selection.

It is a great honour and a pleasure to invite a movie with such an artistic level at Directors' Fortnight, Cannes. I am very confident about the success of the film in our section, I am sure it will capture the audience,” he adds with confidence.

In Friedkin’s thriller, Bug, a lonely waitress with a tragic past, Agnes (Ashley Judd) rooms in a run-down motel, living in fear of her abusive, recently paroled ex-husband. But when Agnes begins a tentative romance with Peter (Michael Shannon), an eccentric, nervous drifter and war vet, she starts to feel hopeful again… until the first bugs arrive.

Perhaps the most intriguing entry is The Host, from the talented Korean filmmaker, Bong Joon-ho, whose excellent crime thriller Memories of Murder (2003) can be seen on World Movies (June 27, 8.30pm). The Host is nothing like it. Set in contemporary Seoul, it’s about a family whose youngest and dearest daughter is taken by a monster from the River Han, who spreads panic and death. The family begins a crusade against the monster.

Three of the seven (principally) French films in the program, Claire Simon’s Ca brule, Jean-Claude Brisseu’s Les Anges exterminateurs, and Emmanuel Mouret’s Changement d’addresse, all deal with eroticism and/or sex. The latter, with its promise of an exploration of minor erotic transgressions, seems destined for a sell out screening at the Hotel Noga theatre, main home for the Directors’ Fortnight. (Screenings also at Cinema Les Arcades near the Old Port, and Studio 13, a bit further out towards La Bocca.)

And just to round off the sexual orientation menu, among the Special Screenings is Gus van Sant’s quirky new film, Mala noche, about Walt, a young homosexual who falls madly in love with illegal Mexican immigrant, Johnny.

However, one of the other French films, Day Night Day Night, tackles terrorism from a unique perspective: Julia Loktev’s film follows a 19 year old girl of unknowable origins, who plans to blow herself up in Times Square for unknown motives, representing who knows what or whom.

Canada’s Philippe Falardeau brings Congorama, a bizarre story about an inventor who goes looking for his biological parents and meets with a car accident that not only changes his life but also the future of the car industry.

FEATURES PROGRAM:
A Fost sau n-a fost ?
Romania - 1h29 (2006)
PORUMBOIU Corneliu

Anche libero va bene
Italy - 1h48 (2006)
ROSSI STUART Kim

Anges exterminateurs (Les)
France - 1h40 (2006)
BRISSEAU Jean-Claude

Azur et Asmar
Spain, Italy, Belgium, France - 1h30 (2006)
OCELOT Michel

Bug
U.S.A. - 1h41 (2006)
FRIEDKIN William

Ça brûle
France, Swiss - 1h51 (2006)
SIMON Claire

Changement d’adresse
France - 1h25 (2006)
MOURET Emmanuel

Congorama
Canada, Belgium, France - 1h45 (2006)
FALARDEAU Philippe

Daft Punk’s Electroma
U.S.A. - 1h14 (2006)
BANGALTER Thomas
DE HOMEM-CHRISTO Guy-Manuel

Dans Paris
France - 1h30 (2006)
HONORE Christophe

Day Night Day Night
France, Germany, U.S.A. - 1h30 (2006)
LOKTEV Julia

Fehér tenyér
(White Palms )
Hungary - 1h41 (2006)
HADJU Szabolcs

Hawk is Dying (The)
U.S.A. - 1h46 (2005)
GOLDBERGER Julian

Honor de Cavalleria
Spain - 1h50 (2006)
SERRA Albert

Host (The)
(Gue Mool)
Korea, South - 1h59 (2006)
BONG Joon-ho

Jindabyne
Australia - 2h03 (2006)
LAWRENCE Ray

Lying
U.S.A. - 1h32 (2005)
M. BLASH

On ne devrait pas exister
France - 1h30 (2006)
HPG

Princess
Denmark, Germany - 1h23 (2006)
MORGENTHALER Anders

Sommer 04 An Der Schlei
(Été 2004 au bord de la Schlei)
Germany - 1h37 (2006)
KROHMER Stefan

Transe
(Trance)
Italy, Portugal, France - 2h06 (2006)
VILLAVERDE Teresa

Yureru
(Sway)
Japan - 2h00 (2006)
NISHIKAWA Miwa

SPECIAL SCREENINGS:
Fantasma
Argentina, France, Netherlands - 1h03 (2006)
ALONSO Lisandro

Mala noche
U.S.A. - 1h20 (1985)
VAN SANT Gus

Melvil
France - 1h07 (2006)
POUPAUD Melvil

Published May 18, 2006

Andrew Urban
http://www.urbancinefile.com.au

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