General critical consensus held that the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, despite several strong entries (A Christmas Tale, The Class, Gomorrah, Lorna’s Silence, et al), was a bit of an off year, so there was a lot of anticipation that the stars would align for the 2009 edition. Well, this year’s line-up has just been announced and oh dear lord does it look promising: The competition features a murderer’s row of European provocateurs, including new films by Lars Von Trier (Antichrist), Gaspar Noé (Enter The Void), and Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon). Longtime Cannes favorites like Pedro Almodóvar (Broken Embraces), Alain Resnais (Les Herbes Folles), and Ken Loach (Looking For Eric) will also be competing, as well as a diverse selection of Asian masters like Park Chan-wook (Thirst), Tsai Ming-liang (Face), and Johnnie To (Vengeance). There are only two American films in competition, but they’re both doozies: Quentin Tarantino’s WWII epic Inglourious Basterds and Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock. And oh yeah, Jane Campion (Bright Star) and Elia Sulieman (The Time That Remains), too!
Out of competition, the hits just keep on coming, with premieres of Terry Gilliam’s hotly anticipated The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus, the new Pixar film Up, and Alejandro Amenabar’s Agora. The Un Certain Regard section also looks strong enough to be a competition section in a lesser year, with new ones from The Host director Bong Joon-ho (Mother), Hirokazu Kore-eda (Air Doll), and Iran’s Bahman Ghobadi (Nobody Knows About Persian Cats), the filmmaker whose fiancé, the Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi, was recently jailed on trumped-up spy charges. At Midnight, Sam Raimi (Drag Me To Hell) and In My Skin director Marina De Van (Don’t Come Back) come out to play.
With the line-up set, we’re thrilled to report that The A.V. Club will be covering the festival for the first time. Through a unique set of circumstances that we’ll let him explain when the time comes, Mike D’Angelo, who we’ve long considered one of the brightest and wittiest film writers around, will be contributing daily blog entries from the festival, which runs from May 13th to May 24th. Mike’s work has appeared in Esquire, Time Out New York, The Village Voice, Las Vegas Weekly, and a number of other distinguished publications; further evidence of his formidable knowledge and writing skills can be gleaned from his website, The Man Who Viewed Too Much.
Check out the full line-up here.