For a film festival in a country that supposedly looks down its nose at the US, Cannes has certainly shown a lot of love to American auteurs. For nearly 20 years, some of our most successful indie filmmakers have been dominant forces at the French festival, including the Coen brothers, Gus Van Sant, Michael Moore, and former Cannes jury president Quentin Tarantino. All of them will be well-represented next month at the 60th edition of Cannes. Five of the 21 films in competition are from the U.S. of A., including Van Sant’s Paranoid Park, the Coens’ No Country for Old Men, David Fincher’s Zodiac, James Gray’s We Own the Night, and Tarantino’s Death Proof (pictured, with Rose McGowan and Kurt Russell), which is being split off of Grindhouse and getting 15 minutes of extra footage. (Alas, no such love for Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror. Though I hear the French are working on their own version, in which Audrey Tautou loses her fingers and has them replaced with unfiltered cigarettes.)
Other prominent US films at the fest (screening out of competition) will include Moore’s Sicko (in which the documentarian takes on the American health care system), Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s 13, Abel Ferrara’s Go Go Tales, The War (Ken Burns’ controversial WWII doc, set to air this fall on PBS), and the Leonardo DiCaprio-produced environmental doc 11th Hour. Even the opening night feature, Wong Kar-Wai’s My Blueberry Nights, marks the Chinese director’s first English-language film, with a cast led by America’s Norah Jones (in her acting debut).
Why should you care about Cannes? Because the US-heavy slate this year means that a lot of the Cannes lineup should actually make it to your multiplex later this year. And since most of these movies are screening for the press for the first time at Cannes, critical opinion will begin to gel there, and when they finally open here, you can expect the consensus around these movies — including whether they’re awards-worthy — to echo the buzz generated among the lucky few who got to see them at the fest. For better or worse, the road to the domestic box office — and to Oscar — begins on the Croisette.
addCredit(“Death Proof: Andrew Cooper”)