The Critics Week sidebar of the Cannes Film Festival has announced its lineup with Paul Danos feature directorial debut Wildlife as the opening night film. Billed as a Special Screening, the Sundance premiere will run out of competition and stars Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal. Alex Lutzs Guy has been set to close the section, also out of competition.
Among the seven films competing are five from first-time directors. The two sophomore efforts are psychological thriller Fugue from Polish director Agnieszka Smoczynska (The Lure) and Woman At War from Icelands Benedikt Erlingsson about a woman who fights a war on her own to protect an endangered planet. For the full list, as well as the 10 shorts in selection, see below
Further Special Screenings include Our Struggles from Guillaume Senez and starring Romain Duris, and Shéhérazade, a Marseille-set debut form Jean-Bernard Marlin.
Danos Wildlife is inspired by Richard Fords 60s-set novel about how an American family falls apart as the absence of the husband pushes the wife to take her future into her own hands. FilmNation has international sales. IFC has domestic rights.
The CW jury will be presided over by Norwegian filmmaker Joachim Trier whose Oslo, August 31 ran in Un Certain Regard, followed by Louder Than Bombs in Competition in 2015 and 2017s Thelma which debuted in Toronto and was Norways official Oscar entry. Joining Trier on the panel are Chloe Sevigny, Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Eva Sangiorgi and Augustin Trapenard.
The jury will award the Grand Prix Nespresso to one of the seven features in competition, the Leica Cine Disscovery Prize to one of the 10 shorts and, for the first time, the Louis Roederer Foundation Prize to a revelatory actor or actress.
Critics Week runs May 9-17. Heres the full list unveiled today:
Wildlife, dir: Paul Dano (opening film)
Our Struggles, dir: Guillaume Senez
Shéhérazade, dir: Jean-Bernard Marlin
Guy, dir: Alex Lutz (closing film)
La Chute (The Fall), dir: Boris Labbé
Third Kind, dir: Yorgos Zois
Ultra Pulpe (Apocalypse After), dir: Bertrand Mandico
Chris The Swiss, dir: Anja Kofmel
Diamantino, dirs: Gabriel Abrantes & Daniel Schmidt
Egy Nap (One Day), dir: Zsófia Szilágyi
Fuga (Fugue), dir: Agnieszka Smoczynska
Kona Fer I Stríð (Woman At War), dir: Benedikt Erlingsson
Sauvage, dir: Camille Vidal-Naquet
Sir, dir: Rohena Gera
SHORT FILM COMPETITION
Amor, Avenidas Novas, dir: Duarte Coimbra
Ektoras Malo: I Teleftea Mera Tis Chronias (Hector Malot – The Last Day Of The Year), dir:
Mo-Bum-Shi-Min (Exemplary Citizen), dir: Kim Cheol-Hwi
Pauline Asservie (Pauline, Enslaved), dir: Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet
La Persistente, dir: Camille Lugan
Rapaz (Raptor), dir: Felipe Galvez
Schächer, dir: Flurin Giger
Tiikeri (The Tiger), dir: Mikko Myllylahti
Un Jour De Mariage (A Wedding Day), dir: Elias Belkeddar
Ya Normalniy (Normal), dir: Michael Borodin
‘Antebellum’ has a ‘Get Out’ vibe, but doesn’t live up to its twist
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definite..
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definitely shouldn’t be spoiled even a little. Once that revelation is absorbed, however, the movie becomes less distinctive and inspired, reflecting an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist that made “Get Out” a breakthrough, without the same ability to pay off the premise.
Originally destined for a theatrical run, the movie hits digital platforms trumpeting a “Get Out” pedigree in its marketing campaign, since there’s an overlap among the producing teams.
More directly, the film marks the directing debut of Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz, who have championed social-justice issues through their advertising work. The opening script features a quote from author William Faulkner, whose intent will eventually become clearer: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
If that sounds like a timely means of drawing a line from the horrors of slavery to the racism of today, you’ve come to the right place.
The story begins on a plantation, where the brutal overseers carry out grisly punishments against those tilling the fields. A few have just tried to escape, led by Veronica (Janelle Monae), and they pay a heavy price for their resistance, which does nothing to curb her defiance.
Also written by Bush + Renz, the script take too long before revealing what makes “Antebellum” different, but the middle portion — a “The Twilight Zone”-like phase when it’s hard to be sure exactly what’s going on — is actually the film’s strongest. (Even the trailer arguably gives away too much, so the less one knows, the better.)
The final stretch, by contrast, veers into more familiar thriller territory, and feels especially rushed toward the end, leaving behind a host of nagging, unanswered questions. That provides food for thought, but it’s also what separates the movie from something like “Get Out,” which deftly fleshed out its horror underpinnings.
Although the filmmakers (in a taped message) expressed disappointment that the movie wasn’t making its debut in theaters, in a strange way, the on-demand format somewhat works in its favor. In the press notes, Bush says the goal was “to force the audience to look at the real-life horror of racism through the lens of film horror. We’re landing in the middle of the very conversations that we hoped ‘Antebellum’ would spur.”
“Antebellum” should add to that discussion, so mission accomplished on that level. Monae is also quite good in her first leading film role (she did previously star in the series “Homecoming’s” second season), but otherwise, most of the characters remain underdeveloped.