Thursday, May 5, 2016

Field Guide to Cannes 2016 Part 2: Main Comp Film M-Z

Here's part two of our look at the films in competition at Cannes:

Ma’ Rosa (Brillante Mendoza, Philippines). Little is known so far about the latest from the prolific Filipino auteur, who was in Cannes just last year with his Un Certain Regard entry, “Trap.” He was previously in competition with “Kinatay” (2009), which earned him the jury’s directing prize, and “Serbis” (2008).

The Neon Demon (Nicolas Winding Refn, Denmark). According to an early statement by the Danish director, “After making ‘Drive’ and falling madly in love with the electricity of Los Angeles, I knew I had to return to tell the story of ‘The Neon Demon,’” a style-drenched horror movie in which Elle Fanning plays a young model preyed upon by jealous rivals. Amazon will release in the U.S. this summer.

Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, U.S.). Adam Driver plays Paterson, a blue-collar bus driver who lives in the modest New Jersey city of the same name. He dabbles in poetry, encouraged by on-screen wife Golshifteh Farahani, in what’s sure to be one of the film’s more low-key entries — nothing like the director’s last Cannes competition selection, “Only Lovers Left Alive.” Six of his pics have competed for the Palme.

Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas, France). Assayas’ latest reunites him with Kristen Stewart, who won critical accolades and a supporting actress Cesar for “Clouds of Sils Maria.” Set in the world of Paris fashion and interwoven with supernatural elements, the intriguing project stars Stewart as an American woman working as personal shopper for a celebrity. 

The Salesman (Asghar Farhadi). Shot in Teheran, “The Salesman” is a contemporary tale centering around a couple who drift into violence because of societal pressures. Taraneh Alidoosti (“About Elly) and Shahab Hosseini (“A Separation”). 

Sierra-Nevada (Cristi Puiu, Romania). One of the most revered Romanian filmmakers has remarkably never been in competition at Cannes; both “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu” and “Aurora” premiered in Un Certain Regard. That looks to change at last. His new film (which stars “Lazarescu’s” Mimi Branescu”) is set around a contentious family reunion intended to commemorate the life of a recently deceased patriarch.

Slack Bay (Bruno Dumont, France). After earning some of the best reviews of his career with “Li’l Quinquin,” Dumont seems determined to get even wackier, eschewing unknowns for established stars, including Fabrice Luchini and Juliette Binoche. Set in the same dreary corner of northern France where the director has always lived and worked, during the summer of 1910, the period comedy marks the director’s third film in competition, following “L’Humanite” and “Flanders.”

Staying Vertical (Alain Guiraudie, France). The director attracted international attention three years ago with “Stranger by the Lake,” a daring thriller set in a gay cruising spot. The edgy film earned him best director honors in Un Certain Regard and a handful of Cesar nominations at the end of the year. His latest feature, which turns on a film director who raises his young son alone, graduates to competition. 

Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, Germany). One of only three female directors in competition — and the first German to compete since Wim Wenders’ “Palermo Shooting” in 2008 — Ade won the Silver Bear in Berlin for “Everyone Else.” Her third feature stars Peter Simonischek as a father convinced that his daughter (Sandra Huller) has lost her sense of humor, so he drops in on her in Bucharest and unleashes a series of jokes.  

The Unknown Girl (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Belgium). After casting movie stars Marion Cotillard and Cecile de France in their previous two films, the Belgian brothers cast the lesser-known but rising French star Adele Haenel (“Love at First Fight”) alongside regulars Jeremie Renier and Olivier Gourmet in this story of a young doctor investigating the identity of a patient who died after being refused treatment.

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