You Cannes Do It Yourself

Two years ago I went to the 64th Cannes Film Festival and had an incredible cinephile experience. Last year, I sat at home grumpily as critics were able to watch Amour, Rust and Bone, and Holy Motors before I even knew they existed. I was furious. In vain, I tried to counter-program my very own festival. I made it 8 films in without any great discoveries. This year, I plan to change that.

I figured that the world cinema scene is so big and crazy, that Cannes is a great way to filter out some of the noise. Each year, between the main competition, Un Certain Regard, the Director’s Fortnight, Critics Week, and films just casually playing out of competition (not to mention unpublicized films in the secret distributors market), there are usually about 100+ movies getting screened for the first or second time. This also means that there is usually an impressive line up of directors whose work I have woefully never seen. I vow to take this time to pick up the slack and catch up on some of their earlier favorites. Who knows what I will discover?

If you want to follow along, I’ve already combed through the internet to figure out what movies I’m going to be watching. I decided to watch one film for each director that I could. After that, my main criterion was, “Is it on Netflix?” So thank you, Netflix Instant, for supplying 17 of the 20 movies I’ve selected.

  • The Arbor – Clio Barnard
  • Tell No One – Guillaume Canet
  • Barton Fink – Ethan and Joel Coen
  • The Virgin Suicides – Sofia Coppola
  • White Material – Claire Denis
  • Los Bastardos – Amat Escalante
  • The Grifters – Stephen Frears
  • A Screaming Man – Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
  • Nobody Knows – Hirokazu Koreeda
  • Dead Man – Jim Jarmusch
  • Strictly Ballroom – Baz Luhrmann
  • Audition – Takashi Miike
  • 5×2 – Francois Ozon
  • Citizen Ruth – Alexander Payne
  • Rosemary’s Baby – Roman Polanski
  • The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch – Jerome Salle
  • Valhalla Rising – Nicolas Winding Refn
  • And Everything is Going Fine – Steven Soderbergh
  • Election – Johnnie To
  • Voyeur (Abel) – Alex van Warmerdam

This line-up is a great diverse list, representing old favorites whose filmographies I’m missing just a couple spots, but mostly several directors by whom I’ve never seen anything. Jim Jarmusch? Claire Denis? I need to correct this. Who knows how many I’ll get through or what I’ll find. Last year, of the 8 I ended up actually watching, I really only fell in love with one (Michael Haneke’s Funny Games) and I found a couple that I despised (NEVER SEE SHADOWBOXER!) (The other 6 being The Wind That Shakes the Barley, The Fly, Chopper, Woman on the Beach, The Lovers on the Bridge, and Silent Light). Here’s hoping I make it through more this year. I’ll start tomorrow. Wish me luck!

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