Cannes reveals 2020 Lineup: ‘French Dispatch,’ ‘Ammonite,’ ‘Aya and the Witch’

A still from Wes Anderson’s ‘The French Dispatch’  

Wes Anderson, François Ozon, Naomi Kawase, Steve McQueen, Timothee Chalamet, Saoirse Ronan, Kate Winslet and many more stars would have shined on the red carpet at Palais des Festivals et des Congres, with their new films premiering at Grand Theatre Lumiere and Claude Debussy Theatre, had the 73rd edition of Cannes Film Festival, scheduled to run from May 12-23, not been cancelled in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, one of the biggest celebrations of cinema, has gone ahead with its selection. President Pierre Lescure and General Delegate Thierry Fremaux announced the pick of 56 films for 2020 on Wednesday evening. The films may not have played at the Croisette but will receive Cannes 2020 label that will help their journey ahead in the film festival circuit and in theatres. “Cannes Film Festival will maintain its mission of putting cinema at the heart of the world, as it has been doing since its first edition. We will bear witness to cinemas imperious presence and prodigious vitality,” said Fremaux, in a communique ahead of the announcement.

The line-up for 2020 includes the usual suspects, Cannes faithfuls like Anderson with his multi-starrer The French Dispatch, Ete 85 (Summer 85) by French favourite François Ozon, Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg’s upcoming Druk (Another Round) starring Mads Mikkelsen and Asa Ga Kuru (True Mothers) by Naomi Kawase from Japan. There are Steve McQueen’s Lovers Rock and Mangrove from his anthology series, Small Axe, that he has gone on to dedicate to George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement. Francis Lee’s Ammonite starring Ronan and Winslet, which is being billed as this year’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire, and South Korean filmmaker Sang-ho Yeon’s Peninsula, the sequel to his wildly popular, Train to Busan, that premiered at Cannes 2016 Midnight Screenings section, are the other exciting titles on the list.

The selection also includes Aya and the Witch, the first CG-animated feature film from Studio Ghibli and Pete Doctor’s Soul from Pixar. Then there is Falling, Viggo Mortensen’s first feature, German film Enfant Terrible by Oskar Roehler and Septet: The Story of Hong Kong, an omnibus film from HK, by Ann Hui, Johnnie TO, Tsui Hark, Sammo Hung, Yuen Woo-Ping and Patrick Tam. The presence of three documentaries and five comedies are the other highlights this year.

Some films couldn’t make it to the list with the makers opting to postpone their release to winter or spring 2021 and thus apply for festivals — including Cannes — next year. “We’ll meet them again in 2021,” said Fremaux.

Unlike the traditional festival programming, the organisers decided to group the films in one single list than in the usual separate categories: Competition, Un Certain regard, Out of competition, Midnight Screenings, and Special Screenings.

Usually, the festival shows about 60 films in its official selection (59 in 2019, 56 in 2018). The 56 films for 2020 were chosen from the 2,067 feature films received this year compared to 1,845 in 2019, 1,916 in 2018 and 1,885 in 2017.

It’s the first time that the number of films submitted to Cannes exceeds 2,000. “The crisis and the slowdown in post-production processes have therefore had no impact on the number of films sent for selection,” said Fremaux.

There has been an increase in first films: 909 were submitted to the selection, more than any previous years. 258 of these movies were directed by women (28.4%), 651 by men (71.6%).

In the 2020 there are 15 first films (26.7% of the total), compared to 10 in 2019 (17%). “We have never had this many first time filmmakers in the official selection,” said Fremaux.

Another growing figure is the constant geographic expansion of the film’s countries of origin. In 2020, the films came from 147 countries, compared to138 in 2019, an increase of 6.5%. There are some rare or new territories like Bulgaria, Georgia, Congo, alongside well represented countries USA, South Korea, Japan, UK. The 2020 crop distinguishes itself by a strong French selection. Each year, Cannes presents between 10 and 15 French films. This year are 21 French films, 5 more than in 2017, 11 more than in 2018 and 8 more than in 2019.

Regarding the presence of female directors, always a prickly issue at the festival, Cannes reiterated its commitment to “Collectif 50/50” to provide statistical information on the presence of female directors. 532 female directors submitted their films, 25.7% of the total, compared to 575 female directors registered in 2019, a slightly lower figure. The number of female directors included, however, shows a significant increase. There are 16 female directors in the selection. There were 14 in 2019, 11 in 2018, 12 in 2017, 9 in 2016, and 6 in 2015. “In percentage, this number is 28.5% of the selection, higher than last year (23.7%) and, above all, higher than the percentage of female directors submitting movies to the selection. It should be noted that the same figure rises to 38%, when we only talk of French cinema in the official selection,” Fremaux pointed out.

He said that the criteria of selection, was “as undefined as obvious (and sometimes not so much)”, but to their usual question: “Is this a film for Cannes?”, they sometimes added this question: “Isn’t this a perfect film to get people back to the theaters?”.

“Even though movie theatres have been shut for three months - for the first time since the invention of film screening by the Lumière Brothers on December 28, 1895 - this selection reflects that cinema is more alive than ever,” said Fremaux, adding, “Cinema makes a difference thanks to those who make it, those who give it life and those who receive it and make it glorious. ‘Coming soon to a theatre near you’: the formula has never been so compelling. We will see it soon: cinema is not dead, it’s not even sick.”

Fremaux closed by pointing out that 2020 is auteur Federico Fellini’s centenary. “During these twelve days [of the cancelled Cannes Film Festival], we would all have embraced the three words from the maestro that Quentin Tarantino never fails to repeat and which, more than ever, flow through the veins of all film lovers: Viva il cinema! See you in the movie theaters.”

Here is the full list of 56 films from the Cannes 2020 official lineup.

Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Oct 29, 2021 3:54:11 AM |

Next Story