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30 Predictions for Cannes 2012

In give or take 364 days from now, the 65th edition of the Cannes film festival will be upon us. I know it’s absurd, but there are some bonafide films in the works from some Cannes vets and according to these prognostications I supply below, we’ll have one more heavyweight event with the possible participation from the likes of Abbas Kiarostami, Olivier Assayas, Paul Thomas Anderson and Hou Hsiao Hsien being joined by recent Palme d’Or winners (2008 and 2009) Laurent Cantet and Michael Haneke.

In give or take 364 days from now, the 65th edition of the Cannes film festival will be upon us. I know it’s absurd, but there are some bonafide films in the works from some Cannes vets and according to these prognostications I supply below, we’ll have one more heavyweight event with the possible participation from the likes of Abbas Kiarostami, Olivier Assayas, Paul Thomas Anderson and Hou Hsiao Hsien being joined by recent Palme d’Or winners (2008 and 2009) Laurent Cantet and Michael Haneke.

Here are 30 films we’d bet a 2 on that should/might make next year’s edition. We’ll obviously be more in the know come fall film festival time when projects that aren’t greenlite would be pulled from such a list and when we find if filmmakers such as Brillante Mendoza, Lou Ye, Andrea Arnold and WKW (you never know how much extra time he needs) choose to wait it out or not. Enjoy!

360 – Fernando Meirelles (Update: Showed at TIFF 2011)
Meirelles’ City of God and Blindness were both entries at the festival, so logically 360 – the ambitious sex project from the talented scribe Peter Morgan starring tons of international talent Anthony Hopkins, Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Ben Foster, Moritz Bleibtreu and Jamel Debbouze will be a must see title at Cannes ’12. Based on the Arthur Schnitzer play La Ronde (circa 1900) which examines sexual morality and class ideology through a series of sexual encounters of couples from different social classes.

Amour – Michael Haneke
Currently in post-production, it’s been reported that Michael Haneke is planning on taking his time with this one, so the 2009 Palme d’Or winner has a huge 12-month work window. This has Isabelle Huppert, William Shimell, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva in a film about two retired classical music teachers whose relationship is tested by the wife’s stroke.

Angel’s Share – Ken Loach
Cannes is a second home for the filmmaker who won the Palme for The Wind That Shakes the Barley in 2006, and with lensing having began last month on Angel’s Share which reunites the director with his scribe Paul Laverty, and with actors John Henshaw (“Looking for Eric”), William Ruane (“The Wind That Shakes the Barley”) and Gary Maitland (“Sweet Sixteen”). Story follows a new father, who has narrowly avoids a prison sentence and concocts a plan to carve out a new future involving a whisky distillery.

The Assassin – Hou Hsiao Hsien
Honestly its hard to keep track of a film’s status – but rumor has it that HHH began filming in Japan late last year, since then: not a word. If more production info gets leaked or reported on, then we expect a 7th Cannes film festival trip and naturally in the Main Comp. Scripted by Hou and Chu Tien-wen, this is about a female assassin called Nie Yin Niang, who can transform herself to other creatures.. In the Tang dynasty (618-907 A.D.) short story that inspired the film, a 10-year-old girl is kidnapped by a Buddhist nun and arduously trained until adulthood to kill without compassion or remorse for the greater good of society. The assassin’s loyalty to her own family, clients and society comes secondary to her own desires.

Big House – Matteo Garrone
Winner of the 2008 Cannes Grand Prix for Gomorrah, it was reported during this year’s Cannes market activity that the Italian filmmaker has already begun filming on his next project, Big House. Filming in Rome, this stars Aniello Arena and Loredana Simioli (who was in Antonio Capuano’s L’amore buio), and will focus on “the TV industry, reality shows and the illusions of notoriety.”

Cool Water – Emir Kusturica
He just presided over the Un Certain Regard section, so after watching the next generation of filmmakers, Emir Kusturica should be energized to begin filming this summer. Big question is: will the project be Cool Water? If so we might see Tahar Rahim play one of two Palestinian brothers who try to smuggle the body of their recently deceased father from Jerusalem to Ramallah while trying to avoid Israeli police and Russian mobsters. Whatever he works on next, we know that the two-time winner of the Palme d’Or is a welcomed guest at the fest.

Cosmopolis – David Cronenberg
With A Dangerous Method in the can and being kept safe for Venice/TIFF premieres, David Cronenberg commenced lensing on Cosmopolis as of today. Based on the book of the same name, this will definitely be ready next May – it stars
Robert Pattinson, Jay Baruchel, Samantha Morton, Paul Giamatti, and a former “face” of the Croisette in Juliette Binoche. Based on Don DeLillo’s novel, this will tell DeLillo’s story of a multimillionaire (Pattinson) on a 24-hour odyssey across Manhattan as he attempts to get a haircut, betting his wealth against the declining Japanese Yen.

Dans La Maison (In the House) – Francois Ozon
Francois Ozon puts out tons of films, but not all have been invited to Cannes. With a start date this summer and a cast that includes Juliette Binoche, Fabrice Luchini and Emmanuelle Seigner, this looks good for a May fest birth. This is about a teacher and their pupils.

Django Unchained – Quentin Taratino
When QT sets his mind to it (as he did with Inglorious Basterds) he can blast off into production before the starter pistol has even fired a shot. A Cannes favourite, he was recently a juror in Venice — so he has options in front of him if he launches into production for the spaghetti western this summer. Django Unchained would see Will Smith in the lead character – as a black slave-turned-gunslinger named Django, with Christoph Waltz apparently already signed for the role of a German bounty hunter and former dentist named Dr King Schlutz, who teaches Django the art of contract killing before helping him to find his still-enslaved wife. Chances for 2013 appear to be more logical, but we never know with Tarantino.

The End – Abbas Kiarostami
A Spring start date was derailed for obvious reasons, but this set in Japan tale is rescheduled for an autumn shoot, which means Palme d’Or winning Kiarostami would be working with a tight deadline if he wants to submit to Cannes 2012. We imagine that Thierry Fremaux will want to include Kiarostami’s 2nd straight film outside his native Iran, Certified Copy provided some great results and The End, a contemporary relationship in today’s Japan features actress Aoi Miyazaki — who was in a pair of Cannes accepted Shinji Aoyama films.

Foxfire – Laurent Cantet
Winner of the 2009 Palme d’Or (Sean Penn jury), Cantet is expect to begin lensing this summer on a project that is based on Joyce Carole Oates’s novel Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang. No casting announcements have been made just yet, but we imagine that this will use English speaking actresses as this is set in a working-class district of a small town in New York State in the 1950s.

Heli – Amat Escalante
Part of Mexico’s new wave of auteur filmmakers that we look forward to each outing, Escalante was selected for Cannes’ Un Certain Regard for his first two films Sangre (2005) and Los Bastardos (2008), and at this point we’re beginning to think that the production has run into some bumps long the way due, of course to the nature of the film and the chosen backdrop (which won’t be some resort town. Heli is about a young man navigates small-town corruption while searching for his missing father. The well liked production co./distributor Mantarraya Producciones would hopefully be setting up shop this summer. 

In the Fog – Sergei Loznitsa
The only first time feature filmmaker to be included in last year’s Main Competition (with My Joy), if filming begins in the early fall, then this project based on the Russian novel of the same name — a story of two World War partisans which depicts the stupidity and brutality of war, might find itself in the MC or UCR sections.

In the Qing Dynasty – Jia Zhangke
Having been to the festival for 2002’s Unknown Pleasures and his two films 24 City (2008) and I Wish I Knew (2010), Zhangke would certainly be received with open arms with his next film which should technically be In the Qing Dynasty — but this project is somewhere between dormant and no info whatsoever. Here’s the synopsis: taking place during years 1899 to 1911, the story follows changes in the Qing dynasty city after the abolishment of the imperial examination system and growing Western influences.

Laurence Anyways – Xavier Dolan
After back to back showings in Cannes, Dolan missed this year’s fest only because he’s filming Lawrence Anyways in two parts (two seasons). With French actors Melvil Poupaud and Nathalie Baye onboard and a cast of Quebecois thesps this tale of gender-transformation is something that I could see programmed in one of the sidebars (Directors’ Fortnight or UCR). Laurence (Poupaud) celebrates its 30th anniversary at the restaurant with Fred (Suzanne Clément), his girlfriend. When he reveals his secret desire of becoming a woman, it rocks their world.

Lay the Favorite – Stephen Frears
In his lengthy career, Frears has been to Cannes will only a handful of films (last year’s Out of Comp entry Tamara Drewe) was his last. Based on the Beth Raymer gambling memoir, by appearances Lay The Favorite isn’t what you’d call your typical Cannes item, glossy and more mainstream than art-house, this stars Rebeccs Hall, Bruce Willis, Joshua Jackson, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Vince Vaughn in a tale that follows the rise of Internet gambling and off-shore sports betting through the story of a woman who becomes involved with a group of fifty-something math geeks in Queens who have worked out a way to rig the sports books in Vegas.

L’enfant D’en Haut – Ursula Meier
After showing her debut film Home in the Critics’ Week section a couple of years back, Ursula Meier’s sophomore feature might be bumped up to DF or UCR status. Currently in production, this stars Lea Seydoux in a tale set in a luxury ski resort in Switzerland. 12-year-old Simon lives in the industrial valley below, with his jobless sister. Every day, he takes the ski-lift to the opulent ski world above, stealing equipment from the rich tourists to resell to the local kids back down. As he partners with a crooked British seasonal worker, Simon loses his boundaries, which affects the relationship with his sister. Confronted with a truth they had both been escaping, Simon seeks refuge up above

Lore – Cate Shortland
She hasn’t directed a film since 2004’s Somersault, which played in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section. Lore has been in the financing stages long enough, and I imagine Shortland might have already begun, completed the auditioning process for the film’s lead figure. Based on the book by Rachel Seiffert and written by Cate Shortland and Robin Mukherjee, set in Spring of 1945, as the German front collapses, the Allied forces take control over Hitler’s country. With her Nazi parents imprisoned, 14-year-old Lore is left alone in charge of her four young siblings.

Low Life  James Gray

The Master – Paul Thomas Anderson
Can we already put bets on this for the Best Actor prize? If so, Philip Seymour Hoffman would make a return appearance since his Synecdoche, New York, while PTA would be returning for the first time since. It all depends on what kind of strategy The Weinstein Company has in store for the film — so Croisette, going under a new title would be a strong possibility as production is due to begin next month. This sees Hoffman play a man who creates a religion in 1952, and Joaquin Phoenix stars as his second in command.

Men in Black III – Barry Sonnenfeld
The festival always includes at least one major summer Hollywood tentpole title which coincides with the film’s actual theatrical release. If I had my choice in blockbuster titles I’d like to have an excuse to see Tom Tykwer, Andy and Lana Wachowski’s Cloud Atlas, but
seeing that they have no qualms about showing 3D, they might opt for Men in Black III which comes out May 25th. Pic stars Will Smith, Alice Eve, Emma Thompson, Josh Brolin and Tommy Lee Jones among others.

The Militant – Manolo Nieto
The least familiar name on the list, Nieto actually has creds as an assistant director for such memorable samples of Uruguayan cinema (Whisky, Los Muertos, Liverpool and Paz Encina’s Hamaca Paraguaya), and he is know working on The Militant which is being produced by one of my faves in Cannes filmmaker Lisandro Alonso.

Post Tenebras Lux – Carlos Reygadas
The only home for the filmmaker so far, Carlos Reygadas’ Japón received a special mention for the Caméra d’Or award at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, Batalla en el Cielo (Battle in Heaven) followed in 2005 and his greatest achievement to date with 2007’s Silent Light won the Jury Prize. Post Tenebras Lux is being called a semi-autobiographical fiction film, and is about “feelings, memories, dreams, things I’ve hoped for, fears, facts of my current life.” The film will be shot in Mexico, Britain, Spain, and Belgium, all places where Reygadas has lived. It is planned to go into production this year (if it hasn’t already) and should be at the top of my most anticipated list for 2012’s Cannes edition.

7 días en La Habana – Laurent Cantet. Julio Medem, Benicio Del Toro, Gaspar Noé, Elia Suleiman, Juan Carlos Tabío, Pablo Trapero
Omnibus projects are really presented at the festival (unless commissioned by them) but they could make an exception that has Cannes V.I.P names such as Noe, Suleiman, Trapero and Cantet. Scripted by Cuban novelist Leonardo Padura who will coordinate screenplays, co-writing Medem’s and Tabio’s films. Cuban thesps Ana de Armas, Mirta Ibarra, Vladimir Cruz and Jorge Perugorria play linking characters — this records’ tourists’ visions of Havana and portraits of its day-to-day life. Del Toro will helm a sometimes fictionalized docu on a U.S. tourist’s first 24 hours in Cuba; Medem portrays a love triangle; Trapero tracks an actor who arrives in Havana to receive a prize; Suleiman has a foreigner, whom he will play, wandering through Havana, waiting for something to happen; Cantet chronicles a family’s offering to the ancient religion of Yoruba; Tabio looks at Cubans’ daily trials and joys; Noe follows an exorcism.

Something in the Air (Apres Mai) – Olivier Assayas
After the acclaim and presentation that his Carlos received in 2010, Assayas made a festival long stint as a jury member for the main comp this year, which logically means that Something in the Air is next in line. IFC Films didn’t wait much time to pick up the film which is set in the 1970s and follows a young high school student in Paris, torn between his artistic ambitions and the politics of the times. 

Stoker – Park Chan-wook
After The Tree of Life premiere and international festival premiere of Martha Marcy May Marlene, Fox Searchlight will certainly hope to use Cannes as a launching pad for Park Chan Wook’s English language debut which should be getting out of the gate with Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mia Wasikowski set to star. Written by Wentworth Miller, this tells of an eccentric teenager and her mother who are visited by an enigmatic and estranged uncle (Firth) who returns to the family after the death of the girl’s father. Chan-wook of course won the Grand Prix for Oldboy ion 2004 and the Jury Prize for Thirst in 2009.

Twice Born – Sergio Castellito
Pairing once again with Penélope Cruz, actor-director Sergio Castellito’s Twice Born will also star Emile Hirsch. Castellito is a fixture at the festival, he held a master class and saw his 2004 film Don’t Move. Adapted from Margaret Mazzantini’s homonymous novel, the film will centre on Gemma who leaves her comfortable life in Rome to go to Sarajevo with her son Pietro for a ceremony in memory of the city’s siege.

Untitled Ramin Bahrani project – Ramin Bahrani
Of his three films, only Chop Shop was showcased at the festival in Oliver Pere’s Directors’ Fortnight showcase. Killer Films haven’t presented an item since Savage Grace, with this project which includes Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron, we are expecting some counter-programming of sorts. Quaid of course changed the course of his career back when Todd Haynes cast him in Far From Heaven and we’re expecting this drama with this logline (this involves a farmer whose plans to expand cause conflict with his wife and sons) to be outside of your mainstream set-up.

You Will Never Know Why – Jean-Pierre Limosin
Currently in pre-production with a thriller called You Will Never Know Why, Jean-Pierre Limosin was at the festival for Tokyo Eyes (1998), and more recently, Young Yakuza in 2007.

And for our number 30 pick we’re suggesting any of the following:
These are probably headed for a 2013 release, but you never know if the pce picks up. Terrence Malick will most likely go for a second Palme d’Or with what is currently know as The Burial, Ari Folman’s ambitious sci-fi toon/real life project The Congress, Richard Linklater 18-year project 2013 sounds just about right, Ilya Khrzhanovsky is still working on a very ambitious project Dau and we could never discount Mike Leigh who might shift gears quickly with the J.M.W. Turner project.

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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