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In Depth Look: Un Certain Regard’s Puiu, Nakata, Xiaoshuai, Cianfrance, Kocsis and Hochhausler

When Hideo Nakata was mentioned as a possibility, and then named today, I honestly thought it was a misprint and that they mislabeled the pic – but I think we can elevate our expectation level for Chatroom because of scribe Enda Walsh’s participation in the project — she penned Steve McQueen’s debut film which I mentioned above. I predicted a healthy Hungarian presence this year, and Ágnes Kocsis’ Adrienn Pál is the first mention for that country.

The section I’m most curious about in today’s Cannes announcements are those that are among the Un Certain Regard batch. The section is a treasure trove for new discoveries, usually filled with avant-garde films with unconventional stylistic and narrative strokes. These films leave the kind of imprint that remain with me well beyond the final days of the festival – I’m still discussing the merits of films such as Hunger, Dogtooth and you might as well add Blue Valentine to that list as it’ll receive it’s international premiere at the festival.

For practicality purposes, I’ve sectioned off the 18 films into three 6-piece in depth look. In this first six we find Cristi Puiu’s latest – honestly I’m surprised the film, which clocks in at close to three hours, wasn’t promoted to the Main Comp category. When Hideo Nakata was mentioned as a possibility, and then named today, I honestly thought it was a misprint and that they mislabeled the pic – but I think we can elevate our expectation level for Chatroom because of scribe Enda Walsh’s participation in the project — she penned Steve McQueen’s debut film which I mentioned above. I predicted a healthy Hungarian presence this year, and Ágnes Kocsis’ Adrienn Pál is the first mention for that country. Xiaoshui and Hochhausler are already familiar with the festival having presented here before.

Adrienn Pál - Ágnes Kocsis

Adrienn Pál – Ágnes Kocsis
The rather stout nurse becomes more and more insensitive to the illnesses and death around her. She goes on a journey to find her childhood friend. During the journey she tries to collect her memories, and she also goes on a journey in the memories of all those people with whom she meets…

Aurora — Cristi Puiu
An apartment kitchen: a man and a woman discuss Little Red Riding Hood, their voices hushed, mindful of waking the little girl sleeping next room. Waste land on the city outskirts: behind a line of abandoned trailers, the man silently watches what seems to be a family. The same city, the same man: driving through traffic with two hand-made firing pins for a hunting rifle…

Blue Valentine – Derek Cianfrance
Written by Cianfrance with Cami Delavigne and Joey Curtis, Blue Valentine is the story of love found and love lost told in past and present moments in time. Flooded with romantic memories of their courtship, Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) use one night to try and save their failing marriage.

Chatroom - Hideo Nakata

Chatroom – Hideo Nakata 
Written by Enda Walsh, this is a psychological thriller about teenagers who encourage each other’s destructive behavior.

Chongqing Blues - Wang Xiaoshuai

Chongqing Blues – Wang Xiaoshuai
The drama turns on a father’s investigating the death of his estranged son in a supermarket robbery.

The City Below – Christoph Hochhausler
A by-chance meeting at a mandatory cultural event. Roland Cordes, 55, member of the board of a large bank, meets the wife of a new employee: Svenja Steve, 33. There is immediate attraction between the two. When a bank manger is murdered in Indonesia, Cordes seizes his chance … 

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, 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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