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Top 10 World Cinema Filmmakers Missing in Action (Class of 2018)

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The Conversation: Top 10 World Cinema Filmmakers Missing in Action (Class of 2018)

The Conversation: Top 10 World Cinema Filmmakers Missing in Action (Class of 2018)

With 2018 quickly winding down, it’s time to visit a new batch of international directors and auteurs who have been missing in action for five years or more. From our 2017 batch, there have been a few recent updates on completed and projected projects. The most notable resurgence was from Lebanese director Nadine Labaki, who broke a seven-year absence in 2018 with her Cannes Jury Prize Winner Capernaum. Meanwhile, French auteur Bertrand Blier is set to break a nine-year absence with Convoi Exceptionnel in 2019, reuniting him with Gerard Depardieu. And Marina De Van, who hasn’t released a project since her 2013 Irish co-pro Dark Touch, recently revealed plans for a feature set to star Charles Berling, which could perhaps be ready for 2020. Lastly, Russian auteur Mira Kurtova passed away at the age of 83 in June of 2018. Here are the Top 10 World Cinema filmmakers who are missing in action.

10. Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth: The Golden Age, 2007)

It’s been twelve years since Indian director Shekar Kapur’s last film, the Oscar nominated Elizabeth: The Golden Age, which saw Cate Blanchett reprise her role from 1998’s Elizabeth, which was a breakout success for both. Between those features, Kapur released the 2002 remake of The Four Feathers, but since then has delved into television (directing 4 episodes of 2017’s “Will”) and contributed a segment to the 2008 omnibus New York, I Love You. While he has been attached to many future projects, including a third installment, presumably with Blanchett, titled Elizabeth: The Dark Age, Kapur has only recently mentioned Elisabeth – a German production musical about one of the most famous members of the Austrian royal family.

9. Marco Van Geffen (In Your Name, 2014)

Dutch director Marco Van Geffen scored attention with a pair of homegrown melodramas, including his 2011 debut Among Us (which competed at Locarno) and 2014’s In Your Name, both narratives dealing with adults in relation to child rearing. While he co-wrote the German sci-fi production Boy 7 (2015), Van Geffen enters a fifth year on hiatus as a director in 2019.

8. Nicolas Provost (The Invader, 2011)

Nicolas Provost’s 2011 debut The Invader was a strikingly sinister refugee narrative set in Brussels, which played across a host of festivals, premiering in Venice (programmed in Horizons) and traveled on to Toronto and AFI. While he’s worked steadily on short film projects since then, which, along with his other visual projects, have been featured at Sundance, Rotterdam, and Locarno, Provost has yet to announce a sophomore narrative feature.

7. Julia Leigh (Sleeping Beauty, 2011)

In 2011, Australian director Julia Leigh was a breakout on the world stage, her directorial debut, an erotic thriller rendering of Sleeping Beauty, competed at Cannes, while her novel The Hunter was adapted for the screen starring Willem Dafoe, directed by Daniel Nettheim (premiering in Toronto). While rumors of another film project were once reported, Leigh instead has recently published her memoirs, Avalanche, while her next film project is yet to be determined.

6. Aleksandr Rogozhkin (Igra, 2008)

With his 2002 comedy The Cuckoo, director Aleksandr Rogozhkin solidified his international reputation as one of the most prominent contemporary Russian auteurs. Previously, he snagged a Best Director win at Karlovy Vary for 1999’s Checkpoint plus Berlin’s Alfred Bauer and FIPRESCI Prize in 1990 for The Guard. Rogozhkin’s last film was the 2008 comedy Igra, which didn’t migrate outside of Russia. And since a 2011 television film, has been absent from cinema.

5. Kristina Buozyte (Vanishing Waves, 2012)

Lithuania’s Kristina Buozyte was a festival favorite following the Karlovy Vary premiere of her 2012 cerebral sci-fi film Vanishing Waves, which managed to secure US distribution after it played a healthy festival run. Since then, she participated in the 2014 omnibus The ABCs of Death 2 (with “K for Knell”). While Buozyte began collecting funding for a new project titled Vesper Seeds in early 2017, there’s been no update on the status of the project.

4. Djinn Carrenard (FLA – Faire: L’amour, 2014)

Haitian director Djinn Carrenard’s 2010 debut Donoma received a rather extensive film festival run, recuperated in 2012 by New Directors/New Films in the US. In 2014, his nearly three-hour sophomore feature FLA (Faire: L’amour) opened Critics’ Week at Cannes and is still without US distribution—which explains why he’s not better known despite having directed two significant features.

3. Pascale Ferran (Bird People, 2014)

It’s perhaps no surprise to see French auteur Pascale Ferran on a missing-in-action list. Since 1995’s L’age des possibles, she seems to take about a decade between productions, releasing her adaptation of D.H. Lawrence with Lady Chatterley in 2006 and her superb Bird People in 2014. While she wrote the screenplay for the 2016 animated hit The Red Turtle, won the Golden Camera at Cannes for 1994 debut Coming to Terms with the Dead, as well as Best Film and Adapted Screenplay Cesars for Lady Chatterley, it seems it’ll most likely be a few more years before we see her next feature.

2. Jane Campion (Bright Star, 2009)

She remains the only woman to have won the Palme d’Or with 1993’s The Piano. And yet Jane Campion has been absent from the cinema since 2009’s Bright Star, which also competed at Cannes. To be fair, Campion has directed two seasons of “Top of the Lake,” reuniting her with her Piano star Holly Hunter and her The Portrait of a Lady lead Nicole Kidman. Although plans for another Kidman/Campion pairing for an adaptation of Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers was announced in 2014, no updates have been announced.

1. Euzhan Palcy (Siméon, 1992)


Born in Martinique, Euzhan Palcy became the first black woman to direct a film produced by a Hollywood studio, which was MGM for 1989’s A Dry White Season, which netted Marlon Brando a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination, making her the first black woman to direct an actor to an Oscar nod (of note, the film is soon to be re-released on Criterion next month). She’s the first black woman to win a Cesar for directing with her 1983 debut Sugar Cane Alley (aka Black Shack Alley), a film which also made her the first black woman to win an award for directing in Venice (she took home the Silver Lion for Best First Work). Her last theatrical feature was 1992’s Simeon but she has worked on several television films and documentary features through 2007. In 2015, when Palcy came to the American Cinematheque in Los Angeles for a retrospective on her work, she announced she was looking for financing on two separate projects she was working on, but no updates have been made available on either front.

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is IONCINEMA.com's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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