21 April 2004
PARIS – Germany is showing its first movie at the Cannes film festival in almost a decade, Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux announced in Paris on Wednesday.
Hans Weingartner’s “Die Fetten Jahre Sind Vorbei” (Happy Days Are Gone), is the first German film to be included in competition at Cannes since 1993.
Three American films will also compete against three French movies and 12 other international productions for the Palme d’Or, or Golden Palm, at the 2004 Cannes festival.
The American films include festival regulars Joel and Ethan Coen, who will screen “The Ladykillers”, a remake of a British comedy classic, and political gadfly Michael Moore, represented by “Fahrenheit 9/11”, his take on the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.
Bosnian director Emir Kusturica, a former Palme d’Or Winner, is back in competition at Cannes with “Zivot Je Cudo” (Life Is a Miracle), as is Wong Kar-wai of China, with his “2046”.
In addition to these familiar names, the Cannes festival competition includes 12 directors who will be vying for the Palme d’Or for the first time.
These include 28-year-old Weingartner and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, whose “Tropical Malady” is the first-ever film from Thailand to be vying for the festival’s top prize.
Fremaux said that in addition to wishing to make the festival a “meeting place of established artists”, such as Kusturica and the Coen brothers, the organizers wanted to give the event a shot of new blood by bringing in young directors.
Festival head Gilles Jacob said it was also their wish “to help world cinema” by presenting these filmmakers for the first time.
The list of 18 competitors includes two animated films, also a Cannes first, “Shrek 2”, by Americans Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury and Conrad Vernon, and “Innocence” by Oshii Mamoru of Japan.
The first “Shrek” was shown, to popular and critical acclaim, at the 2001 Cannes festival and went on from there to success at box offices all over the world.
Films from the Orient are again well represented, with two Japanese contributions in competition, as well as two Korean productions, and Wong’s “2046”, which reunites the two stars of his popular “In the Mood for Love”, Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung.
Fremaux said the presence in competition of Brazilian Walter Salles, with “The Motorcycle Diaries” and Lucrecia Martel of Argentina, with her “The Holy Girl”, was a sign of the revival of Latin American cinema.
The nine-member jury that will decide the Palme d’Or and other prizes will be headed by American director Quentin Tarantino, whose “Kill Bill vol. 2” will be shown out of competition at Cannes.
The jury also includes American actress Kathleen Turner, French film star Emmanuelle Beart and British actress Tilda Swinton.
The Cannes film festival opens 12 May and closes on 23 May.
Subject: German news