Cannes Classics and Summer Festivals

Nastassja Kinski, Wim Wenders, and Dean Stockwell in Cannes in 1984

On the day before he died by assisted suicide in September 2022, Jean-Luc Godard completed his work on Scénarios, an eighteen-minute film that will see its premiere in this year’s Cannes Classics program along with another thirty-four-minute film in which, according to the festival, “mixing still and moving images, halfway between reading and seeing, he outlined his project for Scénarios.” It’s possible that neither of these projects will be the last new work we see from Godard. “Before leaving,” Nicole Brenez, who worked with Godard on The Image Book (2018), told Corentin Lê at Critikat last year, “Jean-Luc planned, directed, and supervised several others. Fabrice Aragno and Jean-Paul Battaggia are hard at work finishing them.”

Cannes is celebrating twenty years of Cannes Classics with several anniversary screenings. It’s been forty years since Wim Wenders took Paris, Texas to the festival and won not only the Palme d’Or but also the FIPRESCI Prize presented by the International Federation of Film Critics. “The awards were all the more surprising in that the film is an unabashed love letter to America, coming halfway through the Reagan era, when Europe in general, and filmmakers in particular, were anything but pro-American,” noted Nick Roddick in 2010. “Of course, one might argue that Paris, Texas is in love with a certain idea of America. But in truth, Wenders would probably not have concerned himself with that distinction: the personal always trumps the political in his films.”

Jacques Demy’s irresistible musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg won the Palme d’Or sixty years ago, and a new 4K restoration has been supervised by Mathieu Demy and Rosalie Varda, who have also produced a new documentary, Jacques Demy: The Pink and the Black, directed by Florence Platarets. David Hertzog Dessites’s Once Upon a Time Michel Legrand will tell the story of the composer who wrote the tunes Catherine Deneuve and Nino Castelnuovo sing in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg as well as the scores for more than two hundred other film and television productions.

Seven Samurai turns seventy this year, and Cannes is saluting the immeasurably influential masterwork with a new restoration. Working with an image from another film by Akira Kurosawa, Rhapsody in August (1991—and not screening at Cannes this year), Hartland Villa designers Lionel Avignon and Stefan de Vivies have created the poster for the festival’s seventy-seventh edition, which runs from May 14 through 25.

Cannes will mark one hundred years of Columbia Pictures with a screening of Charles Vidor’s Gilda (1946), and other new restorations include the program opener, the first part of the new reconstruction of Abel Gance’s Napoléon (1927), as well as Frederick Wiseman’s Law and Order (1969), Jean-Pierre Melville’s Army of Shadows (1969), Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun (1971), Robert Bresson’s Four Nights of a Dreamer (1971), Steven Spielberg’s The Sugarland Express (1974), Lino Brocka’s Bona (1980), Tsui Hark’s Shanghai Blues (1984), and Ousmane Sembène and Thierno Faty Sow’s Camp de Thiaroye (1988). The Classics program also includes documentaries on François Truffaut, Jacques Rozier, Elizabeth Taylor, Faye Dunaway, and Jim Henson.

Official Selection

With the addition of thirteen features, including special screenings of new films by Arnaud Desplechin, Oliver Stone, and Lou Ye as well as the competition entry The Seed of the Sacred Fig—Iranian authorities may or may not allow director Mohammad Rasoulof to attend the premiere—the Official Selection for Cannes 2024 is complete.

Cannes has also announced the inaugural lineup for its new Immersive Competition and selected eleven works for its Short Films Competition and another eighteen for La Cinef, the competitive program of work by the student filmmakers. Lubna Azabal, who earlier this year won her third Magritte Award for Best Actress for her performance in Maryam Touzani’s The Blue Caftan (2022), will preside over the jury selecting the winners of those last two competitions. And the Un Certain Regard jury, with Xavier Dolan presiding, is now complete as well.

Beyond Cannes

Eighty-seven short films, including fifty world premieres, will screen at Tribeca (June 5 through 16), and Karlovy Vary (June 28 through July 6) began the week with a slew of announcements. This year’s retrospective will mark the hundredth anniversary of the death of Franz Kafka with films by Orson Welles, Steven Soderbergh, Ousmane Sembène, Jan Němec, and others.

KVIFF 2024 will honor casting director Francine Maisler, who has worked with Terrence Malick and Denis Villeneuve, and will premiere a new restoration of František Vláčil’s Shadows of a Hot Summer (1977), the story of a family held hostage by a band of soldiers in the immediate wake of the Second World War. In the Chicago Reader, Ben Sachs calls the film “a masterpiece of composition.”

Locarno will present its Pardo d’Onore Manor, “the award for outstanding achievement in cinema,” to Jane Campion, who has selected two of her works for screening during the seventy-seventh edition (August 7 through 17), An Angel at My Table (1990) and, in a new 4K restoration, The Piano (1993). Tomorrow evening, the UCLA Film & Television Archive will present a free 35 mm screening of Campion’s debut feature, Sweetie (1989).

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