Cannes Directors’ Fortnight to showcase young talent

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Veteran French director Andre Techine will rub shoulders with young and unknown filmmakers at the Directors’ Fortnight during the Cannes film festival that opens May 11, organizers said on Tuesday.

Artistic director Frederic Boyer has selected 25 films, of which eight are first offerings that could end up winning the coveted Camera d’Or for a first feature, from every continent bar Australia.

Techine, 68, who directed "Wild Reeds" (1994) and "Thieves" (1996) is to show the world premiere of his "Impardonnables" starring Melanie Thierry, Carole Bouquet and Andre Dussolier.

"He was intimidated to take part in a selection alongside young directors," Boyer told journalists, recalling that Techine had already taken part in the Directors’ Fortnight in 1975.

The Directors’ Fortnight was created by the French Directors Guild following the upheavals of May 1968 and seeks to aid and promote new and avant-garde films from around the world and in a broad range of styles.

Boyer said he had considered more than 1,300 films around the world before making his selection.

"The most difficult thing is to say to a director that we liked their film and then tell them that we nevertheless didn’t keep it," he said.

"But it’s not just the films you instantly fall in love with… we try to open up to all formats, all budgets and all styles, except Bollywood which doesn’t interest me."

India is, however, making a return to the Director’s Fortnight with "Chatrak" by Vikmukthi Jayasundara. So too is the Philippines with "Busong" by Auraeus Solito, and Brazil with "O abismo prateado" by Karim Ainouzou.

For the first time in years, an Afghan film — "Vice versa one" by Sadat Shahrbanoo — will unspool as well.

At the initiative of the French Directors Guild, Iranian director Jafar Panahi, sentenced last December to six years in prison plus a 20-year ban on filmmaking, will be honoured with a special award on May 12.

The Directors’ Fortnight will also feature 14 shorts, which Boyer calls ‘real films’, from those that last five minutes — Briton Duane Hopkins’ "Cigarette at Night" — to 50 minutes — Blaise Harrison’s "Armand 15 ans l’ete."

Separately, nine other shorts are in the running for the short-film Palme d’Or at the festival — a category that in the past has been a springboard for future big-time Cannes winners such as New Zealand’s Jane Campion.

Entries from the Asia-Pacific region include "Paternal womb" by Japan’s Megumi Tazaki; "Ghost" by South Korea’s Ma Dahci; "Bear" by Australia’s Nash Edgerton and "Meathead" by New Zealand’s Sam Holst.

Canada is represented with "Ce n’est rien" (It’s Nothing) by Nicolas Roy.

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