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Cannes Nominees 2009, Vol 2

May 21, 2009 10:27 IST

Cannes Nominees 2009, Vol 2

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Raja Sen

What a year it is for cinema.

There are twenty astonishing directors with twenty remarkable films all vying for the Palme D'Or at Cannes this year, and a battle this formidable is most fortituous for us film-lovers, with plenty to choose from.

We have already covered the first ten nominees, and here are the rest:

Thirst
Directed by:
Park Chan-wook

South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook is highly regarded for his dramatic visual style and his hyper-stylised take on ultraviolence. His best known efforts are his Vengeance trilogy, consisting of Sympathy For Mr Vengeance, Oldboy and Sympathy For Lady Vengeance.

Chan-wook's latest offering is a horror film about a priest who, besotted with his friend's wife, turns into a vampire during a medical experiment.

Song Kang-Ho, Kim Ok-bin and Shin Ha-Kyun star in the principal roles, and has been a smash success at the Korean Box Office.


 


Image: A scene from Thirst

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Soudain Le Vide / Enter The Void
Directed by:
Gaspar Noe

Argentinian filmmaker Noe might be heavily influenced by the work of Stanley Kubrick, but while he shocks and astounds with glee, there is nothing but blatant originality in his often-startling work, right from I Stand Alone to the brutally brilliant Irreversible.

The new film stars Nathaniel Brown as Oscar and Paz De La Huerta as his sister Linda, a drug dealer and a stripper respectively.

Set in Tokyo, the film is about a night Oscar is shot and his spirit shuttles surreally through the city. Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter has done the film's music.


Image: A poster of

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Spring Fever
Directed by:
Lou Ye

Take that, Chinese State! The country had banned Lou Yea from filmmaking for five years following his 2006 film Summer Palace, controversial for being explicit both sexually and politically.

Ye's latest film is in utter defiance of the ban, and promises to kick up further controversy with its premise exploring two men and a woman caught in the spring breeze of uninhibited sexual passion. The film stars Sicheng Chen, Jiaqi Jiang and Hao Qin.


Image: A scene from Spring Fever

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Taking Woodstock
Directed by:
Ang Lee

Highly celebrated Taiwanese director Ang Lee has been known to cross genres at the drop of a hat -- going from Eat Drink Man Woman to Sense And Sensibility, from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon to The Hulk to Brokeback Mountain -- and this time is no different as the affable man enters the world of classic rock.

Lee's latest is a dramedy focussing on the true story of a small motel which happened to be holding the only permit allowing a musical fesival in Bethel, New York.

They offer this to the organisers of a 1969 music festival called Woodstock and the rest really is history. Demetri Martin, Eugene Levy and Liev Schreiber are just part of a delightful ensemble.


Image: A poster of Taking Woodstock

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The Time That Remains
Directed by:
Elia Suleiman

Palestinian filmmaker Suleiman likes to blur the line between profound thought and farcical, slapstick humour, his characters often oscillating between both absurd extremes. His painfully funny Divine Intervention won the Jury Prize at the 2002 Cannes Festival.

Suleiman's latest is a semi-autobiographical film about four stories about his own family, based on his father's diaries and his mother's letters. The director plays himself, while Saleh Bakri and Yasmine Haj also star.


Image: A scene from The Time That Remains

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Das Weisse Band / The White Ribbon
Directed by:
Michael Haneke

Austrian director Michael Haneke likes to keep things minimal, to extremely disconcerting effect. His biggest critical successes are The Piano Teacher, which won at Cannes, and his movies with Juliette Binoche, Code Unknown and 2005's brilliant thriller, Cache.

The White Ribbon is set in a Protestant village in North Germany on the eve of World War I. It tells the story of choir kids and their families, all awestruck by a series of unfortunate accidents that look more and more like 'a punishment ritual.'


Image: A scene from Das Weisse Band / The White Ribbon

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Vengeance
Directed by:
Johnnie To

Hong Kong director Johnnie To likes to mix it up chop chop, having made over fifty films since the 1980s. Starting out from the Shaw Brothers era, he collaborated with Chow Yun-Fat in the late 80s to quickly become one of the most commercially successful directors in the area.

Vengeance sees To do what he does best, the noir crime film telling the story of a French assassin who has given up the gun and become a chef, only to embark on a bloody revenge after his daughter is murdered.

Johnny Hallyday, Anthony Wong and Lam Suet star, and a violent time is sure to be had by all.


Image: A poster of Vengeance

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Visage / Face
Directed by:
Tsai Ming-Liang

Taiwanese director Tsai has received massive critical encomiums over the years, his films winning frequently at Venice, Berlin and Cannes, and all of them featuring the same actor Lee Kang-sheng.

His latest film is about a Taiwanese director making a film about Salome's legend, at the Louvre. He doesn't speak French or English, and this leads to much confusion as a Frenchman is cast in the lead and the role of Salome is given to supermodel Laetitia Casta. Lee Kang-sheng plays the director.


Image: A poster of Visage

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Vincere
Directed by:
Marco Bellocchio

Italian filmmaker Bellocchio is best known for his lovely adaptation of Henry IV, for Devil In The Flesh and his breakaway first feature, Fists In The Pocket.

Vincere is based on the life of Ida Raiser, the first wife of Benito Mussolini. Ignored in most biographies of Il Duce, Raiser is Mussolini's first ideological worshipper and one struck by his charisma -- and one he always denied.

Giovanna Mezzogiorno plays Ida with Fabrizio Costella as the younger Mussolini and Filippo Timi as the senior dictator.


Image: A poster of Vincere

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Un Prophete / A Prophet
Directed by:
Jacques Audiard

Son of famed French director Michel Audiard, Jacques entered the limelight with his fabulous first film, a road movie called Regarde Les Hommes Tomber, and his third film Sur Mes Levres was widely considered one of the finest films to come out of France at the turn of the century.

His latest film is a crime thriler starring Gilles Cohen, Adel Bencheris, Niels Arestrup and Tahar Rahim in the central role as Malik, a convict who can't read or write.

Yet smarts are about more than language skills, and young Malik quickly learns the prison ropes and hatches his own plans.


Image: A scene from Un Prophete

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