Up to open Cannes

Disney/Pixar’s Up will open the Cannes Film Festival on May 13.

The movie is the story of a 78- year old man Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Ed Asner) who rigs helium balloons to his house and flies to South America.

Up is the first animated film to open the festival. It is a definite change of pace from Blindness, which opened the 2008 festival. It opens in the United States on May 29.

Almodovar’s Broken Embraces at Cannes

I’ve heard rumors that Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar’s next film Broken Embraces will show at Cannes. Here is a preview of the film which opens in Spain March 18.

This year in Spanish cinema, Pedro Almodovar is the new black.

Oscar-winning director Almodovar’s latest film Broken Embraces drops his distinctive comic melodrama for the best tradition of “film noir,” the dark and stylish film genre used in many crime dramas.

Set for release on March 18 in Spain and in the rest of Europe in May, the film stars recent Oscar winner Penelope Cruz in the role of a tragedy-dogged aspiring actress.

“The film noir genre is one of my favorites,” Almodovar told reporters at a screening of the film on Friday. “The fact this film was really “black” was what was very satisfying.”

Broken Embraces centers on a quartet of characters in the movie business whose lives are interwoven in a torrid tale of love, power, secrecy, betrayal and vengeance. There is the actress Lena (Cruz), script writer and director Mateo, film producer Judith and unscrupulous financier Ernesto.

The dark and stylish cinematography recalls classic Hollywood thrillers of the 1940s and 1950s, including one scene where Lena’s jealous lover pushes her down a long, winding staircase, evoking a similar scene in Henry Hathaway’s The Kiss of Death.

Almodovar described Broken Embraces — his 17th film and with the highest budget yet of 11 million euros ($14.16 million) — as “the story of my \love for the cinema.”

Spain’s most famous director is known for melodramatic tragedy mixed with frenetic comedy in films like Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!. He won the Oscar for screenwriting Talk to Her, about two men who form an unlikely bond when both their girlfriends are in comas, and he has only flirted with film noir style in earlier films, such as Trembling Flesh.

Broken Embraces marks the fourth collaboration between Almodovar and Cruz, who last month won the Oscar for best supporting actress in a role as an eccentric Spanish painter in Woody Allen’s Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona.

Cruz was effusive in her praise of Almodovar. “I’ve been obsessed with his films since I was a youngster,” she said, adding that if she were told she could only work with one director for the rest of her life it would be “without doubt” Almodovar.

I am taking a seminar on Pedro Almodovar’s films this semester so I will be beyond excited if Broken Embraces does indeed show at Cannes.

Cannes 2009: I think I just went into cardiac arrest

Here is an alleged line-up for Cannes. I’m assuming that most of or all of these films are competing for the Palme d’or, if they compete at all). I still cannot believe I’m going to Cannes in May!

Broken Embraces (dir. Pedro Almodovar)
Antichrist (Lars Von Trier)
The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke)
Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
Bright Star (Jane Campion)
Taking Woodstock (Ang Lee)
The Limits of Control (Jim Jarmusch)
Forgiveness (Todd Solondz)
A Serious Man (Joel and Ethan Coen)
The Girlfriend Experience (Steven Soderbergh)
The Informant (Steven Soderbergh)
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Terry Gilliam)
Ondine (Neil Jordan)
Agora (Alejandro Amenabar)
Looking For Eric (Ken Loach)
White Material (Claire Denis)
Enter the Void (Gaspar Noe)
Thirst (Park Chan-wook)
Face (Tsai Ming-liang)
Vengeance (Johnny To)
Nymph (Pen-ek Ratanaruang)
Mother (Bong Joon Ho)

The official line-up is announced in Paris on April 23.

Inglourious Basterds at Cannes

It’s only January but there is already one movie I would love to see when I’m at Cannes. Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, starring Brad Pitt will most likely premiere at the festival before its August 21 release in the US. The film is based on Enzo Castellari’s 1978 movie Inglorious Bastards. Realistically I know this probably won’t happen since Inglorious Basterds is already one of the most buzzed about movies of 2009. But a girl can always dream.

Since there isn’t a trailer or poster about the movie yet, here is the trailer for the 1978 version’s dvd release. It features an interview between Tarantino and Castellari. Enjoy!

Isabelle Huppert to head Cannes Jury

French actress Isabelle Huppert (The Piano Teacher) will be the jury president for the 62nd Cannes Film Festival. She is only the fourth woman to head the panel.

Huppert said in a statement:
I am very glad and very proud. I’ve had a long relationship with Cannes and this next meeting will definitely seal my love for the Festival and thus for global cinema. Cannes is the open door to all the new ideas of the world. I am thrilled at the idea of being a privileged spectator in it.
Huppert has attened the festival 25 times in various roles including awards presenter, jury member and symposium head, as well as acting in films in and out of competition. She won best actress twice – in 2001 for The Piano Teacher and in 1978 for Violette Nozière.
The previous two jury presidents were American actor and director Sean Penn in 2008 and British director Stephen Frears.
Only four months to go! I’m getting excited!!