Aussie director to compete in Cannes

Australia hasn’t had a film in official competition at the Cannes Film Festival since 2011 but Justin Kurzel will fly the flag with Macbeth at next month’s festival.

Michael Fassbender plays the troubled Scottish king and Marion Cotillard is Lady Macbeth in the Shakespearian drama produced by See-Saw Films’ Iain Canning and Emile Sherman.

The UK production financed by Studiocanal and Film4 will be released in Oz by Transmission Films, probably in October.  Kurzel's Snowtown screened during Critics Week in Cannes in 2011, where it got a special mention and he was nominated for the Golden Camera award for best first feature.

Also among the 17 titles competing for the Palme d'Or is Carol, Todd Haynes’ lesbian romance set in 1950s New York, which stars Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara and Sarah Paulson.

Based on a Patricia Highsmith novel about a department-store clerk who dreams of a better life and falls for an older, married woman, it will open here on Boxing Day via Transmission.

Naomi Watts co-stars with Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe in Gus Van Sant's Sea of Trees, a survival story about a guy who has lost his way in life and treks into the thick forest at the foot of Mount Fuji looking for existential answers. Entertainment One has the Australian rights but has yet to set a release date.

Julia Leigh’s Sleeping Beauty was the last Australian film to screen in competition in 2011. George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road is screening out of competition on May 14, the same day it launches in Australia.

Writer-director Shane Danielsen’s The Guests is among nine titles from around the world selected for the shorts film competition. The plot follows a woman (Matilda Ridgway) who is surprised when a bunch of people turn up at her house unannounced for a party, during which her baby disappears.

Among the 18 film school titles in the Cinéfondation selection is Qiu Yang’s Ri guang zhi xia (Under the Sun), repping the Victorian College of the Arts School of Film and Television. Running 19 minutes, the drama sees two families tangle after an incident. .

In Cannes last year Zak Hilditch’s These Final Hours competed in Directors’ Fortnight, David Michôd’s The Rover had a midnight screening out of competition and Rolf de Heer’s Charlie’s Country showed in the Un Certain Regard sidebar where David Gulpilil was named best actor.

This year Jocelyn Moorhouse’s The Dressmaker wasn’t finished in time to be submitted for competition but will have an invitation-only screening for buyers at the Cannes market.

Embankment Films has pre-sold the 1950s-set comic drama starring Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Liam Hemsworth and Sarah Snook to 18 territories and it will open here on October 22 via Universal.

Producer Sue Maslin tells IF, “The Dressmaker is currently at picture lock off and not due for completion until June 30. We are all very excited by how the film is looking and CAA in association with Embankment will be screening the film to US buyers in LA on April 30. We are setting our sights on an international premiere at Toronto International Film Festival."

So far 44 features out of a record 1,854 titles that were submitted and viewed by the festival’s team have been chosen. Three or four titles are to be added to the competition line-up.

Emmanuelle Bercot's drama La tête haute will kick off the 68th edition of the festival on May 13. The competition jury is headed by the Coen brothers while Isabella Rossellini is president of the Un Certain Regard jury.


Dheepan – Jacques Audiard
La loi du marché – Stéphane Brizé
Marguerite et Julien – Valérie Donzelli
The Tale of Tales – Matteo Garrone
Carol – Todd Haynes
The Assassin – Hou Hsiao-Hsien
Mountains May Depart – Jia Zhang-ke
Our Little Sister – Hirokazu Kore-eda
Macbeth – Justin Kurzel
The Lobster – Yorgos Lanthimos
Mon roi – Maïwenn
Mia madre- Nanni Moretti
Son of Saul – László Nemes
Youth- – Paolo Sorrentino
Louder than Bombs – Joachim Trier
Sea of Trees – Gus Van Sant
Sicario – Denis Villeneuve

Opening film (out of competition):

La tête haute – Emmanuelle Bercot

Out of competition:

Mad Max: Fury Road – George Miller
Irrational Man – Woody Allen
Inside Out – Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen
The Little Prince – Mark Osborne

Special screenings:

Asphalte – Samuel Benchetrit
Oka – Souleymane Cisse
Hayored Lema'ala – Elad Keidan
Panama – Pavle Vuckovic
Amnesia – Barbet Schroeder
A Tale of Love and Darkness – Natalie Portman

Midnight screenings:

Office – Hong Won-Chan
Amy – Asif Kapadia

Un Certain Regard:

Fly Away Solo – Neeraj Ghaywan
Rams – Grímur Hákonarson
Journey to The Shore – Kiyoshi Kurosawa
I Am a Soldier – Laurent Larivière
The High Sun – Dalibor Matanic
The Other Side – Roberto Minervini
One Floor Below – Radu Muntean
The Shameless – Oh Seung-Uk
The Chosen Ones – David Pablos
Nahid – Ida Panahandeh
The Treasure – Corneliu Porumboiu
The Fourth Direction – Gurvinder Singh
Madonna – Shin Suwon
Maryland – Alice Winocour