Since the announcement of this year’s selected films, the Cannes film festival machine has whirred on, with additions to that line-up and confirmation of some of the Out of Competition activities that attendees can look forward to.
One particular highlight is the Cannes Classics programme of films, a selection of restored films and rediscovered lost films, as part of the build up to their re-release in cinemas or on DVD. The programme traditionally includes some massively important films: the 2009 fest offered the mouth-watering triptych of Powell and Pressburger’s The Red Shoes (1948), Leone’s A Fistful of Dynamite (1971) and Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows (1959), and this year’s line-up is just as eye-catching.
This year’s Cannes Classic programme lines up as follows (with additional detail of their restoration, and the ceremony attached to the screening):
- LA BATAILLE DU RAIL (The Battle of the Rails) (France, 1946) by René Clément, awarded the Jury Prize in 1946, restored by INA and Full Images.
- BOUDU SAUVE DES EAUX (Boudu Saved from Drowning) by Jean Renoir (France, 1932)
- TRISTANA (Spain/France/Italy, 1970) by Luis Buñuel, selected in Cannes in 1970, will be shown as part of a celebration of Spanish cinema at the initiative of French Minister of Culture Frédéric Mitterrand, who has invited his Spanish counterpart and several contemporary Spanish artists. Copy preserved by the Filmoteca Espagnole. The film will be presented by Pedro Almodovar.
- IL GATTOPARDO (The Leopard) (Italy, 1963) by Luchino Visconti, winner of the Palme d’Or in 1963. Restored in association with Cineteca di Bologna, L’Immagine Ritrovata, The Film Foundation, Pathé, Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé, Twentieth Century Fox and Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia-Cineteca Nazionale. Restoration funding provided by Gucci and The Film Foundation. Digital Picture Restoration, Colorworks. Sound laboratory services, L’Immagine Ritrovata.
- PSYCHO (United States, 109’, 1960) by Alfred Hitchcock. Print restored by Universal Pictures and Audionamix.
- KHANDAHAR (The Ruins) (India, 1983) directed by Mrinal Sen, one of Indian cinema’s greats, who will be attending the screening. Restoration by Reliance MediaWorks with the support of the Indian State and the National Film Archive of India.
- LA CAMPAGNE DE CICERON (France, 1989) by Jacques Davila who sadly passed away in 1991, in the presence of the film crew, who have come back for the occasion. Restoration presented by the Cinematheque of Toulouse with the support of the Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema. The film will be re-released on DVD by Carlotta.
- LA 317e SECTION (France, 1965), which won Best Screenplay in 1965; copy restored by the Cinematheque Française and StudioCanal with the support of the Franco-American Cultural Fund, in the presence of its director Pierre Schoendoerffer and the President of the Cinémathèque Costa-Gavras.
- LE GRAND AMOUR (The Great Love) (France, 1969), in competition in Cannes in 1969, directed and presented by Pierre Etaix. Film Restored by Studio 37, the Technicolor Foundation for Cinema and the Fondation Groupama Gan for Cinema.
- AU PETIT BONHEUR (Happy Go Lucky) by Marcel L’Herbier (France, 1946). Print restored by the Archives Française du film (CNC) and StudioCanal.
- DIE BLECHTROMEL (The Tin Drum) (Germany, 1979) by Volker Schlöndorff, winner of the Palme d’Or in 1979, re-edited and presented by the director in a ‘Director’s cut’, remastered by Kinowelt.
- AFRICAN QUEEN (United States/United Kingdom, 1951) by John Huston. Print restored by Paramount Pictures and ITV, and sponsored by Angelica Huston.
- KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN (United States/Brazil) by Hector Babenco, (Best actor : Cannes 1985). Print restored by Ascent Media and Prime Focus, in the presence of the film crew for its 25th anniversary. Upcoming French re-release.
- The Cinematheque of Bologna will also be presenting two short films: IL RUSCELLO DI RIPASOTTILE (Italy, 1941) by Roberto Rossellini, and THE ELOQUENT PEASANT by Chadi Abdel Salam (Egypt, 1970)
The obvious highlights are Jean Renoir’s Boudu Saved From Drowning (1932)- a restoration presented by Pathé in a never-before-seen version that includes scenes that were cut in the original, as well as the opportunity to see Paramount and ITV’s restored version of The African Queen (1951) and the Universal/Audionamix restoration of Hitchcock’s classic Psycho (1960). Further excitement will come with the news that Psycho will feature a restored and reconstructed soundtrack, and the prospect of seeing the iconic film resplendant on a big screen as it was intended is one I will not be able to resist.
Aside from this huge trio, and the various draws of the other films in the main line-up, Cannes Classics offers an unrivalled opportunity to revisit the history of foreign cinema from countries not traditionally afforded the attention that the favourites command. With that in mind, the World Cinema Foundation, established in Cannes by Martin Scorsese in 2007, will be presenting a flavour of the film industries of Hungary, Kazakhstan and India, with Cinematheque of Bologne/L’Immagine Ritrovata restored versions of the following:
- MEST (The Red Flute) by Ermek Shinarbaev (Kazakhstan, 1989)
- KÉT LÁNY AZ UTCÁN (Two Girls in the Street) by André de Toth (Hungary, 1939)
- TITASH EKTI NADIR NAAM (A River Called Titas) by Ritwik Ghatak (India, 1973)
The programme also features a number of documentaries, which this year includes Craig McCall’s Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff, arguably Britain’s greatest ever cinematographer whose astounding 72 year career included work on projects as diverse as Black Narciccus (1947), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) and Rambo: First Blood Part II and who sadly died closely following the end of last year’s festival. Cardiff worked alongside Powell and Pressburger, Hitchcock and John Huston and the documentary looks set to be a great one. Alongside McCall’s offering will be Greg MacGillivray’s surf-on-film doc Hollywood Dont Surf, Stig Bjorkman’s …but Film is my Mistress- the second in a series of unseen footage of, and by Ingmar Bergman- and finally a post-humous self-portrait of Daniel Toscan, the French producer of Peter Greenaway’s The Cook the Thief His Wide & Her Lover (1989) who died in 2003.
All in all, the line-up is ridiculously opulent for any cinephile, and schedule permitting, I aim to be at at least a few of the screenings.