Simon Bland in Film & TV

14/05/2015

UK Film at Cannes 2015: Ones To Watch

Cannes Film Festival 2015 is currently underway. Opening the event this year is ‘Le Tete Haute’ (‘Standing Tall’), a french drama by Emmanuelle Bercot which marks the first time the event has been opened by a female director in over 25 years. 

Festival de Cannes is also home to the busiest movie marketplace in the world. Filmmakers come from far and wide with hopes of securing distribution and spreading the (hopefully) good word about their project. 

UK film has a strong presence at this year’s event and looks set to make a considerable splash thanks to star turns, eye-catching new talent and a powerful documentary. Here’s our ones to watch...

'Macbeth'

Justin Kerzel’s ‘Macbeth’ may have been directed by an Australian but it’s English in pretty much every other way. 2015’s adaptation sees Michael Fassbender step into the shoes of Shakespeare’s doomed king alongside the likes of fellow Brits Paddy Considine, David Thewlis and ‘The Goob’ star Sean Harris. The film was produced by London based production company See-Saw Films and shot in England and Scotland throughout 2014. Fassbender’s ‘Macbeth’ will be screened in competition at Cannes 2015, with an eye to take home the Palme D’Or.

'The Lobster'

‘Dogtooth’ director Yorgos Lanthimos returns to Cannes with his hotly-tipped English language debut ‘The Lobster’. Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw and John C. Reilley star in this romantic sci-fi set in a dystopian future where single men are forced to pair off and find love or else. If the mention of a greek filmmaker on this list has you scratching your head, relax: ‘The Lobster’ was part funded by Film4 with the BFI’s Head of International Isabel Davis producing alongside Ireland’s Element Pictures. The film features Olivia Coleman in a supporting role and will go up against ‘MacBeth’ for the coveted Palme D’Or.

'Youth'

Paolo Sorrentino’s (‘This Must Be The Place’) new one ‘Youth’ starring Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel received funding from Film4 too, and will also compete for the Palme D’Or. Co-starring Brit Rachel Weisz alongside US talents Jane Fonda and Paul Dano, ‘Youth’ is a reflective and contemplative story following two ageing friends on vacation in the Alps. Sorrentino’s film was co-produced by UK production companies Indigo Films and Number 9 Films and will be the director’s sixth feature to appear at the festival.

'Carol'

Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara star in this adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel ‘The Prince of Salt’ directed by US indie filmmaker Todd Haynes (‘I’m Not There’). Set to a golden backdrop of 1950’s New York, we follow the story of a young department store clerk (Mara) who falls for an older, married woman (Blanchett). London’s Number 9 Films acted as co-producers for ‘Carol’, with the team at Film4 on development duty and UK’s HanWay Films handling international sales. 'Carol' will also compete for the Palme D’Or.

'Amy'

‘Senna’ director Asif Kapadia returns to documentary territory once again, this time turning his attention to troubled soul singer Amy Winehouse. ‘Amy’ offers an unflinching look at the life of a starlet with a spectacular voice who fell victim to personal demons. As well as being the only competing film at Cannes 2015 from a British director, ‘Amy’ has already caused its fair share of controversy. Originally filmed with the co-operation of the Winehouse family, since wrapping, Winehouse matriarch Mitch has labelled the Kapadia’s film as misleading and removed himself from the project.

'Shorts'

Only nine films were invited to compete for the short film Palme D’Or at this year’s Festival de Cannes and two of them were British. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, one short was from 28-year-old student filmmaker Eva Riley who’s competing film ‘Patriot’ - about a young girl whose father leads a far-right group - serves as a fine indicator of the award worthy content being created by the UK’s next generation of filmmaking talent. Joining Eva is Dan Hodgson whose comedy short ‘Love is Blind’ follows an awkward love triangle as a married woman tries to secretly negotiate her young lover’s escape when her hubby arrives home early.

'MANoMAN'

Animated short ‘MANoMAN’ from British filmmaker Simon Cartwright will also screen at this year’s Cannes Film Festival in the Cinéfondation Selection. Cartwright’s stop-motion entry tells the story of a man who unlocks his inner beast after attending a Primal Scream class and will join 17 other shorts from international talents. Simon Cartwright is a graduate from the National Film and Television School, specialising in puppets, hand drawn and stop motion animation.


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