24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

« Previous Post | 24 Frames Home | Next Post »

Cannes 2010: America braces for an auteur attack

May 21, 2010 |  4:15 pm

The Cannes competition titles may, as a group, be thought an underwhelming bunch. But American audiences won't have to trust the tastemakers on the Croisette. They'll get a chance to see for themselves after two more titles were sold to American companies on Friday. Both are in French and both feature religious tensions, so we're thinking ... art house.

Sony Pictures Classics announced that it had picked up "Of Gods and Men," Xavier Beauvois' French-language film about monks in North Africa who resolve to stay in their monastery even as tensions in the Muslim-dominated region intensify. IFC, meanwhile, has announced that it has acquired domestic rights to "The Princess of Montpensier," the love story from French auteur Bertrand Tavernier set amid 16th century battles between French Catholics and Protestants.

The latter stages of the Cannes Film Festival tend to see a flurry of U.S. deals for foreign-language films, as distributors pretty much have decided what films they really want (and as some make a play to buy competition movies before the Palme d'Or is announced and the winner's price rises; as it is in the commodities market, so it is with Cannes).

Both of the movies acquired Friday are thought to be respectable contenders for the the Palme, with "Of Gods and Men" considered -- along with Mike Leigh's "Another Year" (also an SPC buy), Abbas Kiarostami's "Certified Copy" (an IFC buy), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Biutiful" and Lee Chang-Dong's "Poetry" -- in the top group of candidates.

 -- Steven Zeitchik, reporting from Cannes, France


Photo: "The Princess of Montpensier; credit: Cannes Film Festival