Cannes Festival: Film by Cameroonian Director Shortlisted for the Directors’ Fortnight


Michel Gondry’s portrayal of a bipolar director, movies from Cameroon, India, or Russia—the Directors’ Fortnight, one of the festival’s key parallel sections, unveiled its 55th lineup on Tuesday (April 18).

The Fortnight sets itself apart from other Cannes selections with its non-competitive attitude and focus on the identification of fresh filmmakers. However, this year included a number of well-known directors.

French Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind”, “Soyez sympas, rembobinez”), will present “Le livre des solutions”, a “comedy around the creative process (…) of a bipolar filmmaker”, with actor Pierre Niney and comedian Blanche Gardin, announced the general delegate, Julien Rejl.

South Korean Hong Sang-soo, a regular at major festivals, was selected for the closing night (with “Woo-ru-ui-ha-ru”), and the Fortnight will also screen the latest films by Cédric Kahn, the director of “La Prière”, who is back with “Le Procès Goldman” about radical left-wing activism in the 1970s, and Bertrand Mandico’s new baroque queer work.

Most of the selection of 19 previously unreleased films is, however, centered around discoveries, including a Belgian-Cameroonian film “between fiction and documentary” on the journey of a courageous mother (“Mambar Pierrette” by Rosine Mbakam).

The director will present her very first full-length film in Cannes. Speaking to Belgian media house RTBF, she shared her excitement: “For me and my family in Cameroon, film was like a world apart where there were only incredible stories, embodied by incredible people. In my film, those incredible people are my family and the stories are theirs.”

The Directors’ Fortnight’s selection also includes an Indian film on the repression of sexuality (“Agra” by Kanu Behl), a “totally independent” Russian road-movie shot in 2021 (“Grace” by Ilya Povolotsky).

Some 4,000 films were viewed (including short films) which show a “return in force of Asia, the United States and some African proposals,” Thierry Fremaux, the delegate general of the Cannes Film Festival said.

The films selected “embody a spirit of resistance to all forms of ideology and dominant discourse. Among the recurring themes, “the unease between the sexes”, “the return of religion” and a strong presence of genre cinema, from fantasy to adventure through the thriller, he pointed.

Like all Cannes selections the Quinzaine des cinéastes [Editor’s Note: New name of the selection in French which erases the masculine form of the plural which the previous name featured] refuses to accept any quotas related to origin or gender.

In total, 27% of the feature films submitted were directed by women, who account for a slightly higher proportion of the feature films selected, at 32%, said Rejl.

In the main competitive selection the Palme d’Or, two films by African directors were shortlisted: “Banel et Adama” by French-Senegalese Ramata-Toulaye Sy, and “Les Filles d’Olfa”by Tunisian Kaouther Ben Hania.

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