As the Cannes Film Festival rolls on, the market remains busy with announcements of new films from some of the world’s best directors, including:
Jia Zhang-ke: The Chinese auteur had a good year in 2013, drawing raves for his A Touch Of Sin at Cannes (where the film won the Best Screenplay prize) and then continuing to pile up good notices on the fall festival circuit and then in limited release. Yesterday, Jia announced that his next film will begin shooting in October, with the working title Mountain River Old Friend. The Screen Daily article about the announcement says, “The story begins with a young couple in 1990s China, who split up and then meet much later when the woman is divorced and her son is living in Australia. It then takes up the story of the son in Australia in the future.” From that description it sounds like Jia is continuing the ambitious storytelling of his multi-narrative A Touch Of Sin, while also returning to contemplative human drama, after dabbling some in violent action-movie beats with his last film.
Catherine Breillat: Now in her mid-60s, with a resumé that includes such arthouse classics as 36 Fillette, Fat Girl, and Bluebeard (though that last one may just be a classic in my eyes), Breillat is making some uncommon choices with her next project, called Bridge Of Floating Dreams. According to Screen Daily, the new movie sports a English-language screenplay by Australian writer Brian Jones—the first time Breillat has made a film in English, and the first time she’s directed someone else’s script—and is set in 1960s Japan, following an Australian backpacker’s journey through the country and his relationships with a nightclub hostess, a forger, and a gangster. The description of Bridge Of Floating Dreams also makes a point of noting that the story takes place “some twenty years after Hiroshima,” which may mean that the romance between the backpacker and the hostess—described by Breillat as “flamboyant and carnal”—could double as an homage to the late Alain Resnais.
David Lowery: We were fans here at The Dissolve of Lowery’s 2013 breakout film Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (and I personally enjoyed interviewing Lowery), so it was exciting to hear last fall that Lowery would be writing and directing an adaptation of Kevin Powers’ National Book Award finalist The Yellow Birds, which was inspired by Powers’ service in Iraq. And while the film is still nowhere close to commencing production, The Yellow Birds does have a green-light from its backers, and a star: Benedict Cumberbatch.
Lastly, a piece of distribution news. Two weeks ago I mentioned that Tobias Lindholm’s military legal drama A War was selling in the Cannes market. Well, according to Variety, the domestic rights have been picked up by Magnolia, which is good news for fans of Lindholm’s A Hijacking who are eager to see what he does next. Magnolia is one those indie companies that does a good job of getting its films seen, both in arthouses and on VOD and DVD.