The Best Movie Buzz from the 2012 Cannes Film Festival

Photo Credit: IFC Films
June 7th, 2012

The Best Movie Buzz from the 2012 Cannes Film Festival

-- Each year since 1946, the tiny city of Cannes, located in France, becomes an international spectacle because of the Cannes Film Festival. Though film festivals are a dime a dozen these days, none have the glamour or gain the level of attention that Cannes Film Festival does. From the fashion seen the red carpet to the celebrity-studded parties, no other film festival is quite like this one.

Lasting around a week and a half, the festival screens movies ranging from documentaries to independent dramas and gives out awards based on the votes of a jury. In 2012, the jury consisted of directors Alexander Payne, Andrea Arnold and Nanni Moretti, fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier, actresses Emanuelle Devos and Hiam Abess, model Diane Kruger and activist Raoul Peck. Together, these jurors picked one of the most buzzed-about films, "Amour," to win the coveted Palme d'Or award. This is the top prize given at the festival and is the equivalent to the Best Picture award given at the Oscars.

"Amour" is about the marriage of Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) and Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant). As with most long-term marriages, their relationship changes as their characters begin to age. It is a poignant story of two people who still love each other as they age and one begins to get sick. The tender movie was directed by Michael Haneke, who also won the same award in 2009 for "The White Ribbon." He becomes the eighth director in 65 years to win two Palme d'Or awards.

Also in contention for the big prize was Wes Anderson's innocent love story "Moonrise Kingdom." It follows two 12-year-old children as they experience the first vestiges of love at a very young age. The all-star cast includes Bruce Willis, Harvey Keitel, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton and Bill Murray. The buzz on this one is fantastic and is expected to contend for several prizes come awards season.

The much-anticipated adaptation of beatnik writer Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" stars Kristen Stewart, Sam Reilly and Garret Hedlund and had its premiere at Cannes. The film quickly found distribution and will be released in the United States during the latter part of 2012. The movie follows a small group of Beat Generation adults who hit the road to try and see what the world has to offer.

The novel "Les Liasons Dangereuses" has been adapted for the stage and screen dozens of times over the years. What makes the version that debuted at Cannes different is that it was an ethnic adaptation, being set in China. "Dangerous Liaisons" stars Zhang Ziyi and was directed by Hur Jin-Ho. The distribution rights were snapped up quickly, including the rights for the USA. Many fans are anticipating it because it contains stunning visuals from 1930s Shanghai to go along with vibrant costumes made of colorful bolts of velvet and silk. Add to it the universal story of love, trickery and betrayal, and you have a winner no matter what language is being spoken.

Cannes also has a special Directors Fortnight where films are picked to win jury prizes due to excellent work on the part of the director. This year, the Chilean director Pablo Larrian took home the prized Art Cinema Award. Larrian cast international star Gael Garcia Bernal as the lead in the film, which takes a look at the fall of the Pinochet regime. Also being honored at the Fortnight were El Taaib (The Repentant) and Camille redouble (Camille Rewinds), both European entries.

Andrew Dominik's "Killing Them Softly" has arguably the most popular actor at Cannes in it, Brad Pitt. He stars as Jackie Cogan, a hitman hired to assassinate a pair of thieves who robbed an underground poker game. Since the game was illegal, the police can't be called to report the crime, so things must be handled a different way. The film is full of great performances by Pitt, James Gandolfini and Richard Jenkins just to name a few. It is a very macho film that uses violence as a metaphor for the current state of the country and economy.

Each of these buzzed-about films either already had a distributor before hitting Cannes or found one after being screened there. Though the glitz and awards are always the most talked-about thing surrounding the film festival, the true gem is that movies that are finished but have no release date can finally get put in movie theaters. In addition, many movies that are in pre-production or are still filming can also find a movie studio willing to distribute the movie later.