Pedro Almodovar on ‘Roma’: ‘The Best Film of the Year’ (EXCLUSIVE)

MADRID — Pedro Almodóvar made an appearance last night in Madrid to present “Roma” to industry members and friends at a private screening held by Netflix. “It’s the best film of the year,” Almodóvar said calling “Roma”  “two hours from a master t…

MADRID — Pedro Almodóvar made an appearance last night in Madrid to present “Roma” to industry members and friends at a private screening held by Netflix. “It’s the best film of the year,” Almodóvar said calling “Roma”  “two hours from a master that sweep spectators away.” Almodovar joins an early crescendo of support for Alfonso […]

John Cameron Mitchell Vowed Never to Work With Harvey Weinstein After Seeing Him Scream at Another Filmmaker

Mitchell talked to IndieWire about how he avoided the executive — and the only filmmaker he knew who stood up to Weinstein’s bullying.

John Cameron Mitchell occupies a unique place in show business. Described as a “glamrock multi-hyphenate,” he is as charismatic a stage performer as he is a visionary filmmaker. From “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” to “Shortbus” to “Rabbit Hole,” his films rarely fit into one succinct genre or tagline, but always reflect his unique point of view. His latest film, “How to Talk to Girls at Parties,” is a teen romance between a punk and an alien set in 1970s Britain. Based on the short story by Neil Gaiman and featuring an eye-popping ensemble clad in matching latex bodysuits, Mitchell called it “The midnight movie that I grew up with, the one that I wanted to see.”

Never one to compromise, Mitchell often wrestles with the creative dilemma of working in a medium that requires so much outside financial support to come to fruition. ““I’m a money launderer, that’s how I see myself,” he said in a phone interview. “If you pass it through my system, I will take your ill-gotten gains and make something useful, hopefully. Which is why I’ve actually taken money from people that I didn’t necessarily wanna hang out with to make my films.”

There is one major Hollywood producer he made sure to avoid: Harvey Weinstein. “I saw him screaming at a brilliant filmmaker,” Mitchell said, guessing the time frame was sometime in the 2000s. “I thought, ‘I’m never gonna work with that guy. I don’t know anything about him, except that he’s a bully, and that he seems to destroy people’s lives.’ So I said to myself, ‘I would rather a film of mine didn’t come out if he was the only distributor interested.'”

When asked if he could remember the name of the filmmaker, Mitchell said: “I think it was actually Pedro Almodóvar, who’s no pushover, that he was screaming at. I feel like it was at The Plaza or something. I don’t know why I was there. It’s not one of my usual hangouts.”

A representative for Almodóvar told IndieWire: “Pedro doesn’t remember to have been screamed at by Harvey Weinstein ever, [or being] with him at the Plaza.”

While Mitchell never had a direct offer from Weinstein, he said the producer did express interest in Mitchell’s work. “Harvey kinda [said], ‘You’re a very talented filmmaker,'” Mitchell said, calling it “a kind of seductive come-on line … a distributor come-on line, thank god it wasn’t any other kind of come on. He set himself up as the arbiter and the great Jabba the Hut of of independent films. But everyone I knew who worked with him were casualties. I knew a number of friends whose films were gutted. I didn’t know about the sexual stuff, but it didn’t surprise me. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

Mitchell knew himself well enough to know it would not have been a good match. “I would have wilted, I would have crumbled,” he said. “I wouldn’t have given in creatively, but I would have emotionally crumbled under that kind of power mongering. I would have a nervous breakdown or something, if I was working with him. So I avoided it. Not that I was getting any offers, but I actually vowed that if it was gonna happen, I would avoid it all costs.”

The filmmaker did note that some filmmakers managed to withstand Weinstein’s influence. “The only person I [knew] who could stand up to him creatively was Todd Haynes,” he said. “And he always had final cut, which was unheard of.” The last Haynes film released by The Weinstein Company was “Carol,” but Haynes was asserting himself against the mogul as early as 1998, while working on “Velvet Goldmine,” which was distributed by Miramax. “He didn’t buckle under them, and Weinstein dumped it,” Mitchell said. “Didn’t promote it, just dumped it in theaters. But Todd didn’t back down and re-edit. Not too many people had final cut with him. I think maybe Tarantino and a couple other people. I just am glad I never had to deal with that.”

A24 will release “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” in theaters on May 25. 

Pedro Almodóvar Announces 21st Film: ‘Dolor y Gloria’ to Star Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas

The Spanish filmmaker is reuniting with two of his biggest stars for a drama that sounds like Almodóvar’s own version of “8½.”

Pedro Almodóvar is getting the band back together. The Spanish filmmaker will reunite with two of his biggest former stars, Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas, for his next feature, “Dolor y Gloria.” The movie is Almodóvar’s first since 2016’s “Julieta” and marks his 21st feature overall. Unlike many of Almodóvar’s most famous works, “Dolor y Gloria” will center around a male protagonist.

The film stars Banderas as a movie director looking back on his iconic career. According to Almodóvar (via Variety), the movie recounts “a series of meetings, some physical, others remembered decades later, of a film director now in his twilight years.” Some of the people the director encounters are his first loves, his mother, and actors with whom he worked with from the 1960s through the 1980s.

The plot details confirmed for “Dolor y Gloria” make it seem like Almodóvar will be making his own version of Federico Fellini’s “8½.” The director said the movie will focus on “a sense of incommensurate emptiness, caused by the inability to go on making films.” The storyline suggests Bandares’ Dolor will share with the character Guido Anselmi, played by Marcello Mastroianni in “8½.” Cruz, Julieta Serrano, and Asier Etxeandía will play women from Dolor’s past.

“Dolor y Gloria” will mark Banderas’ first Almodóvar feature since 2011’s “The Skin I Live In.” The actor was a staple of the director’s early career, having starred in “Labyrinth of Passion” (1982) and, most famously, in “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!” (1989). Cruz, meanwhile, last worked with Almodóvar in 2009 on “Broken Embraces.” She won best actress at Cannes and was nominated for an Oscar for her work in “Volver” (2006), considered to be one of Almodóvar’s best films.

Before starting work on Almodóvar’s 21st feature, Banderas can be seen as Pablo Picasso on the second season of National Geographic Channel’s “Genius,” while Cruz leads Asghar Farhadi’s Cannes opener “Everybody Knows.” “Dolor y Gloria” is set to begin production in July.

Pedro Almodovar To Direct Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz In ‘Dolor Y Gloria’

Pedro Almodovar has set his next project, reteaming with Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz for Dolor Y Gloria (Pain And Glory). Shooting will begin on the film in July, Almodovar’s production house El Deseo announced Tuesday morning. Banderas will star opposite Asier Etxeandía (Ma Ma) with Cruz and another Almodovar vet, Julieta Serrano, featuring.
This is Almodovar’s 21st film and will tell the story of a series of meetings, “some physical and others remembered after…

Pedro Almodovar has set his next project, reteaming with Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz for Dolor Y Gloria (Pain And Glory). Shooting will begin on the film in July, Almodovar’s production house El Deseo announced Tuesday morning. Banderas will star opposite Asier Etxeandía (Ma Ma) with Cruz and another Almodovar vet, Julieta Serrano, featuring. This is Almodovar’s 21st film and will tell the story of a series of meetings, “some physical and others remembered after…

Pedro Almodovar, Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz Team Up on ‘Dolor y Gloria’

Pedro Almodovar will team with Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz on the veteran Spanish director’s next film, “Dolor y Gloria,” which is set to shoot from the first half of July. “Dolor y Gloria” is set up at El Deseo, the Madrid-based production house created by Almodovar and his brother Agustín to produce “The Law […]

Pedro Almodovar will team with Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz on the veteran Spanish director’s next film, “Dolor y Gloria,” which is set to shoot from the first half of July. “Dolor y Gloria” is set up at El Deseo, the Madrid-based production house created by Almodovar and his brother Agustín to produce “The Law […]

Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem Film ‘Everybody Knows’ to Open Cannes Film Festival

“Everybody Knows,” starring Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Ricardo Darin, will open the 71st Cannes Film Festival, festival organizers announced on Thursday.

Asghar Farhadi directed the psychological thriller, and the film is the second film that is not in English or French to open the festival after Pedro Almodovar’s “Bad Education” in 2004.

“Everybody Knows,” written by Farhadi, follows Laura (Cruz) who travels from Buenos Aires to her native village in Spain with her family. However, the big family reunion is disrupted by events that change the character’s lives.

Also Read: Quelle Horreur! Cannes Film Festival Bans Selfies on Red Carpet

Iranian director Farhadi had two films in the Cannes competition previously — “The Salesman” in 2016 and “The Past” in 2013. “The Salesman” won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film.

The Cannes Opening Ceremony will be held on May 8th and will be broadcast free-to-air by Canal + as well as in partner cinemas and followed by the preview screening of the film in select theaters in France.

Also Read: Cate Blanchett Named Cannes Film Festival Jury President

“Everybody Knows” is produced by Memento Films Production and Morena Films. International sales are being handled by Memento Films International and the French distribution by Memento Films. The film will be released on May 9 in French cinemas.

The 71st Cannes Film Festival will be held from May 8 to May 19. The competition jury will be headed by Cate Blanchett.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Cannes Film Festival to Start One Day Earlier in 2018

Jessica Chastain Finds ‘Disturbing’ How Women Were Portrayed in Cannes Movies

Cannes 2017: Thoughts on a Political, Indie-Minded Festival

“Everybody Knows,” starring Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Ricardo Darin, will open the 71st Cannes Film Festival, festival organizers announced on Thursday.

Asghar Farhadi directed the psychological thriller, and the film is the second film that is not in English or French to open the festival after Pedro Almodovar’s “Bad Education” in 2004.

“Everybody Knows,” written by Farhadi, follows Laura (Cruz) who travels from Buenos Aires to her native village in Spain with her family. However, the big family reunion is disrupted by events that change the character’s lives.

Iranian director Farhadi had two films in the Cannes competition previously — “The Salesman” in 2016 and “The Past” in 2013. “The Salesman” won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film.

The Cannes Opening Ceremony will be held on May 8th and will be broadcast free-to-air by Canal + as well as in partner cinemas and followed by the preview screening of the film in select theaters in France.

“Everybody Knows” is produced by Memento Films Production and Morena Films. International sales are being handled by Memento Films International and the French distribution by Memento Films. The film will be released on May 9 in French cinemas.

The 71st Cannes Film Festival will be held from May 8 to May 19. The competition jury will be headed by Cate Blanchett.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Cannes Film Festival to Start One Day Earlier in 2018

Jessica Chastain Finds 'Disturbing' How Women Were Portrayed in Cannes Movies

Cannes 2017: Thoughts on a Political, Indie-Minded Festival

Berlinale 2018: Panorama Adds Idris Elba’s ‘Yardie,’ Pedro Almodovar-Produced ‘The Silence of Others’

The 2018 Berlin Film Festival’s Panorama section has completed its lineup with the addition of films including “Yardie,” Idris Elba’s directorial debut; “The Silence of Others,” a documentary produced by Pedro Almodóvar; and “Lemonade,” produced by Cristian Mungiu. Rolling off its world premiere at Sundance, “Yardie” is an adaptation of Victor Headley’s British cult novel […]

The 2018 Berlin Film Festival’s Panorama section has completed its lineup with the addition of films including “Yardie,” Idris Elba’s directorial debut; “The Silence of Others,” a documentary produced by Pedro Almodóvar; and “Lemonade,” produced by Cristian Mungiu. Rolling off its world premiere at Sundance, “Yardie” is an adaptation of Victor Headley’s British cult novel […]

Cate Blanchett Named Cannes Film Festival Jury President

Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett has been named the President of the Jury for the 71st Annual Cannes Film Festival.

The “Carol” and “Thor: Ragnarok” star will be the first female jury president since Jane Campion served in 2014.

Other women to take on the role this century include Oscar nominee Isabelle Huppert and Liv Ullmann. It is the 12th time in festival history a woman has headed the jury. Director, screenwriter and actress Jeanne Moreau served twice, with all others putting in one year each.

Also Read: Cannes Film Festival to Start One Day Earlier in 2018

“I have been to Cannes in many guises over the years; as an actress, producer, in the marketplace, the Gala-sphere and in Competition,” Blanchett said. “But never solely for the sheer pleasure of watching the cornucopia of films this great festival harbors.”

Festival leaders Pierre Lescure and Thierry Frémaux, General Delegate called Blanchett a “unique artist whose talent and convictions enrich both screen and stage. Our conversations from this autumn tell us she will be a committed President, a passionate woman and a big-hearted spectator.”

Blanchett succeeds 2017 jury president Pedro Almodovar in an already packed year. She’ll release the female heist reboot “Ocean’s 8” in June, then an already-buzzy leading role in Richard Linklater’s “Where’d You Go Bernadette” followed by Eli Roth’s “The House with a Clock in its Walls.”

Read the full announcement:

Australian actor Cate Blanchett is to be President of the Jury of the Festival de Cannes, the 71st edition of which will be taking place in May 2018.

“I have been to Cannes in many guises over the years; as an actress, producer, in the marketplace, the Gala-sphere and in Competition,” she declared, “but never solely for the sheer pleasure of watching the cornucopia of films this great festival harbours.”

Cate Blanchett follows Pedro Almodóvar, Jury President of the 70th edition, whose jury awarded the Palme d’or to The Square by Swedish director Ruben ?-stlund.

“I am humbled by the privilege and responsibility of presiding over this year’s jury,” she continued. “This festival plays a pivotal role in bringing the world together to celebrate story; that strange and vital endeavour that all peoples share, understand and crave.”

Pierre Lescure, Festival de Cannes President and Thierry Frémaux, General Delegate, said: “We are delighted to welcome such a rare and unique artist whose talent and convictions enrich both screen and stage. Our conversations from this autumn tell us she will be a committed President, a passionate woman and a big-hearted spectator.”

Cate Blanchett is one of those actors for whom performing is a permanent delight, whatever the role she takes to stage or screen. In film, always under the eye of great directors, she switches between independent ventures and lavish productions, and appears in the credits of all notable contemporary English-language cinema: The Lord of the Rings trilogy, by Peter Jackson, Benjamin Button by David Fincher, Babel by Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Life Aquatic by Wes Anderson, The Good German by Steven Soderbergh, Coffee and Cigarettes by Jim Jarmusch. To this non-exhaustive list, we must add Steven Spielberg, Terrence Malick, Sally Potter, Ridley Scott, Woody Allen and Todd Haynes.

When she is not on screen, Blanchett’s commitment to the theatre all over the world is palpable. Alongside her producing partner Andrew Upton, she was CEO and co-Artistic Director of the Sydney Theatre Company from 2008 to 2013 and Blanchett has won awards for her work on stage in New York, Washington, London, Paris (she performed in Jean Genêt’s The Maids alongside Isabelle Huppert, Jury President in 2009) and also in Sydney, of course, where she soared in Liv Ullman’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

In 2012, Blanchett was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister for Culture and also the Centenary Medal for Service to Australian Society, both for her significant contribution to the arts. In 2015, she was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts before she was made a Companion in the Order of Australia in 2017.

Back on the screen, Blanchett won the 2014 Oscar for best actress for her performance in Blue Jasmine by Woody Allen. This award came in addition to the Oscar she was awarded in 2004 for best supporting actress in The Aviator by Martin Scorsese in which she played an unforgettable Katharine Hepburn – it is the first time that an actress has won an Oscar for playing another actress… who also won an Oscar.

Cate Blanchett was also nominated for her performance in Carol by Todd Haynes, a film that she co-produced and which was presented in competition at Cannes in 2015. And not forgetting that in 2008 she also received two Oscar nominations, best actress for Elizabeth the Golden Age by Shekhar Kapur (with whom she collaborated 10 years earlier in Elizabeth) and best supporting actress for I’m Not There by Todd Haynes (for which she won the best actress prize at the Mostra in Venice), making her one of only five actors in the history of the Academy to have been nominated for both categories in the same year.

Recently, Cate Blanchett was seen in the Marvel super-production Thor: Ragnarok and will be appearing in Ocean’s 8, the first chapter in an entirely female saga, produced by Warner and due to be released after Cannes, late spring 2018. In the same year, she will appear in the highly-anticipated film adaptation of Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go Bernadette, directed by Richard Linklater. She can then be seen in The House with a Clock in its Walls, directed by Eli Roth.

Cate Blanchett is also a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, where she focuses on issues of statelessness for refugees around the world.

The Festival de Cannes 2018 will take place from May 8th – 19th and, exceptionally, will open on a Tuesday and end on a Saturday.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Review: Cate Blanchett’s Campy Villainess Steals the Thunder

Cate Blanchett’s Lucille Ball Biopic Lands at Amazon Studios

‘Manifesto’ Review: Cate Blanchett Is Every Woman in Trippy Art Piece

Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett has been named the President of the Jury for the 71st Annual Cannes Film Festival.

The “Carol” and “Thor: Ragnarok” star will be the first female jury president since Jane Campion served in 2014.

Other women to take on the role this century include Oscar nominee Isabelle Huppert and Liv Ullmann. It is the 12th time in festival history a woman has headed the jury. Director, screenwriter and actress Jeanne Moreau served twice, with all others putting in one year each.

“I have been to Cannes in many guises over the years; as an actress, producer, in the marketplace, the Gala-sphere and in Competition,” Blanchett said. “But never solely for the sheer pleasure of watching the cornucopia of films this great festival harbors.”

Festival leaders Pierre Lescure and Thierry Frémaux, General Delegate called Blanchett a “unique artist whose talent and convictions enrich both screen and stage. Our conversations from this autumn tell us she will be a committed President, a passionate woman and a big-hearted spectator.”

Blanchett succeeds 2017 jury president Pedro Almodovar in an already packed year. She’ll release the female heist reboot “Ocean’s 8” in June, then an already-buzzy leading role in Richard Linklater’s “Where’d You Go Bernadette” followed by Eli Roth’s “The House with a Clock in its Walls.”

Read the full announcement:

Australian actor Cate Blanchett is to be President of the Jury of the Festival de Cannes, the 71st edition of which will be taking place in May 2018.

“I have been to Cannes in many guises over the years; as an actress, producer, in the marketplace, the Gala-sphere and in Competition,” she declared, “but never solely for the sheer pleasure of watching the cornucopia of films this great festival harbours.”

Cate Blanchett follows Pedro Almodóvar, Jury President of the 70th edition, whose jury awarded the Palme d’or to The Square by Swedish director Ruben ?-stlund.

“I am humbled by the privilege and responsibility of presiding over this year’s jury,” she continued. “This festival plays a pivotal role in bringing the world together to celebrate story; that strange and vital endeavour that all peoples share, understand and crave.”

Pierre Lescure, Festival de Cannes President and Thierry Frémaux, General Delegate, said: “We are delighted to welcome such a rare and unique artist whose talent and convictions enrich both screen and stage. Our conversations from this autumn tell us she will be a committed President, a passionate woman and a big-hearted spectator.”

Cate Blanchett is one of those actors for whom performing is a permanent delight, whatever the role she takes to stage or screen. In film, always under the eye of great directors, she switches between independent ventures and lavish productions, and appears in the credits of all notable contemporary English-language cinema: The Lord of the Rings trilogy, by Peter Jackson, Benjamin Button by David Fincher, Babel by Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Life Aquatic by Wes Anderson, The Good German by Steven Soderbergh, Coffee and Cigarettes by Jim Jarmusch. To this non-exhaustive list, we must add Steven Spielberg, Terrence Malick, Sally Potter, Ridley Scott, Woody Allen and Todd Haynes.

When she is not on screen, Blanchett’s commitment to the theatre all over the world is palpable. Alongside her producing partner Andrew Upton, she was CEO and co-Artistic Director of the Sydney Theatre Company from 2008 to 2013 and Blanchett has won awards for her work on stage in New York, Washington, London, Paris (she performed in Jean Genêt’s The Maids alongside Isabelle Huppert, Jury President in 2009) and also in Sydney, of course, where she soared in Liv Ullman’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

In 2012, Blanchett was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister for Culture and also the Centenary Medal for Service to Australian Society, both for her significant contribution to the arts. In 2015, she was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts before she was made a Companion in the Order of Australia in 2017.

Back on the screen, Blanchett won the 2014 Oscar for best actress for her performance in Blue Jasmine by Woody Allen. This award came in addition to the Oscar she was awarded in 2004 for best supporting actress in The Aviator by Martin Scorsese in which she played an unforgettable Katharine Hepburn – it is the first time that an actress has won an Oscar for playing another actress… who also won an Oscar.

Cate Blanchett was also nominated for her performance in Carol by Todd Haynes, a film that she co-produced and which was presented in competition at Cannes in 2015. And not forgetting that in 2008 she also received two Oscar nominations, best actress for Elizabeth the Golden Age by Shekhar Kapur (with whom she collaborated 10 years earlier in Elizabeth) and best supporting actress for I’m Not There by Todd Haynes (for which she won the best actress prize at the Mostra in Venice), making her one of only five actors in the history of the Academy to have been nominated for both categories in the same year.

Recently, Cate Blanchett was seen in the Marvel super-production Thor: Ragnarok and will be appearing in Ocean’s 8, the first chapter in an entirely female saga, produced by Warner and due to be released after Cannes, late spring 2018. In the same year, she will appear in the highly-anticipated film adaptation of Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go Bernadette, directed by Richard Linklater. She can then be seen in The House with a Clock in its Walls, directed by Eli Roth.

Cate Blanchett is also a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, where she focuses on issues of statelessness for refugees around the world.

The Festival de Cannes 2018 will take place from May 8th – 19th and, exceptionally, will open on a Tuesday and end on a Saturday.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Thor: Ragnarok' Review: Cate Blanchett's Campy Villainess Steals the Thunder

Cate Blanchett's Lucille Ball Biopic Lands at Amazon Studios

'Manifesto' Review: Cate Blanchett Is Every Woman in Trippy Art Piece

Pedro Almodóvar’s 10 Best Films of 2017, From the Mastery of ‘Phantom Thread’ to the Kubrickian Feel of ‘Sacred Deer’

Exclusive: The great director writes about his 10 favorite films of the year and explains why he’s betting director Sean Baker is “the future.”

Recently, IndieWire reached out to a number of directors to share their lists and thoughts on the best of the year. 42 filmmakers responded, supplying a wide range of interesting insights into the best of 2017, but few were as eloquent and effusive as the great Spanish auteur and noted cinephile Pedro Almodóvar.

In writing about the films he loved this year, Almodóvar not only got at the heart of what makes each film great, he often put the directors’ work in a larger context with historical comparisons that are meant as the highest form of praise. For example, in discussing Yorgos Lanthimos’ direction of “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” he wrote the “weird, unsettling, original, uneasy film” reminded him “of the best of Kubrick” and how “Nicole Kidman shines in her role of mother and wife, in the same abstract tessitura as in ‘Eyes Wide Shut.'”

Read More: 42 Directors Pick Their Favorite Movies of 2017, Including Denis Villeneuve, Guillermo del Toro, and More

He also compared “The Florida Project” to Luis Buñuel’s “The Forgotten Ones” and newcomer Bria Vinaite to rocker-turned-actress Courtney Love, writing that he hoped Vinaite will receive all that Love “deserved as an actress and very unfairly didn’t get to achieve.” But he saved his biggest complement for the film’s director.

“Possibly no other film this year breathes a reality as palpable as this one,” wrote Almodóvar. “Sean Baker is my bet for the future.”

“The Florida Project”

Early this month, Almodóvar told the Spanish film website Otros Cines Europa that Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me by Your Name” was the Best Film of the year, but for IndieWire he supplied his top ten films in no particular order:

Phantom Thread” (Paul Thomas Anderson)
“Call Me By Your Name” (Luca Guadagnino)
“BPM (Beats Per Minute)” (Robin Campillo)
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (Martin McDonagh)
“You Were Never Really Here” (Lynne Ramsay)
“Zama” (Lucrecia Martel)
“A Ghost Story” (David Lowery)
“Colossal” (Nacho Vigalondo)
“The Killing of a Sacred Deer” (Yorgos Lanthimos)
“The Florida Project” (Sean Baker)

Almodóvar’s appreciation of the films in his 800-plus word essay goes behind simple rankings or a list. It’s really worth reading what he wrote about each film. For example, here is what he had to say about Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread”:

“A real feast. Even though the author confesses his fascination for mysterious love stories, there are no clues to follow this masterpiece by P.T. Anderson. Every sequence is a surprise. This film is the portrait of a genius, of his egocentricity and his contempt for everything that isn’t related to his work, and of the wonderfully ordinary woman who manages to tame him. The three protagonists deliver masterly performances. And Jonny Greenwood proves himself as the best composer of the year. If it is true that Daniel Day Lewis says goodbye to acting with this role, he does so brilliantly. He nails this role.”

You can read Almodóvar’s full Top 10 here.

Pedro Almodóvar Names ‘Call Me by Your Name’ the Best Film of 2017: ‘Timothée Chalamet is the Revelation of the Year’

Almodóvar knows a classic cinematic romance when he sees one, and he has nothing but adoration for Luca Guadagnino’s latest.

Pedro Almodóvar has revealed his favorite movie of 2017, and it’s unsurprisingly “Call Me By Your Name.” Naturally one of the great masters of cinematic emotion was going to choose the year’s most sensual cinematic romance as 2017’s best. It’s a match made in movie heaven.

Almodóvar participated in this year’s end-of-the-year poll by Spanish film website Otros Cines Europa. The website asked 65 Spanish filmmakers to name their favorite films of 2017, and responses came in from “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” director J.A. Boyena (“The Lost City of Z”), Xacio Baño (“BPM Beats Per Minute”), and Adrián Orr (“Sieranevada”), among many others.

The “Julieta” filmmaker says he picked Luca Guadagnino’s romance as the year’s best film because of how viscerally it makes beauty out of everything on camera. The director also calls Timothée Chalament the “revelation of the year.” Chalament is currently nominated for Best Actor at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Award, and Critics Choice Award.

“Everything is beautiful, charming, and desirable in this movie: The boys, the girls, the breakfasts, the fruit, the cigarettes, the reservoirs, the bicycles, the open-air dancing, the 80s, the doubts and the devotion of the protagonists, the sincerity of all the characters, the relationship with their parents,” Almodóvar said. “Behold the commitment of the authors André Aciman, James Ivory, and Luca Guadagino with the passion of the senses, the light of Northern Italy, and especially Timothée Chalament, the great revelation of the year.”

Almodóvar was last in theaters in 2016 with the mother-daughter melodrama “Julieta.” “Call Me By Your Name” is now playing in select theaters. Visit the Otros Cines Europa poll for the entire Spanish filmmakers survey.

Pedro Almodóvar On Why He Misses Shooting On Film

The Spanish auteur told IndieWire he is not thrilled with digital cinematography.

Pedro Almodóvar has been making movies for nearly 30 years, and for much of that time, he’s been seen as one of the world’s greatest living filmmakers. In the meantime, he’s also occasionally helped other directors realize their visions, most recently as a producer of Argentina’s Lucrecia Martel on her new period drama “Zama.” IndieWire recently spoke to Almodóvar about “Zama,” which is currently in contention for the foreign language Oscar, but the director also mused on the way the filmmaking process has evolved since he first got into the game.

“I feel as passionate as when I directed my first movie,” he wrote in an email. “To write and to direct a film are still the most important experiences in my life. Everything else has changed though, particularly the way films are shown nowadays, the very many different ways someone can actually see something.”

This isn’t the first time the filmmaker has addressed the subject of exhibition. At the recent 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, Almodóvar served as president of the Cannes jury, where his comments about the value of seeing a movie on the big screen led some to speculate that he wouldn’t consider the Netflix movies in competition. He later clarified that he would, but he remains fixated on the importance of the theatrical experience. “I am an ardent advocate of film screens, the bigger the better, so you can enjoy all the aspects of a film,” he said. “New technologies allow us to create images we couldn’t dream of only a few years ago, and that’s great, but any support indifferent to the film screen diminishes the production values to levels of scarcity, and that’s a contradiction. What’s the use of all the visual findings in ‘Blade Runner 2049’ if you watch it in a tiny screen?”

However, Almodóvar was even more troubled by another big shift in the industry, towards the use of digital cinematography over film. On his last feature, “Julieta,” he expressed dissatisfaction with the outcome (“There were colors on set…that I was never able to convey with digital,” he told the New Yorker when the film was released).

“In Spain, you cannot shoot analog anymore because there are no facilities left that work with negative footage,” Almodóvar said. “Digital film offers marvelous possibilities, but it affects some colors and plays down the depth of the image.”

He’s also concerned about the challenges of finding resources to make movies in today’s market. In discussing his support of filmmakers like Martel, he mused about the success of various directors throughout film history. “I wonder if the European Cinema of the ‘60s would be possible nowadays,” he said. “Godard, Bergman, Antonioni, Passolini, Herzog, Saura or the Brazilian Glauber Rocha. I am afraid that they’d have enormous difficulties to find producers and exhibitors, to reach the audience.” With respect to Martel, he added, “By supporting her, I am supporting arthouse films, I am helping the remaining avid cinephiles to survive such unfavorable times.”

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How Pedro Almódovar Pushed Argentina’s Greatest Filmmaker to Make Her Best Movie Ever

Lucrecia Martel needed Pedro Almódovar and nearly 30 other producers to help finish her sweeping period epic “Zama.” Then she got sick.

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Sixteen years ago, Pedro Almódovar saw Argentine director Lucrecia Martel’s first narrative feature “La Ciénaga,” the story of teenagers in a bourgeois family driven to madness by their boredom. Almódovar immediately called his brother Agustin, with whom he runs a production company. “We absolutely had to contact the director to be part of her next movie,” Almódovar said by email. “It was an epiphany. When you discover an auteur so original, mature and elusive as Lucrecia Martel, you feel as if you’re witnessing a miracle.”

In fact, there are many miraculous aspects to Martel’s career: She developed an aesthetic out of languid poetry, digging into the contradictions of modern Argentine identity with a near-experimental focus on characters who feel out of sync with their surroundings. She became an internationally revered filmmaker with only a few features to her name, and clung to that identity for nine long years, in between her 2008 feature “The Headless Woman” and this year’s “Zama.” Then there’s the not-so-insignificant part where she almost died before she could finish her latest project, and emerged on the other side with her best movie, more confident than ever.

In “Zama,” Martel loosely adapts the 1956 Argentine novel by Antonio di Benedetto about the wandering experiences of Don Diego de Zama (Daniel Gimenéz), an insignificant employee of the Spanish empire. He’s stuck in Paraguay in the late 18th century, and desperate to get out. While eager to serve the crown, he’s grown anxious in the grimy beach settlement where he’s stationed with needy locals and indifferent authorities. When the governor tells Zama his request for transfer has been denied, a llama lazily drifts into the frame, as if to put the desperate man in his place among the animals. Eventually, Zama roams the countryside, a lawless terrain overrun by disease and carefree marauders, trapped by the colonialist forces that brought him there. Dressed in the tarnished fabrics of Spain’s upper classes, a useless sword dangling at his side, he becomes an astonishing figure of society in stasis, at war with itself.

The film wowed audiences at festivals in Venice, Toronto and New York. “Zama” will receive a modest opening in the U.S. by Strand Releasing in 2018, but it found a welcoming audience at in Argentina. The country’s film academy selected it as Argentina’s Oscar submission for the foreign-language category, and while it faces steep competition for the short list, the movie’s lush, haunting atmosphere captivates anyone willing to submit to its spell.

It’s the 50-year-old Martel’s most audacious vision to date — and her grandest scale. Produced for $3.5 million, more than twice the amount of “The Headless Woman,” this mostly outdoor period piece required an extensive international co-financing process that yielded close to 30 producers credited on the production, including the Almódovars, Gael García Bernal, and Danny Glover, whose Louverture Films supports a range of international productions.

Lucrecia Martel and DP Rui Poças Shooting “Zama”

Lucrecia Martel and DP Rui Poças shooting “Zama”

“When we talk about colonialism, there’s always someone there colonizing, all the good they do in recovering and saving the natives,” Glover told me. “This was quite unusual, the impact of the position on the functionary. That’s what Zama is in the system. He’s surviving with this symbolic image that he has power, but he’s as much a victim of the system, because he has no value to them, he’s expendable. He becomes a pawn in the system.”

Martel also benefitted from the fact that her producers simply wanted her to make another movie, and it became a global effort to push the exacting filmmaker to the finish line. “All these producers fought for the film, for the concept of the narrative,” she said. “They didn’t give any advice. Their main goal was for the film to be made. They aren’t trying to make the film as a product to be sold.”

For Joslyn Barnes, who runs with Louverture with Glover, “It was like a family of cinema came together to make this film. Everyone was very collaborative in spirit. She had a really clear idea of what she wanted.”

Martel explained that she designed her film in response to Argentine’s usual canonization of history. “Usually, the past has a kind of solemn, virtuous quality for us,” she said. “Here, the past is closer to us, less altruistic. We have treated indigenous communities with a heavy burden, and devalue the vision of the reality.”

In “Zama,” natives lurk in the background but often overtake the frame, as if reminding Zama that his vain desire for authority can’t fully overtake their lives. “There’s a spark that comes from seeing the indigenous world represented, less destroyed or conquered than it’s usually portrayed,” she said, noting that the movie has been better received than her earlier works. “Even though it’s a hard film,” she said, “it reacquaints us with the continent.”

Martel struggled to complete a series of projects after “The Headless Woman,” including an ambitious sci-fi project that dragged for several years before she moved on. Taking some time off, she read Di Benedetto’s novel while traveling on a river represented in the story and saw its potential to bring back a forgotten past.

Barnes was struck by the specificity of Martel’s plan for the project, which downplayed historical reference points in favor of a dreamlike riff. “What interested me was this idea of making the film that was historical in the context and setting, but also so very modern and contemporary in its concerns,” she said. “She showed us drawings and photographs. She clearly had been inhabiting this space. It was so clear that it was in her blood to make this film.”

Director Lucrecia Martel smokes a cigar as she poses for portraits for the film Zama during the 74th edition of the Venice Film Festival at the Venice Lido, ItalyFilm Festival Zama Portraits, Venice, Italy - 31 Aug 2017

Lucrecia Martel at the Venice International Film Festival

AP/REX/Shutterstock

Martel’s movies have always been about waking up audience’s senses to the world around them, revevaluating it from the inside out. In “The Headless Woman,” the protagonist suffers from a concussion early on, and the movie lingers in her slippery relationship to reality; with “Zama,” the essence stems from the character’s disconnect between his surroundings and his values.

For Almodóvar, the movie “is like a delicate jewel,” he said. “It’s been conceived with its back facing the movies that are being made nowadays, the general taste of the audience. I felt the moral obligation to support her.” He was enamored of the period details, with the elegance of the Spanish crown at odds with the physical discomfort of the region. “You can feel the heat, the insects, the taste of the liquors, the meanness of bureaucracy,” he said. “It’s a smart, atrocious, Kafkaesque tale that delves into the cultures Lucrecia and I belong to… It’s an uneasy film, in the best of senses.”

After completing the first cut of “Zama” last year, Martel faced the biggest hurdle of her life: a cancer diagnosis (she declined to specify which kind). Bedridden and near death more than once, she began to question whether she would finish the project. “When something like this happens and your life is at risk, you think there’s no way for me to continue to do what I want to do,” she said. “But I was happy with what I’d done, and that gave me a reason not to be afraid.” She thought about uploading the raw materials online so anyone could edit their own version of the movie. Then she started to get better from treatment — she has been in remission for over a year — and saw aspects of her experience in the plot. “Zama gets sick, but he keeps going on,” she said. “I think this was very valuable for me.”

“Zama”

When post-production came to a halt, “it was scary for everybody,” Barnes said, “but during all this time, she had been away from the edit, and she was still thinking about the film. When she came back to the edit, she felt like she had cracked the puzzle of the edit, which has so much to do with time.”

The end result is a slow immersion into Zama’s subjectivity, one that no single viewing can possibly reward. Like all of Martel’s work, it’s a puzzle engineered to baffle and mystify viewers while getting under their skin. “I wish it wasn’t so rough for the audience, but there are some ways that can be beneficial,” Martel said. “Anything that causes you move you out of predictability is not comfortable. It’s meant to be disturbing.”

Still, she’s keen on opening up her sensibilities to wider audiences. “My wish in life is to make films where people don’t have to suffer the time or the slowness, to find more pleasurable ways,” she said. “Maybe for my next film.”

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‘Zama’ Trailer: Lucretia Martel’s Latest Is Pedro Almodóvar–Approved Psychological Horror — Watch

The film is set to hit all the big fall festivals.

Argentinian director Lucretia Martel was one of the most exciting filmmakers in the world when she completed “The Headless Woman,” her fascinating 2008 character study about a dazed woman recovering (and not recovering) from a car crash. Then, Martel dropped off the map, reportedly due to a debilitating illness that deprived the film community of a first-rate talent. She apparently recovered, and it’s especially heartening to head into the fall season with a new Martel film in the cards.

Set to premiere in Venice and also play at TIFF and NYFF, “Zama” is a sweeping period piece years in the making. Adapted from Antonio Di Benedetto’s 1956 novel, the movie focuses on Don Diego de Zama (Daniel Gimenez Cacho), a government clerk stuck in Paraguay, estranged from his family and keen on getting transferred to Bueno Aires. With time, he grows increasingly violent and frustrated with his surroundings, lashing out at lower-class servants and clashing with the bureaucratic forces around him. The trailer pitches this conundrum as a blend of psychological horror and dark comedy — the kind of ambitious gamble that Martel is well-positioned to tackle — in addition to gorgeous imagery that brings its complex setting to life.

As TIFF programmer Diana Sanchez points out in program notes for the festival, the movie echoes many of the colonialist themes found in other recent Latin American films, including “Jauja” and “Embrace of the Serpent,” two modern masterpieces from visionary filmmakers. If this first look is any indication, “Zama” has all the makings of a third one (the producing credits for Pedro Almodovar and Danny Glover don’t hurt, either). The film is currently seeking distribution. Watch the trailer below.

Almodovar Cinematographer Jose Luis Alcaine to Be Honored by Locarno Film Festival

ROME – Spanish cinematographer Jose Luis Alcaine, known for his vivid color palette and his work with Pedro Almodovar and other influential directors, will be recognized by the Locarno Film Festival with its Vision Award honoring technical achievements and advancements in film. Besides working on five Almodovar films, including “Women on the Verge of a… Read more »

ROME – Spanish cinematographer Jose Luis Alcaine, known for his vivid color palette and his work with Pedro Almodovar and other influential directors, will be recognized by the Locarno Film Festival with its Vision Award honoring technical achievements and advancements in film. Besides working on five Almodovar films, including “Women on the Verge of a... Read more »

Cannes Film Festival Jury: Almodovar Emotional About ‘120 Beats’, Chastain Shocked By Portrayal Of Women & More

The jury deliberations for the 70th Cannes Film Festival prizes were “devoid of violence,” joked this year’s president, Pedro Almodovar. “We always respected other members of the jury, of course, and everyone tried to convince each other, and other times not, but the results went very smooth, full of enthusiasm and powerful statements.”
Juror Will Smith offered a different explanation. “I was just trying to get Pedro from offering me sexual favors,” quipped the star, who…

The jury deliberations for the 70th Cannes Film Festival prizes were “devoid of violence,” joked this year’s president, Pedro Almodovar. “We always respected other members of the jury, of course, and everyone tried to convince each other, and other times not, but the results went very smooth, full of enthusiasm and powerful statements.” Juror Will Smith offered a different explanation. “I was just trying to get Pedro from offering me sexual favors,” quipped the star, who…

Cannes Film Festival Award Winners Announced (Updating Live)

The competition jury for the 70th anniversary Cannes Film Festival has picked its winners, and the awards ceremony is underway, culminating in the Palme d’Or. In its first surprise of the evening, the jury awarded a tie for screenplay to “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” (co-written by Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou) and Lynne… Read more »

The competition jury for the 70th anniversary Cannes Film Festival has picked its winners, and the awards ceremony is underway, culminating in the Palme d’Or. In its first surprise of the evening, the jury awarded a tie for screenplay to “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” (co-written by Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou) and Lynne... Read more »

Cannes Film Festival 2017 Winners: Sofia Coppola Best Director; Joaquin Phoenix, Diane Kruger Take Acting Honors – Live

Refresh for latest…: To the strains of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run,” Cannes Film Festival jury member Jessica Chastain told local press on her way into the Palais tonight, “We saw beautiful films; it was a difficult choice.” We’ll know shortly what made the cut for the panel led by Pedro Almodovar as the prizes, including the Palme d’Or, are about to be handed out.
Over 12 days, 19 movies screened in Competition in this 70th edition of the venerable event. There has…

Refresh for latest…: To the strains of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run,” Cannes Film Festival jury member Jessica Chastain told local press on her way into the Palais tonight, “We saw beautiful films; it was a difficult choice.” We’ll know shortly what made the cut for the panel led by Pedro Almodovar as the prizes, including the Palme d’Or, are about to be handed out. Over 12 days, 19 movies screened in Competition in this 70th edition of the venerable event. There has…

Cannes: Predicting This Year’s Palme d’Or Winner and Other Awards

In an evenly matched competition, guessing what Pedro Almodovar’s jury will honor is even trickier than usual.

In an evenly matched competition, guessing what Pedro Almodovar's jury will honor is even trickier than usual.

Cannes Winds Down: Who’s Going to Win the Palme d’Or?

As the penultimate day of the 70th Cannes Film Festival comes to a close in the South of France, all 19 of the films in the main competition have screened. The most prestigious prize on the international film-festival circuit, the Palme d’Or, is now in the hands of a nine-member jury headed by director Pedro Almodovar and also including actors Jessica Chastain and Will Smith, directors Maren Ade and Paolo Sorrentino and composer Gabriel Yared.

What will they choose? Occasionally, a clear frontrunner emerges and takes the Palme: “Blue Is the Warmest Color” was the odds-on favorite in 2013, and “Amour” the year before that. More often, a dark horse takes the top prize: Last year, for example, the critical consensus was that “Toni Erdmann” was the festival’s best film, but it didn’t win anything and the Palme went to the far more modest but more serious “I, Daniel Blake.”

And this year is one of the toughest in memory to even hazard a guess. Will Almodovar champion something bold and transgressive like “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” or “Amant Double,” because his own cinema often pushes boundaries? Will Ade lobby for something seriocomic to atone for the snub that her “Toni Erdmann” suffered last year? Will Will Smith take his support of Netflix from the jury press conference to the deliberation room, and push for “Okja” or “The Meyerowitz Stories?”

Also Read: Cannes So Far: Movies Take a Back Seat to Netflix and Security

We’ll know on Sunday evening; until then, we can only guess. Keep in mind that I saw only 12 of the 19 competition films before leaving Cannes; for the others, I’m relying on reports from TheWrap critic Ben Croll and others.

To my mind, the contenders fall into a few categories.

Safe choices
The first competition film to screen this year was Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Loveless,” a gripping but sorrowful portrait of a disintegrating marriage and a missing child; it won raves and topped Screen Daily’s critics’ poll from wire to wire. If this masterful but grim work is too tough to forge a consensus with the jury, or if it screened too early for them to recall it with immediacy, a more uplifting alternative could well be Robin Campillo’s “120 Beats Per Minute,” a touching chronicle of the early days of the AIDS activist group ACT UP in Paris.

Also Read: ‘120 Beats Per Minute’ Cannes Review: Powerful AIDS Drama Could Be Awards Bound

Bolder picks
Many of the most exciting films in the competition are dark and disturbing, and quite likely divisive. There’s the cold precision of Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” the raucous heist-gone-wrong desperation of the Safdie brothers’ “Good Time” and the mood swings of Ruben Ostlund’s funny but unsettling “The Square.” The final competition film to screen, Lynne Ramsay’s twisted film noir riff “You Were Never Really Here,” could also make a play, though many critics felt that its rushed post-production showed.

(It might help Ramsey that French cinema icon Isabelle Huppert called out the festival at its 70th anniversary gala for only giving one female director the Palme in its first 69 years.)

Don’t rule them out
Michael Haneke has won the Palme for his last two films, “The White Ribbon” and “Amour,” so you underestimate this virtuoso filmmaker at your own peril — but his quest to win a third Palme was hurt by the fact that his “Happy End” is an ice-cold provocation that little of the emotional engagement of his previous winners. Sergei Loznitsa’s “A Gentle Creature” is a bold exploration of Russian identity and bureaucracy that could feel particularly timely. And Todd Haynes’ “Wonderstruck” left many critics underwhelmed, but the beautifully mounted time-jumping piece has a big heart that could touch jurors.

Two other very different films could figure in the race somehow, though they might be more likely to end up winning lesser awards than the Palme d’Or. Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled” has its delightfully trashy moments, but it is also a marvelous slow-burn adaptation of a pulpy novel, while Francois Ozon’s “Amant Double” starts with a graphic gynecological exam, gets wilder from there and might be irresistibly appealing to Almodovar.

Also Read: ‘The Beguiled’ Cannes Review: Sofia Coppola, Nicole Kidman Deliver a Southern Gothic Hoot

Too light?
“Reboutable,” a playful Jean-Luc Godard story from “The Artist” director Michel Hazanavicius, was one of the festival’s pleasant surprises, with a light touch that could prove to be more crowd pleasing than awards worthy. And Bong Joon Ho’s “Okja” was a lot of fun, but one suspects the jury is looking for more than fun.

The rest
Then you’ve got Korean director Hong Sangsoo’s “The Day After” (its stylish melancholy makes it a dark horse), Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories” (solid if not among the director’s best), Naomi Kawase’s “Radiance” (touching but slight) and Fatih Akin’s “In the Fade” (a workmanlike drama).

And the two films that seem to have fared worst with Cannes critics are Kornel Mundcruczo’s “Jupiter’s Moon,” a refugee story with clunky sci-fi elements, and Jacques Doillon’s “Rodin,” a dull biopic of the artist.

Also Read: ‘The Meyerowitz Stories’ Cannes Review: Wow, Adam Sandler Might Actually Belong in Cannes

So what’s in store at Sunday’s awards ceremony? “Loveless,” “You Were Never Really Here” and “The Square” for the Palme d’Or, Grand Prize and Jury Prize (essentially, the first, second and third place awards)? Sofia Coppola for best director? Nicole Kidman, who’s in four films at Cannes, including the competition titles “The Beguiled” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” for best actress? Nahuel Biscayart from “120 Beats Per Minute” for best actor?

Almost certainly not – Cannes juries are never that predictable, at least not until Sunday afternoon, when sharp-eyed viewers begin spotting which filmmakers have been summoned to the awards ceremony in the Grand Theatre Lumiere.

Until then, let the guessing games continue.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Based on a True Story’ Cannes Review: Roman Polanski Thriller Is Timid and Unsure

The 13 Tackiest Cannes PR Stunts, From Blake Lively’s Sharks to Sacha Baron Cohen’s Mankini (Photos)

David Lynch Cries During ‘Twin Peaks’ Standing Ovation at Cannes (Video)

As the penultimate day of the 70th Cannes Film Festival comes to a close in the South of France, all 19 of the films in the main competition have screened. The most prestigious prize on the international film-festival circuit, the Palme d’Or, is now in the hands of a nine-member jury headed by director Pedro Almodovar and also including actors Jessica Chastain and Will Smith, directors Maren Ade and Paolo Sorrentino and composer Gabriel Yared.

What will they choose? Occasionally, a clear frontrunner emerges and takes the Palme: “Blue Is the Warmest Color” was the odds-on favorite in 2013, and “Amour” the year before that. More often, a dark horse takes the top prize: Last year, for example, the critical consensus was that “Toni Erdmann” was the festival’s best film, but it didn’t win anything and the Palme went to the far more modest but more serious “I, Daniel Blake.”

And this year is one of the toughest in memory to even hazard a guess. Will Almodovar champion something bold and transgressive like “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” or “Amant Double,” because his own cinema often pushes boundaries? Will Ade lobby for something seriocomic to atone for the snub that her “Toni Erdmann” suffered last year? Will Will Smith take his support of Netflix from the jury press conference to the deliberation room, and push for “Okja” or “The Meyerowitz Stories?”

We’ll know on Sunday evening; until then, we can only guess. Keep in mind that I saw only 12 of the 19 competition films before leaving Cannes; for the others, I’m relying on reports from TheWrap critic Ben Croll and others.

To my mind, the contenders fall into a few categories.

Safe choices
The first competition film to screen this year was Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Loveless,” a gripping but sorrowful portrait of a disintegrating marriage and a missing child; it won raves and topped Screen Daily’s critics’ poll from wire to wire. If this masterful but grim work is too tough to forge a consensus with the jury, or if it screened too early for them to recall it with immediacy, a more uplifting alternative could well be Robin Campillo’s “120 Beats Per Minute,” a touching chronicle of the early days of the AIDS activist group ACT UP in Paris.

Bolder picks
Many of the most exciting films in the competition are dark and disturbing, and quite likely divisive. There’s the cold precision of Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” the raucous heist-gone-wrong desperation of the Safdie brothers’ “Good Time” and the mood swings of Ruben Ostlund’s funny but unsettling “The Square.” The final competition film to screen, Lynne Ramsay’s twisted film noir riff “You Were Never Really Here,” could also make a play, though many critics felt that its rushed post-production showed.

(It might help Ramsey that French cinema icon Isabelle Huppert called out the festival at its 70th anniversary gala for only giving one female director the Palme in its first 69 years.)

Don’t rule them out
Michael Haneke has won the Palme for his last two films, “The White Ribbon” and “Amour,” so you underestimate this virtuoso filmmaker at your own peril — but his quest to win a third Palme was hurt by the fact that his “Happy End” is an ice-cold provocation that little of the emotional engagement of his previous winners. Sergei Loznitsa’s “A Gentle Creature” is a bold exploration of Russian identity and bureaucracy that could feel particularly timely. And Todd Haynes’ “Wonderstruck” left many critics underwhelmed, but the beautifully mounted time-jumping piece has a big heart that could touch jurors.

Two other very different films could figure in the race somehow, though they might be more likely to end up winning lesser awards than the Palme d’Or. Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled” has its delightfully trashy moments, but it is also a marvelous slow-burn adaptation of a pulpy novel, while Francois Ozon’s “Amant Double” starts with a graphic gynecological exam, gets wilder from there and might be irresistibly appealing to Almodovar.

Too light?
“Reboutable,” a playful Jean-Luc Godard story from “The Artist” director Michel Hazanavicius, was one of the festival’s pleasant surprises, with a light touch that could prove to be more crowd pleasing than awards worthy. And Bong Joon Ho’s “Okja” was a lot of fun, but one suspects the jury is looking for more than fun.

The rest
Then you’ve got Korean director Hong Sangsoo’s “The Day After” (its stylish melancholy makes it a dark horse), Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories” (solid if not among the director’s best), Naomi Kawase’s “Radiance” (touching but slight) and Fatih Akin’s “In the Fade” (a workmanlike drama).

And the two films that seem to have fared worst with Cannes critics are Kornel Mundcruczo’s “Jupiter’s Moon,” a refugee story with clunky sci-fi elements, and Jacques Doillon’s “Rodin,” a dull biopic of the artist.

So what’s in store at Sunday’s awards ceremony? “Loveless,” “You Were Never Really Here” and “The Square” for the Palme d’Or, Grand Prize and Jury Prize (essentially, the first, second and third place awards)? Sofia Coppola for best director? Nicole Kidman, who’s in four films at Cannes, including the competition titles “The Beguiled” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” for best actress? Nahuel Biscayart from “120 Beats Per Minute” for best actor?

Almost certainly not – Cannes juries are never that predictable, at least not until Sunday afternoon, when sharp-eyed viewers begin spotting which filmmakers have been summoned to the awards ceremony in the Grand Theatre Lumiere.

Until then, let the guessing games continue.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Based on a True Story' Cannes Review: Roman Polanski Thriller Is Timid and Unsure

The 13 Tackiest Cannes PR Stunts, From Blake Lively's Sharks to Sacha Baron Cohen's Mankini (Photos)

David Lynch Cries During 'Twin Peaks' Standing Ovation at Cannes (Video)

Did Pedro Almodóvar Sign On to Direct a Netflix Series? — Report

The project would be Almodóvar’s first experience directing a television series.

Pedro Almodóvar may have closed a deal to direct a television series for Netflix, Fotogramas reports. The project would be Almodóvar’s first experience directing a television series, though the filmmaker told Fotogramas he has previously been approached by several TV companies about projects for the small screen. No details about the project have been disclosed.

The news comes shortly after a short-lived controversy involving Almodovar and Netflix erupted at the Cannes Film Festival, where Almodovar presided over the jury. At the festival’s opening press conference, parts of a statement Almodovar gave in Spanish were lost in translation, leading some to believe that the filmmaker would not consider the two Netflix films (Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories” and Bong Joon Ho’s “Okja”) for the Palme d’Or because they would not be screening in theaters in France.

“There’s nothing worse than being misunderstood or poorly translated,” Almodovar later told IndieWire’s Anne Thompson. “Not me nor any member in the jury will make any distinction between the two Netflix films and the rest of the films in competition. We’re here to judge artistically the 19 movies that the festival has selected. We have said so before, but I want it to be clear.”

Here’s Pedro Almodovar’s original translated jury statement (hat tip: Eugene Hernandez):

“Digital platforms are a new way of offering paid content, which in principle can be good and enriching. This new way shouldn’t try to suppress the already existing ones, like going to the movies. It shouldn’t alter the habits of spectators. I think this is the debate. The solution is a simple one: the new platforms should assume and accept the existing rules of the game, which involve accepting the current windows to the various exhibition formats, as well as the investment policies that currently govern in Europe. For me it would be a paradox if the winner of the Palme d’Or in Cannes, or any other award, couldn’t be seen in cinemas.”

[via The Film Stage]

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‘Amant Double’ Cannes Review: Festival Gets a Shot of Perverse Adrenaline

There comes a time — say, around Day 9 of a festival — where all the coffee in France can’t help the compounded exhaustion from more than a week of late nights, long days and dark, ponderous films.

And boy has Cannes learned that lesson well! Both of Thursday’s films gave sagging festivalgoers a lurid shot of adrenaline right in the heart. But when it comes to trashy fun, the outer-borough sleaze of the Safdie brothers’ “Good Time,” which screened for the press in the morning, simply cannot compete with the elegant Parisian perversity of Francois Ozon’s “Amant Double,” which did so in the evening.

Without overstating it, “Amant Double” (that’s French for “double lover”) is the silliest, most sordid and least tasteful film playing in the main competition this year — and it’s an absolute gem.

Also Read: ‘The Beguiled’ Cannes Review: Sofia Coppola, Nicole Kidman Deliver a Southern Gothic Hoot

This tawdry erotic thriller finds young Claire (Marine Vacth) falling in love with her shrink, Paul (Jérémie Renier). After moving in with him, she finds out that Paul has a secret identical twin, Louis (Renier, obviously). Louis is also a shrink, and the always-levelheaded Claire does what anybody would do in such a chance situation: She begins a violent affair with one brother while living in contented domesticity with the other, all while trying to keep both relationships a secret. Of course!

Adapted liberally from Joyce Carol Oates’ “Lives of the Twins,” Ozon’s film also owes an awful lot to the work of Paul Verhoeven, Brian de Palma and David Cronenberg, and it knows it. “Amant Double” wears its references on its sleeves, and then takes off the sleeves, blows them up tenfold and parades them up and down the Croisette.

Also Read: ‘Good Time’ Cannes Review: Robert Pattinson Lurches Desperately Through Queens

Like a mission statement for its over-the-top ambitions, the film opens with a sublimely pulpy match-cut, cutting from a gynecologists’ view of a vagina to an ophthalmologists’ view of an eye, and giving both body parts the exact same space in the frame. That got the room of jaded journalists on board from the start, and they cheered in approval as the film got even wilder as it went on (and yes, it goes places). Once over, it received warm and sustained applause.

It any other year, “Amant Double” would not be an awards contender, but I can see jury president Pedro Almodovar finding much to admire here. I still wouldn’t bank on the Palme d’Or, but a lower award wouldn’t be out of the question. That way, people can bank sophisticate points by telling their friends they’re off to see “that French film that won a prize in Cannes” and still get the ribald and salacious thrills “Fifty Shades of Grey” can only dream of delivering.

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‘A Gentle Creature’ Cannes Review: An Ambitious Tale of Russian Corruption

‘The Beguiled’ Cannes Review: Sofia Coppola, Nicole Kidman Deliver a Southern Gothic Hoot

There comes a time — say, around Day 9 of a festival — where all the coffee in France can’t help the compounded exhaustion from more than a week of late nights, long days and dark, ponderous films.

And boy has Cannes learned that lesson well! Both of Thursday’s films gave sagging festivalgoers a lurid shot of adrenaline right in the heart. But when it comes to trashy fun, the outer-borough sleaze of the Safdie brothers’ “Good Time,” which screened for the press in the morning, simply cannot compete with the elegant Parisian perversity of Francois Ozon’s “Amant Double,” which did so in the evening.

Without overstating it, “Amant Double” (that’s French for “double lover”) is the silliest, most sordid and least tasteful film playing in the main competition this year — and it’s an absolute gem.

This tawdry erotic thriller finds young Claire (Marine Vacth) falling in love with her shrink, Paul (Jérémie Renier). After moving in with him, she finds out that Paul has a secret identical twin, Louis (Renier, obviously). Louis is also a shrink, and the always-levelheaded Claire does what anybody would do in such a chance situation: She begins a violent affair with one brother while living in contented domesticity with the other, all while trying to keep both relationships a secret. Of course!

Adapted liberally from Joyce Carol Oates’ “Lives of the Twins,” Ozon’s film also owes an awful lot to the work of Paul Verhoeven, Brian de Palma and David Cronenberg, and it knows it. “Amant Double” wears its references on its sleeves, and then takes off the sleeves, blows them up tenfold and parades them up and down the Croisette.

Like a mission statement for its over-the-top ambitions, the film opens with a sublimely pulpy match-cut, cutting from a gynecologists’ view of a vagina to an ophthalmologists’ view of an eye, and giving both body parts the exact same space in the frame. That got the room of jaded journalists on board from the start, and they cheered in approval as the film got even wilder as it went on (and yes, it goes places). Once over, it received warm and sustained applause.

It any other year, “Amant Double” would not be an awards contender, but I can see jury president Pedro Almodovar finding much to admire here. I still wouldn’t bank on the Palme d’Or, but a lower award wouldn’t be out of the question. That way, people can bank sophisticate points by telling their friends they’re off to see “that French film that won a prize in Cannes” and still get the ribald and salacious thrills “Fifty Shades of Grey” can only dream of delivering.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Good Time' Cannes Review: Robert Pattinson Lurches Desperately Through Queens

'A Gentle Creature' Cannes Review: An Ambitious Tale of Russian Corruption

'The Beguiled' Cannes Review: Sofia Coppola, Nicole Kidman Deliver a Southern Gothic Hoot