Not all the big name directors are only to be found among the one hundred or so invited films to Cannes. There are some heavy-weights with recent films among the more than thousand films in the market as well--John Sayles, David Lynch, Jean-Luc Godard, David Gordon Green, Paul Schraeder and Peter Greenaway. There are also market offerings featuring A-list actors and many actors that are on the downslide. But most exciting for me are five films about bicycling, the most in my ten years of attending Cannes.
The first screens tomorrow first thing in the morning, an English film that was in production during last year's festival and already had posters up promoting it featuring a crazed cyclist and the title "May I Kill U?," and the tag line, "A psychopath on the cycle path."
The next comes two days later, a German film, "The Famous Five." The five are a group of teens who go off on a bicycle tour. It has two screenings, unlike the psychopath film, which only screens once, like two of the other cycling films.
I will only have one chance to see "Allez Eddy!" a day later. This is a Belgian film about an enthusiastic eleven-year old cyclist. It is in the spirit of another Belgian feature from last year that paid homage to cycling deity Eddie Merckx.
Later that day I will have another cycling film, "Girl on a Bicycle," from Germany. It takes place in Paris, by far the most popular city in the films of the festival. I could see two or three a day if I made that my focus. A girl on a bike captures the attention of an Italian bus driver who is engaged to a German.
The best of the five may be "Tour de Force," the story of a forty-year old who dreams of riding in The Tour de France. I'll have to use my most persuasive powers to see it, as the program states it is only available to buyers. Press in particular are excluded. But I will have three chances to try, all in larger market theaters.
A strong theme of films in the market is the search for someone who has gone missing or a biological parent. There are also a few films about soldiers recovering from Afghanistan. There are at least five films about astronauts, the first on Day One with Christian Slater. One of the astronaut films is from Hungary. There are three films about being adrift at sea. "All is Lost" stars Robert Redford and plays out of competition, but not in the market, as are the other two. Patagonia is the subject of a few films, including a mountaineering documentary.
As always there is a wide array of documentaries. There are a couple on Inuits and two on Haiti, one by Haitian Raul Peck called "Fatal Assistance," questioning the aid process. Two recent phenomenoms, Linsanity and Pussy Riot are also the subject of documentaries. One that I have no interest in seeing is "On Tender Hooks," about the practice of piercing the body with meat hooks and suspending one's self.
There are plenty of horror films I will avoid as well, many described as people experiencing the most terrifying night of their life's. "Nothing is what it seems" is a common description of horror and non-horror films alike.
This year's Michael Madsen is Eric Roberts, with four films in the market. It may be the first time since "Reservoir Dogs" that their isn't a film with Madsen. John Cusack is in two quirky films, "Adult World" and "Grand Piano," playing a reclusive writer in one. Gerard Depardieu is also a rare absentee, though his female counterpart Catherine Deneuve turns up a couple times, one in the revival of "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."
I will certainly have my work cut out for me to see all that I'd like to see. There are no shortage of screenings. There are 76 on day one, a whole festival worth for most festivals, but the least of any day of the festival until it winds down.
The crowds are gathering. Quite a few people already have their ladders and chairs staked out in front of the Palais where the limos drop the celebs off for their walk up the red carpet.