The festival Competition and Un Certain Regard lineups have been announced. Tarantino heads the jury, presiding over a competition that includes the blah (Shrek 2, new Tony Gatlif), the controversial (Michael Moore's Farenheit 9/11), the known quantity (the well-liked Motorcycle Diaries, the not-so-well-liked The Ladykillers), the intriguing (the new Kusturica and Kore-eda), and the assuredly likable (the new Agnes Jaoui).
A few disappointments: I would've liked the new Almodovar, Bad Education, to be in competition. Instead it'll open the festival. And surprisingly, Zhang Yimou's latest martial arts epic is playing out of comp. Fest programmer Fremaux deprived us of the interesting sideshow trying to guess if old school swordsplay junkie QT would dig Zhang's CGI-ladened genre update. (I'm guessing Quentin wouldn't have bitten.)
Another surprise: neither of the Ozu homages by those festival godheads Hou Hsiao-hsien and Abbas Kiarostami made the cut. Not that either stood a chance with this jury.
Then there are the key films. My favorite Korean filmmaker, Hong Sang-soo, has made the competition for the first time with his new film. Unlikely to win any major awards, but it'll be interesting to see if Hong can advance his elliptical, structurally playful style, or if he's one of those Asian filmmakers content to make the same movie over and over.
Olivier Assayas' Clean, about Maggie Cheung fronting a rock band, is a strong prize contender. And I don't see any way that it won't be unbelievably awesome.
And the biggest news is that we won't have to wait until 2007 to see 2046, Wong Kar-wai's "sequel" to In the Mood for Love. It's natural to think that Tarantino will be pushing for Wong, whose Chungking Express QT was instrumental in getting distribution. Tarantino will have a chance to reverse the greatest crime in awards history, when the risible Dancer in the Dark got the Palme d'Or over both In the Mood and Yang's Yi Yi at Cannes 2000. But 2046 still smells like Ashes of Time to me, a film beloved by Wong Wankers and pretty much nobody else. Maybe Wong'll prove me wrong, but as a Wanker, I don't know if that's a good or bad thing.
Update: After reading these (barely comprehensible) IMDb comments and fanboy gushing of this magnitude for Park "JSA" Chan-wook's Oldboy, this appears to have the inside track for the Bigass Palm. It also sounds like a kickass movie.