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An early warning bell has gone off in the film industry around the world, pointing to the most likely films to screen in the world’s most prestigious and respected film festival at Cannes, from May 13 to 24, 1998.
Andrew L. Urban reports on the predictions, with comments on some of the Australian films likely to be selected.

Dance Me To My Song is certainly an ideal film for a major festival premiere, with its shattering depiction of a love triangle where one of the two women vying for the handsome young man suffers from extreme cerebral palsy. The film was co-written by Heather Rose, whose own experiences as a victim of the condition provided some of the material for the film, in which Rose also plays the central character, Julia.

While her presence as the central character makes the film feel like a combination of drama and documentary, co-writer and director Rolf de Heer is adamant that "it is a performance not a recording."

And indeed, it’s quite a performance, matched by Joey Kennedy as the carer who cares as much for her own love life as she does for her client, and John Brumpton as the handsome young man who triggers the love triangle. Rena Owen is terrific in a support role as Rix, a lesbian who becomes a close friend to Julia. For many, this film will be tough to watch: the brutal reality of life in a wheelchair, reliant on others for every basic function of life – even speech – is confronting. Never sentimental, always powerful, the film will have Cannes in a buzz.

Other competition contenders include The Idiots from Lars von Trier, whose Breaking the Waves won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes in 1996; Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing; Hal Hartley’s Henry Fool; Ken Loach’s My Name is Joe; Nanni Moretti’s Aprile; Andre Technie’s Alice and Martin; Todd Haynes’ Velvet Goldmine; John Turturro’s Illuminata; Lodge Kerrigan’s Claire Dolan; and Taiwanese filmmaker Tsai Mingliang’s Hole.

Ingmar Bergman’s, In the Presence of a Clown will attract much interest, the grand master of Swedish cinema bringing his latest feature film; Jeremy Thomas’ All the Little Animals; Robert Duvall’s The Apostle; Iranian filmmaker Samirah Makhmalbaf’s The Apple; John Maybury’s Love is the Devil; Nick Caro’s Memory and Desire; Jean-Pierre Limosin’s Tokyo Eyes; and Jake Kasdan’s Zero Effect.

The cinematic vision that propels Dark City is powerful and cohesive: somewhere deep within Alex Proyas’ mind there exists a fermenting pool of images which are fantastic and splendid, even if they are at times incomprehensible. Its gothic sensibilities – in every sense – make it perfect for a midnight screening. Perhaps Cannes will arrange some atmospheric rain to fall for the audience as it leaves the cinema at 2 am.

"Conceptually intriguing, Proyas’ fluid direction evokes a comic-book feel to this noir sci-fi thriller," says Louise Keller in her upcoming review. "What he manages to do so well, is to create a mood which settles and filters through to the subconscious, until we are immersed in this dark, mysterious world. Much of the action is revealed cinematically with minimal words - the effect being mesmerising."

Other films in this section include Roland Emmerich’s much awaited creature feature, the remake of Godzilla; Martin Brest’s Meet Joe Black; Mike Nichols’ Primary Colors; Carlos Saura’s Tango; John Landis’ Blues Brothers 2000; and the 1958 Orson Welles classic, A Touch of Evil.

This could almost be the Universal Studios section, with only New Line’s Dark City and Sony’s Godzilla as the ‘outsiders’.

There are still two dozen films in limbo, including; Peter Weir’s The Truman Show; Johnathan Demme’s Beloved; John Boorman’s The Generals; Shohei Imamura’s Teacher Kankura; Arturo Ripstein’s Divine; Vincent Gallo’s Buffalo 66; and Emir Kusturica’s Black Cat White Cat.

Three Australian films: Ana Kokkinos’ debut feature, Head On, the adaptation of Loaded by Christos Tsiolkas, promises to be a raw, head on, full on kind of film, and is almost certain to be in this section; John Ruane’s film of Deb Cox’s screenplay, Dead Letter Office is also a possibility; others might include Whit Stilman’s new film, The Last Days of Disco; Korean filmmaker Kwanngmo Lee’s Spring In My Home Town; Tony Bui’s Three Seasons; Meg Richman’s Under Heaven; Rose Troche’s Bedrooms and Hallways; finally Sam Miller’s Among Giants.

May, 1998

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1998 JURY


Martin Scorsese (President)
US, Director

Chiara Mastroianni
France, Actress

Lena Olin
Sweden, Actress

Winona Ryder
US, Actress

Zoe Valdes
Spain, Writer

Sigourney Weaver
US, Actress

Chen Kaige
China, Director

Alain Corneau
France, Director

MC Solaar
France, Singer/songwriter

Michael Winterbottom
UK, Director



Dance Me to My Song


The Apostle


Dark City


Primary Colors


Blues Brothers 2000


Head On


Dead Letter Office


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