12 juin 2008

The fate of Cannes 2007 films...

Like Andy Horbal did in his city of Pittsburgh for this year's Cannes line up, I would like to track down the releases in France of all the films in competition last year (award ceremony on 05-27-2007). By looking at last year's batch, we have more distance to appreciate what happens in one year time on the rights acquisition circuit.

It seems the auteurs get their 15 minutes of fame during the festival with a mandatory press coverage. But they are quickly forgotten ever after, unless they are lucky to make a monster tour in the film festivals around the world to garner more acclaims. What concerns me here most especially is the state of distribution of the award winners in Cannes as well as the sidebar selections.

Do artfilms showing up in Cannes get more chances to be acquired on foreign markets?
Personally I don't think we should complain if the films take a long time to see the light of a publicly accessible screen in our country. We have to give time to the distribution market. There are so many films made every year that not everyone is going to get a fast release. The timing of festivals is a world apart, its a semi-private première for professionals and critics. We anticipate a film for a couple of years sometimes, only because we heard about it from festival goers, while we should really just enjoy the moment of its official public release as if it was a first time. This tension is aggravated by the global news network of the web. Wherever a film premières, we can hear about it from afar.

[EDIT: Nonetheless a film is a creation of the present and should be shown to the audience within a reasonable period of time to remain in tune with the contemporary atmosphere (social, political, cultural) we live in! 3 years seems to be a maximum to me, maybe 5 in case the relevance to a time frame is not specific...]

And I don't find it much beneficial for cinema that major Studios today release blockbusters on the same day all around the world. Maybe it's the best counter to piracy they've found, but it kills the local negotiations of exhibition circuits in each country, by not letting them express their preference, their own timing, their understanding of the pulse of their audience. Releases are scheduled by Studios at a pace of "take-the-money-and-run" weekends one after the other, which doesn't leave much room for weaker films to meet their slower audience (anyway I digress).
  • OFFICIAL COMPETITION (22 feature films selected/2 unreleased)
  • UN CERTAIN REGARD (20 feature films selected/5 unreleased)
  • DIRECTOR'S FORTNIGHT (23 feature films selected/6 unreleased)
  • INTERNATIONAL CRITICS WEEK (7 feature films selected/2 unreleased)
There were 72 feature films officially selected at the Official Competition/Un Certain Regard (by Thierry Frémaux from 1615 submissions!), at La Quinzaine (by Olivier Père from a thousand submissions!) and the debuting films of the International Critics Week.

It's been over a year now they made their world première in Cannes. I've been lucky to see 46 of them, at the numerous festival screenings gracing Paris, but the distribution is not as generous in the rest of France for the average movie goer. 15 haven't been picked for distribution in France yet (well two of them are scheduled to come out this September). It might take another couple of years for some and never for others (4 of these haven't even been released in their own country yet).
6 films have only been released in one country, and half of them are French (undeserved/overestimated spot in the line ups, a bit of a French bias there maybe...). If a film is selected at an International Film Festival it is expected to be at least appealing to an audience beyond its own borders and culture, right? We're judging "international films" on equal footing here, regardless for their nation of origin.

Cannes doesn't always give the best films of the year, but it's a good sample of the top tier. Thus it's interesting to know how they fare worldwide on the cinephile markets (if not at the top of the box office). If these don't get distributed, then what chance do stand the artfilms not selected in a major festival?
The numbers of countries releasing these films is taken from the IMDb pages (festival screenings don't count, TV premières or DVD releases do), so might not be entirely accurate or up-to-date, but I'll just use it as a rough indicator.

Expectedly, the "best-sellers" across the most foreign markets are all American submissions : Zodiac, No Country for Old Men, My Blueberry Nights, Death Proof and We Own the Night with over 35 countries reached in one year.
[EDIT: Actually My Blueberry Nights is not an American film like I thought, it's a China-France co-production, so that makes it the most successful non-American film in the Cannes selection, 3rd on the list]
The Palme d'Or winner (4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days) comes next, thankfully, with 32 countries, which isn't bad for a "bleak Romanian movie".
3 French films (awards winners too): Persepolis, Le Scaphandre et le papillon and Paranoid Park also did well (about 30) this year, though made by non-French filmmakers (!). The best French auteur (Breillat) only convinced 8 countries (another league!).

Caramel, a small film from Lebanon (French co-production) meets 20 distributors.
The Jury Prize (at Un Certain Regard), The Band's visit, a modest film from Israel (another French co-production), one of my favourite, was seen in 17 countries.
The Camera d'Or (best debut feature), Jellyfish, also from Israel (also a French co-production) ranks at 9 countries, the Competition Grand Prix (The Mourning Forest, another French co-production) and the Jury Prize (Silent Light, again a French co-production) make 8. The Best Performances winners each don't fare higher. Un Certain Regard Winner (California Dreamin') is at 5.

The others are all in the low single digit, which is disappointing for the influence of the Cannes seal of approval :
Among these gems neglected by the world (the ones I was most impressed by) are PVC-1, Blind Mountain, Solitary Fragments, Yumurta, La Influencia, Ploy, Parpados Azules, El Baño del Papa, Naissance des pieuvres, Aleksandra which deserve a much wider audience, hopefully in the coming years.
Most outrageously for Secret Sunshine which commercial and artistic qualities (more mainstream-friendly than any others in the above list) should earn it a spot near the top (of the cinephile sub-markets)!

Public nationwide release schedule in France for the Cannes 2007 films (57 released out of 72 so far) :

MAY 2007
  • OS : * Zodiac (Fincher) 05-17-2007 (48 countries)
  • OS : * Les Chansons d'amour (Honoré) 05-23-2007 (6 countries)
  • OS : * Le Scaphandre et le papillon (Schnabel) [Best Director] 05-23-2007 (29 countries)
  • DF : Après lui (Morel) 05-23-2007 (4 countries)
  • OS : * Une vieille maîtresse (Breillat) 05-30-2007 (8 countries)
  • OS : * Tehilim (Nadjari) 05-30-2007 (5 countries)
JUNE 2007
  • OS : * Death Proof (Tarantino) 06-06-2007 (35 countries)
  • CR : * The Terror's Advocate (Schroeder) 06-06-2007 (7 countries)
  • CR : Et toi t'es sur qui? / Just About Love (Lola Doillon) 06-13-2007 (2 countries)
  • OS : * Persepolis (Satrapi/Paronnaud) [Jury Prize] 06-27-2007 (31 countries)
  • CR : * Una Novia Errante (Katz) 08-08-2007 (2 countries)
  • CR : * Naissance des pieuvres / Water Lilies (Sciamma) 08-15-2007 (5 countries)
  • DF : Caramel (Labaki) 08-15-2007 (20 countries)
  • OS : * 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days (Mungiu) [Palme d'Or/FIPRESCI] 08-29-2007 (32 countries)
  • SiC : * Jellyfish (Geffen/Keret) [Camera D'Or] 09-05-2007 (9 countries)
  • CR : * My Brother is an only child (Luchetti) 09-12-2007 (15 countries)
  • DF : * La Question humaine (Klotz) 09-12-2007 (3 countries)
  • SiC : * Nos retrouvailles (Oelhoffen) 09-19-2007 (1 country)
  • DF : Un homme perdu (Arbid) 09-19-2007 (2 countries)
  • OS : * Aleksandra (Sokurov) 09-26-2007 (7 countries)
  • DF : Control (Corbijn) [Awards] 09-26-2007 (19 countries)
  • DF : * Tout est pardonné (Hansen-love) 09-26-2007 (1 country)
  • OS : * Secret Sunshine (Lee Chang-dong) [Best Actress] 10-17-2007 (7 countries)
  • DF : Avant que j'oublie (Nolot) 10-17-2007 (1 country)
  • OS : * Paranoid Park (Van Sant) [60th Anniversary Prize] 10-24-2007 (24 countries)
  • OS : * Morning Forest (Kawase) [Grand Prix] 10-31-2007 (8 countries)
  • OS : * The Edge of Heaven (Akin) 11-14-2007 (22 countries)
  • SiC : * Voleurs de chevaux (Wald) 11-14-2007 (3 countries)
  • SiC : * Párpados azules (Contreras) 11-14-2007 (2 countries)
  • OS : * Breath (Kim Ki-duk) 11-21-2007 (14 countries)
  • DF : La France (Bozon) 11-21-2007 (2 countries)
  • CR : * You The Living (Andersson) 11-21-2007 (16 countries)
  • OS : * My Blueberry Nights (Wong Kar Wai) 11-28-2007 (38 countries)
  • OS : We Own the Night (Gray) 11-28-2007 (35 countries)
  • OS : * Silent Light (Reygadas) [Jury Prize] 12-05-2007 (8 countries)
  • CR : Calle Santa Fe (Castillo) 12-05-2007 (2 countries)
  • CR : * The Band's visit (Kolirin) [Regard-Jury Prize] 12-19-2007 (17 countries)
  • CR : * Actrices (Bruni Tedeschi) [Regard-Jury Prize] 12-26-2007 (5 countries)
  • SiC : * XXY (Puenzo) [Critics Week Award] 12-26-2007 (13 countries)
  • CR : * California Dreamin' (Nemescu) [Regard-Grand Prix] 01-02-2008 (5 countries)
  • DF : Garage (Abrahamson) [Award] 01-09-2008 (5 countries)
  • DF : Smiley Face (Araki) 01-16-2008 (2 countries)
  • OS : * No Country for Old Men (Coen) 01-23-2008 (42 countries)
  • CR : * Ye che / Night Train (DIAO Yi Nan) 01-23-2008 (1 country)
  • OS : Promise Me This (Kusturica) 01-30-2008 (7 countries)
  • CR : * The flight of the red balloon (HHH) 01-30-2008 (11 countries)
  • DF : * Elle s'appelle Sabine (Bonnaire) [Award] 01-30-2008 (4 countries)
  • OS : * The Banishment (Zvyagintsev) [Best Actor] 02-06-2008 (8 countries)
  • DF : * O Estado do mundo (omnibus) 02-20-2008 (2 countries)
  • DF : Foster Child (Mendoza) 02-27-2008 (2 countries)
MARCH 2008
  • CR : * El Baño del Papa (Fernandez/Charlone) 03-19-2008 (5 countries)
APRIL 2008
  • DF : * Ploy (Ratanaruang) 04-16-2008 (3 countries)
  • DF : * La Influencia (Aguilera) 04-23-2008 (3 countries)
  • DF : * Yumurta (Kaplanoglu) 04-23-2008 (2 countries)
  • DF : Gegenüber (Bonny) [Award] 04-30-2008 (3 countries)
MAY 2008
  • CR : And Along Came the tourists (Thalheim) 05-14-2008 (4 countries)
JUNE 2008
  • CR : * Solitary Fragments (Rosales) 06-11-2008 (2 countries)
  • DF : Savage Grace (Kalin) ? (13 countries)
  • OS : Import/Export (Seidl) ? (10 countries)
  • CR : * Mister Lonely (Korine) ? (5 countries)
  • OS : The Man from London (Tarr) 09-24-2008 (4 countries)
  • DF : Chop Shop (Bahrani) 09-03-2008 (3 countries)
  • DF : Dai Nipponjin (Matumoto) ? (3 countries)
  • CR : * Blind Mountain (Li Yang) ? (2 countries)
  • CR : Pleasure Factory (Uekrongtham) ? (2 countries)
  • DF : Zoo (Devor) ? (2 countries)
  • CR : * Magnus (Kousaar) ? (1 country)
  • CR : Munyurangabo (Chung) ? (1 countries)
  • DF : * PVC-1 (Stathoulopoulos) ? (0 country)
  • DF : Mutum (Kogut) ? (0 country)
  • SiC : A via láctea (Chamie) ? (0 country)
  • SiC : Funuke, Show Some Love, You Losers ! (Yoshida) ? (0 country)
Day of public nationwide release in France
and followed in brakets by : (indicative number of countries distributing the film as of now, according to IMDb's listing, Festival screenings don't count)

OS : Official Competiton
CR : Un certain regard
DF : Director's Fortnight
SiC : International Critics Week
* : films I've seen

If you want to do the same thing for your country, please leave a link to your listing in the comments below, so we get a more comprehensive idea of how far Cannes shines worldwide.

9 commentaires:

Brian Darr a dit…

I don't have the time to do as detailed a statistical survey as you've done, Harry, but let me list the films that (according to my memory) have played in the San Francsisco area, and mention which were commercial releases and which were festival-only screenings:

Zodiac (Fincher)
Les Chansons d'amour (Honoré) currently in cinemas- should I make the effort to see it?
Le Scaphandre et le papillon (Schnabel)*
Death Proof (Tarantino)*
The Terror's Advocate (Schroeder)
Persepolis (Satrapi/Paronnaud)*
Caramel (Labaki)
4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days (Mungiu)*
Jellyfish (Geffen/Keret)
Aleksandra (Sokurov) still in theatres- I haven't gotten around to it yet
Control (Corbijn)
Paranoid Park (Van Sant)
My Blueberry Nights (Wong Kar Wai)
We Own the Night (Gray)
The Band's visit (Kolirin)
No Country for Old Men (Coen)*
The flight of the red balloon (HHH)*
Mister Lonely (Korine)
Zoo (Devor)

Festival only:
Après lui (Morel)
Une vieille maîtresse (Breillat) supposed to be commercially released this summer
Naissance des pieuvres / Water Lilies (Sciamma)
My Brother is an only child (Luchetti)
Secret Sunshine (Lee Chang-dong)*
Avant que j'oublie (Nolot) festival screening later this month.
Morning Forest (Kawase) festival screening in a city 1-hour drive away
The Edge of Heaven (Akin) supposed to be commercially released this summer
XXY (Puenzo) festival screening later this month
La France (Bozon)
You The Living (Andersson)*
Silent Light (Reygadas)*
California Dreamin' (Nemescu)
Garage (Abrahamson)
Smiley Face (Araki) I'm not 100% sure this even screened at a festival here.
Elle s'appelle Sabine (Bonnaire)
O Estado do mundo (Omnibus)
Foster Child (Mendoza)
Solitary Fragments (Rosales)
Import/Export (Seidl)
The Man from London (Tarr)*
Dai Nipponjin (Matumoto)*
Mutum (Kogut)

Not seen here (yet?)
Tehilim (Nadjari)
Et toi t'es sur qui? / Just About Love (Lola Doillon)
Una Novia Errante (Katz)
La Question humaine (Klotz)
Nos retrouvailles (Oelhoffen) Un homme perdu (Arbid)
Tout est pardonné (Hansen-love)
Voleurs de chevaux (Wald)
Párpados azules (Contreras)*
Breath (Kim Ki-duk Kim)
Calle Santa Fe (Castillo)
Actrices (Bruni Tedeschi)
Promise Me This (Kusturica)
The Banishment (Zvyagintsev)
El Baño del Papa (Fernandez/Charlone)
Ploy (Ratanaruang)
La Influencia (Aguilera)
Yumurta (Kaplanoglu)
Gegenüber (Bonny)
And Along Came the tourists (Thalheim)
Savage Grace (Kalin) to be released commercially later this month
Chop Shop (Bahrani)
Blind Mountain (Li Yang) to be released commercially this summer
Pleasure Factory (Uekrongtham)
Magnus (Kousaar)
Munyurangabo (Chung)
PVC-1 (Stathoulopoulos)
A via láctea (Chamie)
Funuke, Show Some Love, You Losers ! (Yoshida)

*= I've seen it

HarryTuttle a dit…

Thanks for your input Brian. I noticed there are a few examples of films unreleased in France that were released in the USA! And some of the ones that didn't make it to San Fransisco might have gotten a limited release in NYC, as I think I remember seeing them (like Tehilim or Blind Mountain) reviewed in the NYT (though that might have been a paper for Tribeca).

Personally I didn't like Les Chansons d'Amour (not as great as Dans Paris was!) but it's still fun to watch, and it has received quite a large acclaim by the French critics.

Andy a dit…

This is a list following Brian's style (and also made from memory) of what made it to Pittsburgh. I'll be able to be more detailed and exact next year, of course!

Zodiac (Fincher)*
Les Chansons d'amour (Honoré)*
Le Scaphandre et le papillon (Schnabel)
Death Proof (Tarantino)
The Terror's Advocate (Schroeder)
Persepolis (Satrapi/Parannaud)*
Caramel (Labaki)
4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days (Mungiu)*
Control (Corbijn)*
Paranoid Park (Van Sant)*
My Blueberry Nights (Wong Kar Wai)
We Own the Night (Gray)
The Band's Visit (Kolirin)*
No Country for Old Men (Coen)*
Flight of the Red Balloon (HHH)*

Festival only:
The Edge of Heaven (Akin)*
California Dreamin' (Nemescu)*
Ploy (Ratanaruang)
Chop Shop (Bahrani)

Coming soon:
My Brother is an Only Child (Luchetti)
Jellyfish (Geffen/Keret)
Aleksandra (Sokurov)
Smiley Face (Araki)
Mister Lonely (Korine)

Screened publicly on DVD:
Secret Sunshine (Lee chang-dong)
Silent Light (Reygadas)
Her Name is Sabine (Bonnaire)

nitesh a dit…

Things have slightly changed in India since last year, now we have 24 hours World movies channel, where Ploy had its Indian premiere sorts, and NDTV Lumiere will be releasing Foriegn films across the country.


4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days
Ploy- TV(Pen-K)
Zodiac-( David Fincsher)
Persepolis.(Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi)

Film Festivals

The flight of the Red Balloon

Comming Soon: 2008

Edge of Heaven- Faith Akin
Mister Lonely-( Harmony Korine)
The Morning Forest
Jia Zhang Ke’s 24 Cities,(2008)
The class, Delta, Snow, a Christmas Tale(2008)

Screening publicly on DVD( at my place- we hold regular screening)

Silent Light
4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days
My Blueberry Nights
Secret Sunshine
Death Proof.

HarryTuttle a dit…

Thanks for the contributions guys!

I made a mistake about My Blueberry Nights, I was sure it was a Hollywood funded production (with English actors, speaking English, in America...)
I just checked on IMDb and it's in fact a Chinese-French co-production!
So with 38 countries buying it, that makes it the best non-American Cannes film in the top league of "artfilms with mass commercial appeal", and the 3rd highest ranking in the list.

Now to compare with the regular "mainstream commercial" blockbusters, for example the ones screened Off Competition in Cannes :
- Ocean's Thirteen (47 countries)
- A Mighty Heart (27)
- Sicko (30)

I thought the gap would be much bigger actually between successful "festival films" and the average "commercial movies".

Now the top box office winners in 2007:
1)- Pirates of the Caribbean III (59 countries)
2)- Harry Potter V (57)
3)- Spider-Man III (69)
4)- Shrek III (54)
5)- Transformers (59)
That the double of a successful Cannes film.

HarryTuttle a dit…

The Cannes festival taking place in France makes things probably easier to release the films at home quicker.

But I note that Bela Tarr's adaptation of a famous French novelist, filmed in France, with a French co-production still didn't make it to our screens...

Another absurdity is for the new films of Hong Sang-soo, which haven't been released here since 2005. Hopefully, Woman on the beach and Night and Day are scheduled for this summer.

Andy a dit…

I've been meaning to address a mistake I made here: a DVD of Silent Light has *not* been screened in Pittsburgh because, of course, the film is not yet available on DVD. Battle in Heaven was publicly screened on DVD recently and I got mixed up.

HarryTuttle a dit…

Thanks for the correction Andy.

Cannes 2008 Winner "Entre les murs/The Class" has been acquired by Sony for USA distribution and will open the NYFF. (via NYT)

HarryTuttle a dit…

At The Evening Class : "Michael Hawley's second annual 2008 tabulation of deprivation" on the absence of international releases in the Bay Area (San Fransisco).