The Cannes film festival being one of the film industry's biggest & oldest International events attracts a lot of attention. So it's no surprise that in addition to those films competing for an award, there's a separate category for big name or simply interesting films that are shown to an audience for the first time. This category is properly named out of competition.
The out of competition field is always interesting because it often features films that do very well the remainder of the year, even though they're not eligible to win anything. In 2015 Mad Max: Fury Road that won big at the Oscars and Inside Out that won best animated film at the Oscars & Golden Globes, were both part of Cannes 2015 out of competition field. So without further delay, let's take a look at the Cannes 2016 out of competition field that includes films directed by Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen & Jodie Foster.
Steven Spielberg's latest film is a fairy tale about a Big Friendly Giant -- hence the name BFG -- who kidnaps an orphan girl to accompany his loneliness and to help him on a mission. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Roald Dahl, that already had a British animated made-for-TV film made in 1989.
The English actor Mark Rylance plays the BFG, who curiously enough won an Oscar a few months ago for his supporting role in Spielberg's previous Cold War film Bridge of Spies, which was the only major award won by the film that also starred Tom Hanks.
Another interesting tidbit from the BFG is the screenplay adaptation was done by Melissa Mathison -- who unfortunately passed away during the making of the film. Mathison is the same person that worked with Spielberg almost 37 years ago on the fantasy blockbuster E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial which really put Spielberg on the map in terms of blockbusters.
The BFG is expected to hit theaters July 1, 2016. And with Disney's marketing machine behind it, along with the film's star-studded collaborators, expect the BFG to be among this year's most anticipated films.
Woody Allen's Café Society was given the honor to open the 2016 Cannes festival, an honor that had already been bestowed on two other Allen films: Midnight in Paris at the 2011 Cannes festival & Hollywood Ending at the 2002 Cannes festival.
Café Society tells the story of a Jewish family that lives in New York and how one if its younger members James, played by Jesse Eisenberg, decides to go to Los Angeles to be a film agent. The story goes back and forth between the Bronx in 1935 and Hollywood in 1935-40. While in Hollywood he falls in love with Theresa, played by Kristen Stewart, and finds himself swept up in the vibrant café society that defined the age.
While Allen's films don't tend be box-office blockbusters -- specially compared to Spielberg -- Allen's Midnight in Paris film that similarly opened the Cannes festival in 2011 went on to get three Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Director and Screenplay, albeit it only won the Oscar for Best Screenplay.
Money Monster is directed by Jodie Foster and has some big names in its cast that include Julia Roberts & George Clooney. Foster once famous for her acting roles is no stranger to directing, in fact, at the 2011 Cannes festival she premiered The Beaver which was Foster's third feature film as a director.
Money Monsters portrays the story of financial TV personality Lee Gates -- played by George Clooney - who offers up stock advice on his hit show "Money Monster". Following a bad tip from Lee during his show, Kyle Budwell -- played by Jack O'Connell -- loses all of his money and decides to take Lee hostage on the air. Julia Roberts, plays Nancy Fenn who is the director and executive producer of the show "Money Monsters".
Although it's set to be released months ahead of the summer blockbusters -- on May 13, 2016 -- and had an estimated $30 million budget , with Clooney and Roberts heading the action you can't count this one out of contention for next year's Oscars and Golden Globes.
The Nice Guys is a crime action / comedy / buddy cop film that's set in 1970's Los Angeles. It stars private eye Holland March -- played by Ryan Gosling -- and hired enforcer Jackson Healy -- played by Russell Crowe -- as they work together to solve the case of a missing girl (Margaret Qualley) and the seemingly unrelated death of a porn star. During their investigation, they uncover a shocking criminal conspiracy which reaches up to the highest circles of power.
The Nice Guys is directed by Shane Black, who not surprisingly also directed Lethal Weapon in 1987 and has a strikingly similar theme to The Nice Guys, about a pair of misfit LA cops.
While the comedy genre paired with the buddy cop theme is not ripe for major award ceremonies and has been tried many times in films like Tango & Cash, Bad Boys and the Rush Hour. It can't be denied Shane Black created the first of its type that influenced the rest of the genre.
It will definitely be interesting to see if Shane Black, now paired with Ryan Gosling & Russell Crowe, can keep the mojo going in this genre and deliver another box-office blockbuster like the original Lethal Weapon that was No.1 at the box office for three weeks, grossing $120.2 million worldwide in 1987, which was a very respectable figure at the time.
The fifth and final film in the out of competition film at Cannes 2016 is the South Korean film The Wailing directed by Na Hong-jin. The film named Goksung (곡성) in Korea is a mystery / thriller set in a country village in the mountains of South Korea. Soon after a young man arrives at the village, a mysterious sickness starts spreading and the residents suspect the unknown man for making them sick.
Although Korean film is not known for worldwide box-office results or major awards, Goksung's director Na Hong-jin does have extensive experience showcasing Korea's modern cinema to the world. In 2011 his film The Yellow Sea participated in Cannes 2011 Un Certain Regard field.