Asghar Farhadi’s ‘The Salesman’ joins Competition in Cannes

Asghar Farhadi's 'The Salesman' joins Competition in Cannes

Seven additions made to Official Selection, including Blood Father starring Mel Gibson, the new feature from Starred Up director David Mackenzie and a Joseph Kony documentary.

Iranian director Asghar Farhadi is to compete for the Palme d’Or with his latest feature, The Salesman, following several additions to Cannes Film Festival’s Official Selection.

The addition of the Farsi-language project, which racked up sales for Memento Films International at Berlin in February, takes the total number of films in Competition to 21.

The Salesman revolves around a couple whose relationship turns violent due to societal pressures. Long-time Farhadi collaborators Taraneh Alidoosti, who played the epnymous role in About Elly, and Shahab Hosseini, who appeared in Farhadi’s Golden Bear and Oscar-winning A Separation, co-star as the central couple.

Farhadi was last in Competition at Cannes in 2013 with his previous film, The Past, which won the Ecumenical Jury prize.

Un Certain Regard

Cannes also announced that extremist drama Clash, from Egyptian director Mohamed Diab, would open the section.

Set against the backdrop of violent demonstrations in Cairo that erupted at the end of former president Mohamed Morsi’s reign, Diab explores extremism through an intense drama in which two groups of opposing protestors find themselves in the same police van as fighting rages around them. It is Diab’s second feature after 678. Pyramide International is selling.

A further addition to the strand is Hell Or High Water, from David Mackenzie, the British director of prison drama Starred Up.

The film, starring Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges, was written by Taylor Sheridan, who previously wrote Denis Villeneuve’s Cannes 2015 Competition title Sicario.

The story centres on a divorced father and his ex-con brother who resort to a desperate scheme in order to save their family farm in Texas. The film, formerly titled Comancheria, is sold by Sierra/Affinity with CBS Films handling US release.

Midnight / Special Screenings

Mel Gibson may return to the Croisette to accompany his starring role in Blood Father, which has been added to the Midnight Screening strand.

Directed by Mesrine filmmaker Jean-François Richet, Gibson stars as an ex-con who reunites with his estranged wayward 16-year old daughter to protect her from drug dealers who are trying to kill her.

The festival has also added a hat-trick of titles to its Special Screenings strand. Wrong Elements is Jonathan Littell’s documentary about Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda, while Chouf is a Marseille-set drug cartel drama from Tunisian-born French director Karim Dridi, who won Cannes’ Youth Award back in 1995 with Bye-Bye.

Multiple Cesar Award-nominated actor Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet makes his feature directorial debut with romantic drama Fool Moon (La Foret de Quinconces), in which he also stars.

Cannes Film Festival 2016

In Competition

The Salesman, Asghar Farhadi (Iran)

Un Certain Regard

Clash (Eshtebak), Mohamed Diab (Egypt) opening film
Hell Or High Water, David Mackenzie (UK)

Midnight Screening

Blood Father, Jean-François Richet (France)

Special Screenings

Wrong Elements, Jonathan Littell (US)
Fool Moon (La Foret de Quinconces), Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet (France)
Chouf, Karim Dridi (France / Tunisia)

Arabic films set for Cannes Market Showcase

Wide range of Arabic films set for Cannes Market Showcase

The Cannes Film Market will showcase a wide-range of upcoming titles by directors from the Arab world, including prominent Egyptian auteur Yousry Nasrallah’s bucolic “Brooks, Meadows and Lovely Faces,” about a family of cooks who cater for weddings in the Egyptian countryside.

The Marche du Film is set to host a Dubai Film Market presents selection of works-in-progress and also a Liban Cinema presents selection. Both are screening at the mart on Monday, May 16.

The work-in-progress of Nasrallah’s “Brooks,” his followup to post-Arab Spring drama “After the Battle,” which competed in Cannes in 2012, is in the Dubai section. That section also includes Syrian director Maisa Safadi’s “4 Seasons, 2 Brothers and a Border,” produced by U.S. producer Soloman Goodman’s Railroad Films. Pic is about the impact of the 1967 Arab-Isreali Six-Day War on the life of a Syrian village.

The Lebanese selection includes “Fallen From The Sky,” the feature film debut of Beirut-based documaker Wissam Charaf, who is an alumni of the Sundance Institute’s Rawi Screenwriters Lab in Jordan. It’s about two brothers, one of whom resurfaces after being presumed dead.

This is shaping up to be a pretty good year for Arab movies in Cannes. Egyptian director Mohamed Diab’s hotly anticipated Islamic fundamentalism-themed “Clash” has the honor of opening the fest’s Un Certain Section, marking the first film from turbulent Egypt bowing at Cannes since Nasrallah’s “Battle.”

“Clash” is set entirely inside an overcrowded police truck packed with pro and anti-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators from all social classes after a massive protest following the events of July 3, 2013, as crowds celebrated the ouster of prexy Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood member. Diab is known internationally for bold sex harassment pic “Cairo 678.”

A Complete list of Arab works-in-progress unspooling at the Cannes Market in the Dubai and Lebanon Goes to Cannes Showcases

Dubai Goes to Cannes:

“4 Seasons, 2 Brothers and a Border,” Maisa Safadi
“Fish Killed Twice,” Fawzi Saleh
“Munich: A Palestinian Story,” Nasri Hajjaj
“Brooks, Meadows and Lovely Faces,” Yousry Nasrallah

Lebanon Goes to Cannes

“Beirut Terminus,” Elie Kamal
“Room for a Man,” Anthony Chidiac
“Feminitude,” Soula Saad
“One of These Days,” Nadim Tabet
“Fallen From The Sky,” Wissam Charaf