Cannes 2021: Documentary Overview

Festival:
The 74th Cannes Film Festival

Dates:
July 6-17

About:
After postponing and then cancelling its 2020 edition, the most influential cinema event in the world returns with a robust slate of nearly 100 new features, counting two dozen docs among that number – although none in either Competition or Un Certain Regard. Its parallel sidebars, meanwhile, offer just three nonfiction works among their combined 37 slots.

Among the offerings:

Out of Competition:

The Velvet Underground
Director: Todd Haynes
An exploration of how The Velvet Underground became a cultural touchstone representing a range of contradictions.

Cannes Premiere:

COW
Director: Andrea Arnold
A close-up portrait of the daily lives of two cows.

JANE BY CHARLOTTE
Director: Charlotte Gainsbourg
The filmmaker makes a portrait of her famed mother Jane Birkin.

JFK REVISITED: THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
Director: Oliver Stone
Thirty years after JFK, filmmaker Oliver Stone examines recently declassified evidence in the assassination of President Kennedy.

VAL
Director: Ting Poo, Leo Scott
A portrait of Val Kilmer, constructed from more than 40 years of the actor’s self-documentation.

Special Screenings:

ABOVE WATER
Director: Aïssa Maïga
12-year-old Houlaye lives in Tatiste, Niger, and travels several kilometers every day to fetch water, but now her village will construct a well.

BABI YAR. CONTEXT
Director: Sergei Loznitsa
A reconstruction of the massacre of more than 30,000 Jews by Nazi troops and Ukrainian police in September 1941.

H6
Director: Yé Yé
Intersecting stories at No 6 People’s Hospital, one of the largest in Shanghai, create a portrait of today’s China, drawn between capitalism and traditional culture.

INVISIBLE DEMONS
Director: Rahul Jain
In Delhi, a sprawling megacity where the dangers of climate change are present, not future, the filmmaker shows a world on the brink.

MARINER OF THE MOUNTAINS
Director: Karim Aïnouz
In January 2019, the filmmaker decides to take a boat, cross the Mediterranean, and embark on his first journey to Algeria.

THE VELVET QUEEN
Director: Marie Amiguet
In the heart of the Tibetan highlands, photographer Vincent Munier brings writer Sylvain Tesson on his quest to find the snow leopard.

Cannes Classics:

FLICKERING GHOSTS OF LOVES GONE BY
Director: André Bonzel
Through the amateur and anonymous films he has collected since childhood, a filmmaker takes a look back over his turbulent life.

OSCAR MICHEAUX: THE SUPERHERO OF BLACK FILMMAKING
Director: Francesco Zippel
An exploration of the life and work of the pioneering but long-unheralded Black filmmaker. 

Directors’ Fortnight:

FUTURA
Director: Pietro Marcello, Francesco Munzi, Alice Rohrwacher
A collective exploration of what youth think about the future, through a series of interviews filmed during a long journey across Italy.

A NIGHT OF KNOWING NOTHING
Director: Payal Kapadia
A university student in India writes letters to her estranged lover while he is away, merging reality with fiction, dreams, memories, fantasies and anxieties to provide a glimpse into the drastic changes taking place around her.

RETURNING TO REIMS (FRAGMENTS)
Director: Jean-Gabriel Périot
An intimate and political story of the French working class from the beginning of the 1950s to today.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Overviews, Recommendations

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