This year, Emir Kusturica, Serbian filmmaker and two-time Festival winner with When Father Was Away on Business (1985) and Underground (1995), serves as the president for the Un Certain Regard prize.
Joined by artists, journalists and festival directors, Kusturica presides over the jury that will award the Regard accolade at the end of the festival.
US director Gus Van Sant will open Un Certain Regard with his film, Restless, a story about two young people who meet at a funeral and find out they have a lot in common. Known for his dark comedies such as To Die For and Drugstore Cowboy as well as his hyper-realistic take on American life, including Elephant, a fictional account of a Columbine-like high school massacre that swept Cannes in 2003, as Van Sant grabbed Best Director, the Palme d’Or, and the Cinema Prize of the French National Education System.
Nineteen other movies make up the selection, ranging from Skoonheid, directed by Olivier Hermanus, Cannes first Afrikkans-language entry in Festival history, to Hard Labor, directed by Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra, about a woman trying to open a small grocery but finds her life, her family, and even her building—falling apart. This is their first film.
A late, and controversial, entry in Regard this year is Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof’s Be Omid e Didar (Goodbye). The feature film depicts a young lawyer in Tehran who tries to get a visa to leave the country. Rasoulof tried the same thing during the winter of 2010-2011. He, along with documentary filmmaker Jafar Panahi, was sentenced to six years in prison and barred from making movies for 20 years. Both are out on bail but are banned from leaving the country.
Hard Labor as well as Andreas Dresen’s Halt Auf Freier Strecke and Martha Marcy May Marlene directed by Sean Durkin are also first films for the directors.