Cannes in 60 seconds - 2009

Thursday seems to have been a quiet day in the south of France, an inevitable, hazy hangover after the four-day frenzy that began with Antichrist on Sunday and leading to the star-fueled red carpet screening of Inglourious Basterds on Wednesday night. "And so the late festival drag set in," writes Eric Kohn at The Wrap. "Fatigue from lengthy days in dark rooms and harsh sunlight generally starts to wear down Cannes attendees after a while, especially once the finish line comes into focus."

At a press conference today, Sam Raimi likened his horror flick Drag Me to Hell to "playing with a jazz quartet" (per James Rocchi at AMC News). Questioned about his latest film, The White Ribbon, Michael Haneke told the assembled journalists: "It's the duty of art to ask questions, not to provide answers. And if you want a clearer answer, I'll have to pass" (per Reuters).

Key Screenings. Competition: Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon (strange events in 1913 at a rural school in Germany), Xavier Giannoli's In the Beginning (small-time crook builds a highway). Un Certain Regard: Henitor Dhalia's A Deriva (teen girl's sexual awakening in the 1980s), Ciro Guerra's The Wind Journeys (retired itinerant accordion player takes a trip). Directors' Fortnight: Sebastian Lelio's Navidad (teen couple in crisis meet a teen girl), Denis Cote's Carcasses (eccentric used auto parts collector). Special Screening: My Neighbor, My Killer (Rwanda genocide reconciliations).

After the jump: Distribution deals for the critically-praised, criminally-minded Cannes Competition title A Prophet and environmentally-friendly Sundance closer Earth Days.



Films Sold
. Jacques Audiard's A Prophet has been picked up by Sony Pictures Classics, according to Variety. The drama follows a two-bit hood who rises in the criminal ranks after being imprisoned. Critical praise has been very strong, as collected by David Hudson at IFC's The Daily.

Another deal for a Sundance 2009 title was finalized: Robert Stone's Earth Days will be released by Zeitgeist Films "in New York and Los Angeles in mid-August, with a national rollout early September," indieWIRE says. The documentary examines "the dawn and development of the modern environment movement."