Friday, May 22, 2009

The Virtual Cannes Film Festival: Out of Competition

(All synopses from the official Cannes site.)

Agora (Alejandro Amenabar)

IV century… Egypt under the Roman Empire… Violent religious upheaval in the streets of Alexandria spills over into the city’s legendary Library. Trapped within its walls, the brilliant astronomer, Hypatia, fights, with the help of her disciples, to save the wisdom of the Ancient World… Among those disciples, the two men who are fighting for her heart: the witty, privileged Orestes and Davus, Hypatia’s young slave who is torn between his secret love for her and the freedom he knows can be his if he chooses to join the unstoppable surge of the Christians.

Drag Me To Hell (Sam Raimi)

Director Sam Raimi returns to the horror genre with Drag Me To Hell, an original tale of a young woman’s desperate quest to escape an evil curse. Christine Brown is an ambitious L.A. loan officer with a charming boyfriend, professor Clay Dalton. Life is good until the mysterious Mrs. Ganush arrives at the bank to beg for an extension on her home loan. Should Christine follow her instincts and give the old woman a break? Or should she deny the extension to impress her boss, Mr. Jacks, and get a leg-up on a promotion? Christine chooses the later, dispossessing Mrs. Ganush of her home. In retaliation, the old woman places the curse of the Lamia upon Christine, transforming her life into a living nightmare. Haunted by an evil spirit and misunderstood by a skeptical boyfriend, she seeks the aid of seer Rham Jas to save her soul from eternal damnation. To help the shattered Christine, the psychic sets her on a frantic course to reverse the spell. As evil forces close in, Christine must face the unthinkable: how far will she go to break free of the curse?

The Army of Crime (L’Armée du crime) (Robert Guédiguian)

Paris, 1941. The poet Missak Manouchian leads a mixed bag of youngsters and émigrés in a clandestine battle against the Nazi occupation. Twenty-two men and one woman fighting for an ideal and for freedom. News of their daring attacks, including the assassination of an SS General, eventually reaches Berlin. Under the orders of the Gestapo, French police and collaborators hound Manouchian and his Résistants until, to escape torture, one of their associates denounces the whole group. After a show trial, the twenty-three heroes are brought to face a firing squad...

Don't Look Back (Ne te retourne pas) (Marina de Van)

Jeanne (Sophie Marceau) - a writer, married, with two children - starts to see unsettling changes in her home. Her body is beginning to change. No one around her seems to notice. Her family dismisses these fears as the result of the stress of having to finish her next book, but Jeanne realizes that something far deeper, far more disturbing is taking place. A photograph at her mother’s house sends her in search of a woman in Italy. Here, transformed into another woman (Monica Belluci), Jeanne will discover the strange secret of her true identity.

A Town Called Panic (Panique au village) (Vincent Patar and Stéphane Aubier)

Animated plastic toys like Cowboy, Indian and Horse have problems, too. Cowboy and Indian's plan to surprise Horse with a homemade birthday giftbackfires when they destroy his house instead. Surreal adventures take over as the trio travel to the center of the earth, trek across frozen tundra and discover a parallel underwater universe where pointy-headed (and dishonest!) creatures live. Each speedy character is voiced -- and animated -- as if their very air contains both amphetamines and laughing gas. With panic a permanent feature of life in this papier mâché town, will Horse and his girlfriend ever be alone?

Up (Pete Docter)

From Disney•Pixar comes UP, a comedy adventure about 78-year-old balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen, who finally fulfills his lifelong dream of a great adventure when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of South America. But he discovers all too late that his biggest nightmare has stowed away on the trip: an overly optimistic 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer named Russell. From the Academy Award®-nominated director Pete Docter (“Monsters, Inc.”), Disney•Pixar’s UP invites you on a hilarious journey into a lost world, with the least likely duo on Earth.

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