Terry Gilliam's Don Quixote film to receive premiere at Cannes after two-decade wait

Long-gestating Man Who Killed Don Quixote confirmed as the festival’s closing film, while Lars Von Trier makes his Cannes return after seven years away

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Terry Gilliam’s long-awaited The Man Who Killed Don Quixote will receive a world premiere at the Cannes film festival, as the event’s closing film, it has been announced. This is in addition to confirmation of Lars von Trier’s return to the festival after a seven-year ban.

The screening of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote comes despite an ongoing court case, arising from a dispute between Gilliam and the film’s former producer Paulo Branco. However, the film-makers recently issued a statement denying that Branco had the power to block the film’s release.

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Gilliam started work on the film over two decades ago, though a previous attempt to film it (with Johnny Depp in the lead role) in 2000 was abandoned after Depp’s co-star Jean Rochefort became ill. The completed film now stars Adam Driver and Jonathan Pryce, and will be released in France on the same day it screens at Cannes.

The inclusion of Von Trier’s The House That Jack Built had been all but confirmed by the festival’s artistic director, Thierry Frémaux, in a radio interview on Tuesday, but the former Palme d’Or winner’s new film will not be eligible for the top prize, since it is in the out of competition section. A serial-killer drama set over 12 years, The House That Jack Built stars Matt Dillon, Riley Keough and Bruno Ganz. Frémaux and festival president Pierre Lescure had to convince the festival board to readmit Von Trier, when the director was voted “persona non grata” after making Nazi-related jokes at the 2011 edition. Allegations of sexual harassment against von Trier by Bjork, star of Dancer in the Dark, do not appear to have swayed opinion against him.

Two other big-name auteurs are also late additions to the festival line-up. Nuri Bilge Ceylan, the Turkish winner of the Palme d’Or in 2014 with Winter’s Sleep, has been selected for competition with The Wild Pear Tree, about a writer who returns to her father’s village in rural Turkey; Sergei Loznitsa, the Ukrainian director of In the Fog and A Gentle Creature, will open the un certain regard section with Donbass, a new drama about the recent Russian-Ukraine conflict in the region.

Cannes has also found room for Ayka, the first film in a decade from Kazakh director Sergey Dvortsevoy (best known for steppe drama Tulpan); Whitney, a new documentary about Whitney Houston by Touching the Void director Kevin Macdonald; the new HBO adaptation of dystopian sci-fi parable Fahrenheit 451 starring Sofia Boutella and Michael B Jordan; and Knife + Heart, directed by Yann Gonzalez, in which Vanessa Paradis plays a gay-porn producer.

Meanwhile, the festival selections have triggered some political rows: Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov, who has been under house arrest since August 2017 on embezzlement charges, has had his detention period extended until July 2018 in the wake of the inclusion of his new film Leto in the competition line-up, while Taiwan has protested at the festival’s official description of jury member Chang Chen as “Chinese” and demanded it be corrected.

Contributor

Andrew Pulver

The GuardianTramp

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