Cannes Snubs Latin America (Once Again)

Thierry Fremaux, artistic director of the Cannes Film Festival

Thierry Fremaux, artistic director of the Cannes Film Festival

Thierry Fremaux, artistic director of the Cannes Film Festival, unveiled this morning at a press conference in Paris the lineup of the 71st edition of the French film festival, which doesn't include any Latin American entries in the official competition.

The only two Latin American titles announced this morning were the Argentinean film El Angel by Luis Ortega included in the Un Certain Regard section, and the Brazilian film The Great Mystic Circus by Carlos Diegues to be included as a special screening. Additionally Brazilian youtubber Joe Penna will screen premiere his directorial debut, the English language thriller Artic in the midnight screenings. 

Among the potential Latin American filmmakers and titles that were left on the road according to numerous sites were Alfonso Cuarón's Roma (reportedly caught in between the Cannes vs. Netflix feud), Carlos Reygadas' Where Life is Born, Pablo Trapero's La Quietud, Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego's Birds of Passage, Jayro Bustamante's Tremors, and Alejandro Landes' Monos. Some of these titles might still be included in Critics' Week or Directors Fortnight, the independent sections of the festival, which have traditionally been more welcoming to Latin American cinema. 

Fremaux mentioned that few additional titles for the official competition will be announced in the next few days. If no Latin American film gets announced in that final batch, the 71st edition will mark the sixth edition since 2000—and the second in a row—with no Latin American Palm d'Or contender.

For the most part, the Cannes Film Festival has had a distant relationship with Latin America. Since the beginning of this new century, in which Latin America has gone through a major renaissance transforming the region into an international epicenter of cinema, the representation in the official competition at the French Rivera has been timid, to put it mildly. 

Below is the complete list of the Latin American films (or co-productions ) that have competed for the Palm d'Or. Productions by 15 filmmakers from Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, have participated in the official competition this century, and 2008 was a record breaking year with four Latin American titles in competition, followed by 2006 with three. 

2000 Estorvo, Ruy Guerra
2001 N/A
2002 N/A
2003 Héctor Babenco, Carandiru 
2004 Walter Salles, The Motorcycle Diaries and Lucrecia Martel, The Holy Girl
2005 Carlos Reygadas, Battle in Heaven
2006 Alejandro González Iñárritu, Babel; Adrián Caetano, Crónica de una fuga, Guillermo del Toro, Pan's Labyrinth
2007 Carlos Reygadas, Silent Light
2008 Lucrecia Martel, The Headless Woman; Pablo Trapero, Leonora; Fernando Meirelles, Blindess; Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas, Linha de Passe.
2009 N/A
2010 Alejandro González Iñarritu, Beautiful
2011 N/A
2012 Carlos Reygadas, Post Tenebras Lux and Walter Salles, On the Road
2013 Amat Escalante, Heli
2014 Damian Szifron, Wild Tales
2015 Michel Franco, Chronic
2016 Kleber Mendonça Filho, Aquarius
2017 N/A

(*) In 2002, Argentine-born director Gaspar Noé participated with Irreversible, and a year later Chilean-born filmmkaer Raúl Ruiz participated with That Day / Ce jour-là, for practical purposes—being both an all French production—they were not considered in the list.