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Swiss hopes ride high at Cannes film festival

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Jean-Luc Godard at the Cannes film festival in 2004. Photo: Boris Horvat/AFP
23:15 CEST+02:00
The Cannes Film Festival launched on Wednesday with hopes riding high on Swiss chances of cinema glory, including an entry from veteran cineaste Jean-Luc Godard.

Godard, 83, the most celebrated of Swiss film directors, has entered Adieu au langage (Goodbye to language), his first feature in 3D, which is among 18 films nominated for the festival’s Palme d’Or competition.

A major figure in the “New Wave” movement of French-language film makers in the 1960s, Godard, a resident of Rolle in the canton of Vaud, has had little success at Cannes.

But he is famous for joining another film director by getting up on a stage in the middle of the 1968 festival to announce its early closure in solidarity with workers and students protesting that year across France.

Grace Kelly was hosting that event, a coincidence given that Grace of Monaco, a film starring Nicole Kidman, kicked off this year's festival. 

Two Swiss co-productions are also in competition at Cannes, including Clouds of Sils Maria, a film shot partly in the canton of Graubünden, directed by Frenchman Olivier Assayas and starring Juliette Binoche, among others.

Les Ponts de Sarajevo, a documentary film with contributions by Godard and Ursula Meier (another French-Swiss director), is one of several Swiss productions selected for special screenings at the festival.

The production, which combines 13 brief films, recalls the outbreak of the First World War 100 years ago, according to the Swiss Films website.

The website notes that the short film En août (In August) by Portuguese-Swiss director Jenna Hasse has been selected for the Directors’ Fortnight section of the festival.


Hasse, who studied film history and drama in Lausanne and Geneva, shot the film in the canton of Valais.

The president of this year’s Cannes competition jury is Jane Campion, a New Zealand director and screenwriter who became the first woman to win the Palme d’Or with her film The Piano.

Story continues below…

Check out the trailer for Godard's latest film, which is set for general release on May 21:

See also: Anglo films vie for Palme d'Or

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