This year’s Cannes Film Festival was greeted with consternation when a commonality was noticed across many of the festival’s in-competition selections: the Killer language, English.
Though there are only two American filmmakers in competition for Cannes’ Palme d’Or and no British directors, this year’s festival is littered with Europe’s elite filmmakers working in a language not their own. On a continent that has warily watched English become a kind of de facto common language, fears flared that contemporary European cinema was being lost in translation.
The Guardian said that an “Anglophone virus” was rampaging.
Italy’s Paolo Sorrentino will on Wednesday premiere his second English language film, “Youth,” with Michael Cain and Harvey Keitel. Four other notable names in international film – Norway’s Joachim Trier, Italy’s Matteo Garrone, Greece’s Yorgos Lanthimos and Mexico’s Michel Franco – are all making their English language debuts. And Quebecois filmmaker Denis Villenueve, an Oscar-nominee for his French language “Incendies,” premiered his English language drug war thriller “Sicario” on Tuesday.
As the festival has unspooled, many directors have defended their decision to switch languages
Directors are eyeing the American market and big money, say some:
“If you want to go to the American market maybe you need to have a film in English, but I still think all the great directors make films in their own languages,” said festival director Thierry Fremaux, who said English functions like “the new Esperanto.” ”I’m not sure if it’s a trend. We’ll see.”