Goodbye to Language – The Marvel – Maidan – The Search – The Homesman – Leviafan – Jimmy's Hall

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The Idea: I can't afford to go to Cannes. Even if I could there'd be no way to get away from my job long enough to do it, and even if that were possible I'd never get press credentials of the level required to see the most prestigious fare. Rather than gripe about it, I decided to use local libraries, prize Chicago-area rental stores like Odd Obsession and Facets, and my ever-growing collection of DVDs to check in on one feature apiece that I've never seen by each of the directors in this year's Main Competition. Alice Rohrwacher has only made one previous full-length film, the impressive and moving Corpo celeste, and the only gap I have in Xavier Dolan's portfolio is his spanking-new Tom at the Farm, which hasn't played Chicago yet and isn't available anywhere for rental or streaming, as far as I know. Otherwise, here are my reactions to 16 pit stops in my make-it-work Cannes Staycation Festival. All new to me!

How To Have a 2014 Cannes Festival Staycation:
Listed alphabetically; more on this year's actual lineup here (opens in a new window)
Competing This YearDirectorUnseen Film From Prior Body of Work
CaptivesAtom Egoyan
Clouds of Sils MariaOlivier Assayas
FoxcatcherBennett Miller
Goodbye to LanguageJean-Luc Godard
The HomesmanTommy Lee JonesThe Sunset Limited, 2011
Jimmy's HallKen Loach
LeviafanAndrei ZvyagintsevThe Banishment, 2007
Maps to the StarsDavid Cronenberg
The MarvelAlice Rohrwacher
MommyXavier Dolan
Mr. TurnerMike Leigh
Saint LaurentBertrand Bonello
The SearchMichel Hazanavicius
Still the WaterNaomi Kawase
TimbuktuAbderrahmane Sissako
Two Days, One NightJean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Wild TalesDamián SzifronThe Bottom of the Sea, 2003
Winter SleepNuri Bilge Ceylan

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