Selected by delegate general Edouard Waintrop in his third year at the helm, the Fortnight, a long-running parallel program to the official selection, will also fly the U.S. flag with the world premiere of Frederick Wiseman's documentary "National Gallery," a portrait of the London museum's day-to-day operations, and a special screening of Tobe Hooper's original "Texas Chain Saw Massacre" in a newly restored version.
Sony Classics), "Whiplash" had been widely expected to receive the Un Certain Regard berth typically reserved for Park City's most popular titles, including last year's "Fruitvale Station," 2012′s "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and 2009′s "Precious." In a moderate break with tradition, Chazelle's pic will make its international premiere in the Fortnight, which has proven reliably friendly to American films, genre films and American genre films over the years.
"'Whiplash' is a Hitchockian film. We, as audiences, don't know where the movie is headed but we understand the director does. Chazelle masters both the mise en scene and the script and keeps us in suspense from the beginning to the end," Waintrop told Variety.
The other Sundance entry set to make its offshore bow in the sidebar is "Cold in July," Mickle's thriller starring Michael C. Hall, which will screen in Cannes just a week before its May 23 Stateside release through IFC Films. It'll be the second time Mickle has bounced from Park City to Directors' Fortnight, as he did with his 2013 arthouse cannibal thriller "We Are What We Are."
"'Cold in July' plays with three sub-genres of the cop movie -- it's a crazy and galvanizing movie," said Waintrop.
The sidebar will open with "Girlhood" ("Bande de filles"), French writer-director Celine Sciamma's third feature and her second to premiere at Cannes, after her 2007 Un Certain Regard-preemed debut, "Water Lilies." Sciamma leads a typically strong but not overly dominant Gallic contingent that includes first-timer Thomas Cailley with "Fighters" ("Les Combattants"); Jean-Charles Hue with "Eat Your Bones" ("Mange tes morts"); and Cannes veteran Bruno Dumont ("Camille Claudel, 1915"), whose four-part tube series, "Li'l Quinquin" ("P'tit Quinquin"), will join Wiseman's "National Gallery" in Special Screenings.
"Quinquin," first created as a four-episode series for Franco-German net Arte, runs three hours and twenty minutes. "This film is so different from what Dumont is known for and I think it will create a big surprise and lots of laughter," pointed out Waintrop, who described the movie as "a burlesque cop movie with cows and corpses."
Besides France and U.S., however, the best-represented country in Directors' Fortnight is the U.K. Adding to the sense of a banner year for Brits on the Croisette (with Mike Leigh, Ken Loach and Andrew Hulme in the official selection), the sidebar will unspool John Boorman's long-awaited Korean War-set drama, "Queen and Country"; debutant Daniel Wolfe's "Catch Me Daddy" which Waintrop depicts as "thriller with biblical accents" about the fate of a mixed couple in Bradford; and, in the program's closing-night slot, Matthew Warchus' 1984-set politically-engaged ensembler, "Pride."
Israel, one of the festival's better-represented countries with Keren Yedaya's "Harcheck mi headro" in Un Certain Regard and Nadav Lapid's "The Kindergarten Teacher" in Critics' Week, will have two titles in Directors' Fortnight: "Gett: Le proces de Viviane Amsalem," a courtroom drama from Shlomi and Ronit Elkabetz (who also stars in the film), and "Next to Her," a debut feature from Asaf Korman.
"Next to Her" centers on a woman's relationship with her mentally-ill sister and her lover.
"Gett: Le proces de Viviane Amsalem," meanwhile, is a Kafkaien film - reminscent of Kafka's work -, about the absurdity of a system (since) which still prevails in a modern State: In the (Jewish religion), the Gett (or divorce) can only be given by the husband," said Waintrop. "In this film, we see the characters - a wife who struggles to regain her freedom and her husband -- who are entangled in this system."
"Along with 'Whiplash,' 'Next to Her' is the second Hitchcockian film we have selected. There's a real suspense and a wrongly accused character," said Waintrop.
Elsewhere in the sidebar, the festival's generally slim Asian presence will be bolstered by Nipponese veteran Isao Takahata's animated "The Tale of Princess Kaguya" and South Korean helmer Kim Seong-hun's action-packed thriller "A Hard Day."
Rounding out the selection are Belgian helmer Fabrice Du Welz's "Alleluia"; Argentine director Diego Lerman's "Refugiado"; Australian filmmaker Zak Hilditch's "These Final Hours"; and Canadian director Stephane Lafleur's "Tu dors Nicole."
Since taking the helm of Directors' Fortnight in 2012, Waintrop has achieved a strong track record. Some of his discoveries include Guillaume Gallienne's "Me, Myself and I," Clio Barnard's "The Selfish Giant," Jeremy Saulnier's "Blue Ruin" and Pablo Larrain's "No."
Waintrop said the process of getting films had been particularly difficult this year. "Thierry Fremaux, Charles Tesson) and I wanted many of the same movies; adds that to the fact that films arrived later than usual -- sales agents were weighting their options, looking for the best bid."
The Directors' Fortnight runs May 15-25.