Cannes 2008 - the preview: The Oddballs

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The Independent Culture

Sure-fire certs are never the point in Cannes: the real story invariably belongs to rank outsiders. Last year's revelation was hitherto-unknown Cristian Mungiu, who stunned everyone with his 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (yes, the Romanian abortion film). Will this year's surprise be Waltz With Bashir, an Israeli animation about the Sabra and Chatila massacre? Or one of the two Italian entries starring Toni Servillo, the greatest European actor you've never heard of? The latter, Il Divo (not about the popera fops, but politician Giuilo Andreotti) is directed by the wildly eccentric Paolo Sorrentino (The Consequences of Love). Meanwhile, the oddest ball of all in competition is the directing debut from screenwriting's mad genius Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich). His Synecdoche, New York features Philip Seymour Hoffman as a theatre director who builds a life-size reconstruction of New York City. Good, bad or plain mystifying, the film is guaranteed to be the strangest movie ever named after a rhetorical point. Jonathan Romney

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