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"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Ebert chairs indie film panel

Check back for Roger Ebert's dispatches from the 58th Festival de Cannes, May 11 - 22, 2005.

The official Cannes Film Festival web site is here.

I think this is the 15th year I've chaired the panel of independent directors at the Cannes Film Festival. Looking through the album of this year's directors, I'm reminded of some young directors who appeared on the panel early in their careers: Spike Lee, the Coen Brothers, Gregory Nava, Steven Soderbergh, John Singleton, Alexander Payne.

This year's directors were Lodge Kerrigan, Kyle Henry, David Jacobson, Stuart Samuels, Miranda July and Bent Hamer. They're not all Americans; Hamer is Norwegian, and Samuels explained how he obtained dual Canadian citizenship to qualify for filmmaking funds. That's an annual obsession on the panel: How do you find the money to make a movie? I said, as I do every year, that there were people in the audience who would go home and make a movie and be at Cannes in a few years. The simple truth. This year, for example, Payne is chairman of the Camera d'Or jury, which awards the best first film.

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