Thursday morning the Cannes Film Festival announced its official selection for the 74th edition. After one year hiatus due to the pandemic, the festival is back and it is going to be bigger than ever. With 24 movies in competition for the Palme d’Or, it is the biggest official selection from the past years. Here are a few things to expect from this year’s festival.
Spike Lee is the chair of the jury
Spike lee, is a legendary attendee of the festival, he presented six of his films at Cannes and three were competing for the Palme d’or. It is therefore, natural for him to be invited to be apart of this year’s jury, well, last year’s actually. Lee was supposed to be the chair of the jury for the 73rd edition of the festival before it was cancelled due to… well, you know !
Pierre Lescure said: “Throughout the months of uncertainty we’ve just been through, Spike Lee has never stopped encouraging us. This support is finally coming to fruition and we could not have hoped for a more powerful personality to chart our troubled times”
Spike Lee’s legendary work (She’s Gotta Have It, Do The Right thing, Blackkklansman…) reflects a mix of genres from comedy to drama with a sociological approach, his work is provocative and honest. Violent and soft, engaged and disturbing.
ANNETTE is opening the competition.
“Annette”, starring Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver is going to be a massive cinematic event on the Croisette this year. The movie is opening the historical competition on July 6th. Director Leos Carax whose last film “Holy Motors” was shown at the French film festival in 2012, has a lot of expectations to live up to. His notable music-filled and poetic style has been made popular with Les Amants du Pont Neuf, cult film about love and an ode to Paris.
Annette depicts the story of a provocative stand-up comedian (Adam Driver) and his wife, a world-famous opera singer (Marion Cotillard). Together, their glamorous life takes an unexpected turn when their daughter Annette is born, bringing with her a unique gift.
The movie is highly anticipated as it was set to play at the Cannes Film Festival last year that, alas, didn’t happen. Like Thierry Frémaux, the festival director said “Hopefully, everything is put together for this to be a wonderful party.”
THE FRENCH DISPATCH
Wes Anderson is finally back. The American director known for his films such as “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Moonrise Kingdom” will present his long-delayed The French Dispatch, about a fictional US newspaper office in a fictional city of France.
The French Dispatch was already part of last year’s Official Selection and was due to open in theaters in the summer of 2020 but had its theatrical release pushed several times due to the pandemic. The movie is also Wes Anderson’s 10th feature, for the occasion, he brought together Timothée Chalamet, Bill Murray, Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton (who is starring in TWO movies in competition this year) and Benicio del Toro. It will surely give us a reason to celebrate the return of cinema and maybe a palme d’Or.
Jodie Foster is the recipient of an honorary Palme d’Or.
Jodie Foster, who has won two Oscars for best actress will receive an honorary Palme d’Or this year, attending as a special guest of the opening ceremony on July 6 to pick up her award which recognizes artistic career achievement. Before her, the croisette saw the likes of Jane Fonda, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean-Luc Godard, Agnès Varda, and Alain Delon receive the prestigious award.
She first attended Cannes as a 13-year-old in 1976 for her appearance in Taxi Driver (which won the Palme d’Or). Two of her films, as a director, The Beaver, and Money Monster were screened out of competition at the festival respectively in 2011 and 2016.
Foster said: “I am flattered that Cannes thought of me and I am very honoured to be able to share a few words of wisdom or tell an adventure or two with a new generation of filmmakers”
“Benedetta” is already disturbing.
Another long-awaited movie is in competition, and it’s an erotic lesbian nun romance. Paul Verhoeven returns after ‘Elle’ (which earned Isabelle Hupert a Golden Globe for best actress in 2017) with this already polemical feature. The trailer, upon its release, instantly caused controversy. Some were talking about the non-accurate raw depiction of lesbianism, some were mad that religion was associated with queerness, some were just mad that Virgine Efira had the lead role of a drama story.
“Benedetta” indeed stars Virginie Efira alongside Charlotte Rampling, Daphné Patakia, and Lambert Wilson. The movie is based on a book which itself was based on a true story. In the late 15th century, with plague ravaging the land, Benedetta Carlini who is capable from an early age of performing miracles, joins an Italian convent as a novice. The film will be released on July 9th and promises to mix religion with erotica and surely, controversy.
“A surprise is coming” During the June 3rd conference, Cannes Organisers promised that one last movie is in competition but is kept a surprise. Talks about it being a blockbuster are fusing on social media and maybe attendees will see the -also- long-awaited Dune closing the ceremony. Even if Frémaux said “We won’t be kissing at the top of the red carpet steps” we hope the festival will make us wish we could.
Text by Elias Medini