Parade of stars including Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton, cult filmmakers like Cronenberg: the Cannes Film Festival opens its 75th edition on Tuesday. The gratin of world cinema will flock there with the war in Ukraine as a backdrop.
After an edition under the July sun last year, due to Covid, festival-goers are back in May, and without health restrictions for the first time since the start of the epidemic.
The red carpet awaits its share of stars. Tom Cruise therefore, for the new ‘Top Gun’, Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton at George Miller, Léa Seydoux and Viggo Mortensen at David Cronenberg, or the promising Austin Butler, who will play the ‘King’ in a biopic of Elvis signed Baz Luhrman.
Palme d’honneur for Forest Whitaker
Actor Forest Whitaker, winner of an acting award in 1988 for his portrayal of jazzman Charlie Parker in Clint Eastwood’s ‘Bird’, will also be there for an honorary Palme d’Or.
Actress Virginie Efira (present in ‘Revoir Paris’, out of competition, which addresses the painful memory of the attacks in Paris), will host the opening ceremony on Tuesday evening. Then it’s time for the cinema, with ‘Cut!’, a bloody parody of zombie comedy and an ode to cinema made with a lot of love and bits of string, signed Michel Hazanavicius – the king of Oscar-winning pastiche for ‘The Artist’.
On the competition side, 21 films are in the running to succeed ‘Titane’, the gory and uncompromising Palme d’Or by Frenchwoman Julia Ducournau, the second crowned director in the history of Cannes.
Five directors in competition
When the jury and parallel sections are now tending towards parity, the competition still only offers a limited place to female directors: five are in the running, including Claire Denis who finds Robert Pattinson for ‘Stars at noon’.
Among the filmmakers expected, from 30 to 84 years old: David Cronenberg (‘Crash’), who once again promises to shake the public with ‘The crimes of the future’ or James Gray (‘Ad Astra’) who will present ‘Armageddon Time’ , in the New York of the 80s, on the rise of the Trump family.
Several already crowned directors are in the running: Belgians Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (‘Rosetta’) with ‘Tori and Lokita’, the grittiest of Swedish filmmakers, Ruben Östlund (‘The Square’), with ‘Triangle of Sadness’ , the Japanese Hirokazu Kore-eda (‘A Family Affair’), who this time filmed ‘Broker’ with the South Korean star of ‘Parasite’, Song Kang-ho, and the Romanian Cristian Mungiu (‘4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days’), with his latest film, ‘RMN’.
Beyond the competition, still not open to platforms, fans and film buffs alike should enjoy dozens of highly anticipated works: a new film by George Miller, very far a priori from his ‘Mad Max’ (‘Three thousand years wait for you’ with Idriss Elba and Tilda Swinton), Marco Bellocchio’s return to the years of lead in Italy, the Spanish thriller ace Rodrigo Sorogoyen or the passages to the realization of Lee Jung-jae, star of ‘Squid Game’ and Jesse Eisenberg (‘The social network’).
On the French side, Léa Seydoux, Louis Garrel or Sandrine Kiberlain will climb the steps several times.
This whole program will have the war in Ukraine as a backdrop, inevitably ‘in everyone’s mind’, underlined the delegate general Thierry Frémaux.
Two generations of Ukrainian filmmakers will be present, with the regular Sergei Loznitsa for ‘The Natural History of Destruction’, on the destruction of German cities by the Allies during the Second World War, but also the young Maksim Nakonechnyi for ‘Bachennya Metelyka’ ( In some perspective).
Cannes should welcome for the first time on its steps Kirill Serebrennikov, who has become a symbol of Russian artists breaking with the regime since he was able to join Europe legally after the outbreak of the war.
The director had not been able to leave his country for his previous films in competition, ‘Leto’ and ‘Petrov fever’, but is now free to come and defend ‘Tchaikovsky’s wife’, the first film screened in competition.
A last minute jury
Sign that everything is not yet back to normal on the cinema planet, it was only three weeks before its opening that the Festival finally succeeded in constituting the jury, chaired by the French actor Vincent Lindon, prize of interpretation in 2015 and actor in ‘Titanium’. He takes over from American director Spike Lee.
At his side, the Anglo-American actress and director Rebecca Hall (‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’), the Swedish Noomi Rapace, (‘Millenium’) or the directors Asghar Farhadi, Ladj Ly (‘Les miserables’, jury prize 2019) and Joachim Trier (‘Julie in 12 chapters, best actress award in 2021).
The title of the closing film is not yet known.
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Stars like Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton return to Cannes