SOr, after its unprecedented hiatus last year, Cannes is back, like Euro 2020, although this is of course a whole new set of matches. Theoretically selected films from last year were simply allowed on the world’s streaming platforms under the kite branding # Cannes2020. At first glance, the biggest losers this year appear to be the British. The French government has already banned UK citizens from coming to France due to the Indian variant (although exemptions are reportedly being negotiated for UK festival delegates) and there are no competing British directors or films, although British production funds have been earmarked for some and Andrea Arnold’s New Film is screened in the inaugural Cannes Premieres section.
The British pavilion will not be on the Croisette: it will be online. A pretty depressing post-Brexit Cannes from the point of view of those who waver. Those delegates who are allowed to enter will have to take a test every 48 hours, while social distancing rules apply, socialization will be restricted and festival director Thierry Frémaux told us that he would not be kissing directors at the stairs of the Palais, although “There will be dinners!” There will also be some of the great well-known Cannes authors: Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Bruno Dumont, Asghar Farhadi and Jacques Audiard.
In other places, the discussion points are the same. Cannes stands firm on its line on Netflix: If a Netflix movie hasn’t committed to a deal with French cinemas, then it doesn’t get a place in the competition. Cannes is all about the big screen and the actual experience. On the subject of gender, there are only four female directors in the competition’s lineup, indicating that Cannes just isn’t particularly concerned about this in the same way that Anglo-Saxons from, say, Toronto are. But the selection directors are some of the most exciting at this year’s festival. Mia Hansen-Løve comes to the festival with Bergman Island, starring Mia Wasikowska and Tim Roth, the story of two American filmmakers who go to the island, once home to Ingmar Bergman, on a retreat to work on a script, with haunting results. . Ildikó Enyedi is the Hungarian director of the strangely erotic tale On Body and Soul; now he arrives in Cannes with The Story of My Wife, with Léa Seydoux and Louis Garrel, about a ship captain who makes a bet with a friend in a bar that he will marry the first woman he enters.
Probably the biggest ticket, and the movie that most watchers are most excited about, is the musical Annette, starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard, from veteran author and provocative Leos Carax, with music by Ron and Russell Mael, from the Sparks fame. This is the movie that is expected to provide the wow or surprise factor, the kind of thing that Haneke or Von Trier would normally provide. Cannes will be looking for Carax for everyone to argue furiously as they leave the Palais.
Wes Anderson’s long-awaited comedy The French Dispatch is expected to be a hugely popular pick, starring Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, and Timothée Chalamet. It will provide the stellar confectionery that will spike the festival’s blood sugar level, although many have watched the trailer so often that they feel like they’ve already seen the movie.
Thai artist and filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul presents his Memoria, with the now omnipresent muse of fine art cinema Tilda Swinton and Jeanne Balibar, set in 1970s Colombia and openly about colonialism and how collective memory can lead to fear. The great Italian director Nanni Moretti, also a Palme winner for his sublimely sad The Son’s Room, is up for his ensemble drama Three Floors. Sean Baker, whose filmmaking is a classic product of the low-budget digital revolution, has a new film at the festival called Red Rocket, about a decayed male pornstar who returns ingloriously to his Texas hometown.
As for the French, iconic festival veteran Vincent Lindon comes to Cannes on Titane, hailing from Julia Ducournau (who did the cannibal horror Raw) and this promises to be something comparably creepy. Valeria Bruni Tedeschi stars in The Fracture of Catherine Corsini, about two women in the hospital who find themselves in the middle of a terrifying situation.
So this is a beleaguered Cannes, a Cannes that has had to insist on its own existence as it emerged from the Covid lockdown. But even more intriguing for that.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism