Sunday, June 26

Cannes takes revenge on the pandemic with a show of muscle

An image from 'The French dispatch', by Wes Anderson.

An image from ‘The French dispatch’, by Wes Anderson.

Cannes has decided to take revenge for the pandemic. After being forced to cancel last year due to the advance of the virus, the most important film festival in the world plans to turn its 74th edition, which will take place between July 6 and 17, into a true show of muscle, through a selection of films that is overwhelming in terms of both quantity and quality. As its leaders announced this Thursday, the competition of the French contest will include no less than 24 films – a record number – and authors of the stature of Nanni Moretti, Sean Penn, Asghar Farhadi, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Jacques Audiard.

To tell the truth, some of the most prominent presences of the selection are not exactly news, since they were either already announced in the course of recent weeks or they were taken for granted after the cancellation of the festival in 2020. The inclusion of Paul Verhoeven in the contest, for example, it was known for a few weeks; her new film, ‘Benedetta’, chronicles the vicissitudes of a lesbian nun in Renaissance Italy. With respect to Wes Anderson, the one from Texas already planned to compete for the Palme d’Or last year with ‘The French Dispatch’, a tribute to journalism inspired by the pages of the weekly ‘The New Yorker’ and starring Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Timothée Chalamet and Owen Wilson, among other interpreters. And a similar case is that of Nanni Moretti, which brings to the contest the film for which he was already invited to participate in Cannes 2020, ‘Tres Pisos’, about a group of families living in a building in a wealthy Tel-Aviv neighborhood.

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Crowned Authors

Moretti is not the only one of the filmmakers present in the competition who already has a Palme d’Or under his belt – he won it in 2001, thanks to ‘The Son’s Room’ -; share that distinction with Thai Apichatpong Weerasethakul, which triumphed on the Croisette in 2010 with ‘Uncle Boonmee Who Remembers His Past Lives’ and which this year will present his debut in English, ‘Memoria’; and with Jacques Audiard, which brings the drama ‘Paris, 13th District’ to the show six years after being crowned here with ‘Dheepan’. Of course, the selection also includes new works by authors who were crowned in other major film competitions, such as ‘A Hero’, by Asghar Farhadi -the Iranian has two Oscars and a Berlinale Golden Bear to his credit-; ‘Ha’Berech’, from the Israeli Nadav Lapid -Golden Bear in 2019 thanks to ‘Synonyms’-; and ‘Tout s’est bien passé’, a drama about euthanasia directed by the prolific Francois Ozon, in his day winner of the Golden Shell of San Sebastián with ‘En la casa’ (2012).

Audiard and Ozon are the visible heads of the huge French presence in the competition; As already announced in April, the festival will open with the screening of the musical ‘Annette’, the latest from Leo Carax, Y Bruno Dumont will compete for the Palme d’Or for the fourth time in his career with ‘France’. And three of the four directors in the contest also play at home: Julia Ducournau, who already left us speechless with ‘Crudo’ (2016) and promises to do it again with his second album, ‘Titane’; Mia Hansen-Love, who on ‘Bergman Island’ delves into supernatural territory, and Catherine Corsini, present in the competition for the second time in his career thanks to his eleventh fiction, ‘La fracture’. The fourth woman who will look for a place in the list of honors is the Hungarian Ildikó Enyedi -Gold Bear in 2017-, which will present ‘The Story of My Life’.

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The Velvet Underground

Finally, American cinema also occupies a prominent place in the selection of aspiring awards. In addition to the aforementioned ‘The French Dispatch’, the new film will be presented in competition as director of Sean Penn, ‘Flag Day’ – the previous one, ‘The Last Face’, was savagely booed at this festival – and the highly anticipated new album by Sean Baker (‘The Florida Project’), portrait of a faded porn star titled ‘Red Socket’. And to the list it is necessary to add two other North American productions that will be presented out of competition but still promise to give a lot to talk about: ‘The Velvet Underground’, the documentary about the mythical New York band by Todd Haynes, and the thriller ‘Stillwater’, directed by Tom McCarthy and starring Matt Damon.

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