Cannes puts its sunny side up

Penn, Audiard, Carax, Arnold, Verhoeven in line-up

by Richard Mowe

At long last: Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch finally to receive Cannes world premiere
At long last: Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch finally to receive Cannes world premiere Photo: Festival de Cannes

The Cannes Film Festival is back in action with buoyant 24 titles in the official selection, among them Sean Penn’s Flag Day and Sean Baker’s Red Rocket from the US, as well as Cow, the new feature from the UK’s Andrea Arnold in the new section Cannes Première. She leads a healthy balance of female directors.

Striking anupbeat note for the festival at its temporary new dates from 6 to 17 July (following last year’s hastily arrange online presence as a result of Covid restrictions) was Festival director Thierry Frémaux, alongside the event’s president Pierre Lescure.

Masks off in Paris: revealing all (well, almost) about this year’s Cannes Film Festival: organisers Thierry Fremaux and Pierre Lescure
Masks off in Paris: revealing all (well, almost) about this year’s Cannes Film Festival: organisers Thierry Fremaux and Pierre Lescure Photo: Richard Mowe

Dispensing with his mask with a flourish at the media gathering in Paris today at the UGC Normandy Cinema on the Champs Elysées, Frémaux declared Cinema is not dead,” pointing to the way the public has responded to the reopening of cinemas especially in France but also elsewhere around the world.

The selectors had a record 2,300 titles from which to choose, representing a backlog over the last 18 months. Despite lockdowns film-makers had managed to keep working - and in many cases the restrictions seem to have honed their creativity, observed Frémaux.

The new Cannes Premiere section is designed to give returning directors a platform to screen new work outside of the Competition with screenings guaranteed in the prestigious Debussy Theatre.

Frémaux praised the loyalty of film-makers who had kept their films back for the chance of screening at Cannes in 2021. These titles include Paul Verhoeven’s much anticipated Benedetta and Leos Carax’s first film in English, Annette, with Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver. And finally after a year’s delay Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch will receive its world première on the Croisette.

Familiar faces abound, among them such Cannes fixtures as Nanni Moretti, back with his latest, Tre Piani; François Ozon, with Tout S’est Bien Passé; and Iranian director Asghar Farhadi with A Hero. Another Cannes veteran, Jacques Audiard, offers Paris 13th District.

Cannes film festival director Thierry Fremaux in full flood at the Paris press conference for this year’s Cannes Film Festival
Cannes film festival director Thierry Fremaux in full flood at the Paris press conference for this year’s Cannes Film Festival Photo: Richard Mowe

Other titles in the impressively varied line-up include Julia Ducournau’s Titane, Kirill Serebrennikov’s Petrov’s Flu, Casablanca Beats by Nabil Ayouch, Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person In The World, La Fracture by Catherine Corsini, Joachim Lafosse’s The Restless, and Lingui from Dry Season director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun.

Frémaux assures he is keeping a few surprises up his sleeve including the closing film.

The sun may be shining for Frémaux’s Cannes but the dark clouds of Covid still remain with arrivals from many countries, including the UK, in doubt due to restrictions in France which may or may not be lifted in time.

Sanitary precautions will include testing stations for Festival-goers which Frémaux hopes won’t spoil the atmosphere for the crowds, who will include French holidaymakers.

Cannes films announced to date:-

Official Competition

  • Ahed’s Knee (Nadav Lapid)
  • Annette (Leos Carax) - opening film
  • Benedetta (Paul Verhoeven)
  • Bergman Island (Mia Hansen-Løve)
  • Flag Day (Sean Penn)
  • France (Bruno Dumont)
  • Casablanca Beats (Nabil Ayouch)
  • Compartment No 6 (Juho Kuosmanen)
  • Drive My Car (Ryûsuke Hamaguchi)
  • Everything Went Fine (François Ozon)
  • La Fracture (Catherine Corsini)
  • The French Dispatch (Wes Anderson)
  • A Hero (Asghar Farhadi)
  • Lingui (Mahamat-Saleh Haroun)
  • Memoria (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
  • Nitram (Justin Kurzel)
  • Paris 13th District (Jacques Audiard)
  • Petrov’s Flu (Kirill Serebrennikov)
  • The Story Of My Wife (Ildikó Enyedi)
  • The Restless (Joachim Lafosse)
  • Red Rocket (Sean Baker)
  • Titane (Julia Ducournau)
  • Three Floors (Nanni Moretti)
  • The Worst Person In The World (Joachim Trier)

Un Certain Regard

  • After Yang (Kogonada)
  • Blue Bayou (Justin Chon)
  • Bonne Mère (Hafsia Herzi)
  • Commitment Hasan (Semih Kaplanoglu)
  • House Arrest (Alexey German Jr)
  • Et Il Y Eut Un Matin (Eran Kolirin)
  • Freda (Gessica Généus)
  • Gaey Wa’r (Na Jiazuo)
  • Great Freedom (Sebastian Meise)
  • La Civil (Teodora Ana Mihai)
  • Lamb (Valdimar Johannsson)
  • Moneyboys (CB Yi)
  • Noche de fuego (Tatiana Huezo)
  • Rehana Maryam Noor (Abdullah Mohammad Saad)
  • The Innocents (Eskil Vogt)
  • Un Monde (Laura Wandel)
  • Unclenching The Fists (Kira Kovalenko)
  • Women Do Cry (Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova)

Out of Competition

  • Aline (Valérie Lemercier)
  • Bac Nord (Cédric Jimenez)
  • Emergency Declaration (Han Jae-Rim)
  • In His Lifetime (Emmanuelle Bercot)
  • Stillwater (Tom McCarthy)
  • The Velvet Underground (Todd Haynes)

Cannes Premières

  • Cow (Andrea Arnold)
  • Deception (Arnaud Desplechin)
  • Evolution (Kornél Mundruczo)
  • Hold Me Tight (Mathieu Amalric)
  • In Front Of Your Face (Hong Sang-soo)
  • Love Songs For Tough Guys (Samuel Benchetrit)
  • Mothering Sunday (Eva Husson)

Special Screenings

  • Babi Yar Context (Sergei Loznitsa)
  • Black Notebooks (Shlomi Elkabetz)
  • H6 (Yé Yé)
  • Jane By Charlotte (Charlotte Gainsbourg)
  • JFK Revisited: Through The Looking Glass (Oliver Stone)
  • Mariner Of The Mountains (Karim Aïnouz)
  • The Year Of The Everlasting Storm (Jafar Panahi, Anthony Chen, Malik Vitthal, Laura Poitras, Dominga
  • Sotomayor, David Lowery and Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
  • Val De Ting Poo Et Leo Scott

Midnight Screening

  • Oranges Sanguines (Jean-Christophe Meurisse)

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