Costner and Lucas ride out at Cannes

Stars return for world premiere and a Golden Palm, while Andrea Arnold also to receive honour

by Richard Mowe

Kevin Costner is back in the saddle as his passion project Horizon, An American Saga receives a Cannes World Premiere
Kevin Costner is back in the saddle as his passion project Horizon, An American Saga receives a Cannes World Premiere Photo: Warner Bros
George Lucas on his honorary Palme: 'I am truly honoured by this special recognition'
George Lucas on his honorary Palme: 'I am truly honoured by this special recognition' Photo: JAKS Productions
The Stars and Stripes will flutter big time over next month's 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival. Hot on the heels of the announcement that the director and star of Dances With Wolves Kevin Costner will receive an Out of Competition slot comes the news today that Star Wars legend George Lucas will receive an honorary Palme d‘Or at the event’s closing ceremony on May 25.

Costner's multi-episode project Horizon, An American Saga, about the conquest of the West, is directed by him and he also co-stars with Sienna Miller among others.

The Western has become Costner’s preferred genre “for expressing his political commitment to democracy and the environment”, say the Festival organisers who will announce the full programme for the 77th edition at media gathering in Paris on Thursday, April 11.

Costner is quoted as saying: “It's been 20 years since I've had the pleasure of being on the Croisette. I've been waiting for the right time to return and I'm proud to say that this time has come.

“Horizon, An American Saga is a story that began 35 years ago, and I can't think of a better place than Cannes to reveal to the world the result of such a wonderful adventure. The French have always supported films and believed deeply in filmmaking. Just as I believe deeply in my film...".

The film will be released in four episodes over several months and co-stars, with Miller, Sam Worthington and Jena Malone in the lead roles. The world premiere of Horizon, An American Saga take place on Sunday, May 19 and it is to be released theatrically by Warner Bros on June 28.

Andrea Arnold to be feted by Cannes Directors’ Fortnight
Andrea Arnold to be feted by Cannes Directors’ Fortnight Photo: Richard Mowe
Lucas appears to be equally enamoured by the Cannes attention. "The Festival de Cannes has always held a special place in my heart. I was surprised and elated when my first film, THX-1138, was selected to be shown in the Directors’ Fortnight. Since then, I have returned to the festival on many occasions in a variety of capacities as a writer, director and producer. I am truly honoured by this special recognition which means a great deal to me.”

Meanwhile, not to be outdone, UK filmmaker Andrea Arnold will be honoured with the Directors’ Fortnight’s Carrosse d’Or award during the 56h edition of the Cannes parallel section running from May 15 to 25.

She will receive the prize from French directors’ guild La Société des Réalisateurs (SRF) during the opening ceremony.

Launched in 2002, the Carosse d’Or - or “Golden Coach” - recognises “innovative” directors.

Souleyman Cissé received the honour last year in the wake of previous recipients Frederick Wiseman, John Carpenter, Martin Scorsese, Werner Herzog, Aki Kaurismaki, Jia Zhangke, Naomi Kawase and Nanni Moretti.

SRF board members, who include filmmakers Thomas Bidegain, Cédric Klapisch and Claire Simon, praised Arnold’s work on such films as Milk, Red Road, Wuthering Heights and American Honey that “scrutinise society from every angle, travelling through times and environments.” They noted her “powerful female characters” and “sensitive and sharp eye.”

Arnold’s latest feature Bird, starring hot property actprs Barry Keoghan (Saltburn) and Franz Rogowski (Passages), and her first narrative feature in almost a decade, has been touted for a slot in the festival’s Official Selection after failing to appear at the Berlin Film Festival earlier in the year. The 2024 Directors’ Fortnight plans will be announced on April 16.

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