CANNES, May 17 — The final touches were laid in Cannes today for the 75th anniversary edition of the world’s biggest film festival, promising a return to its full glory.
Suspended from ropes above the legendary Palais des Festivals, workers unfurled the huge poster for the Golden Jubilee of the Cannes Film Festival, which this year features an image of The Truman Show.
Some 35,000 film professionals are expected between May 17 and 28, hoping for a return to form for cinema’s most glamorous event after two years in which Covid dampened the mood.
“We are ready. The town hall has just redone everything – the whole place – so we hope it will be fine,” said Jérémie Tripet, manager of “L’Avenue”, a bistro just off the main artery known as the name of La Croisette.
After Cannes was canceled entirely in 2020 and held under strict health protocols in 2021, most of the world is expected to be represented at this year’s event, which includes a large industry market alongside the festival.
A major exception is the absence of Russians, due to the impact of sanctions on the war in Ukraine and a decision by organizers that state-related delegates are not welcome.
China is also expected to have a limited presence due to its ongoing Covid restrictions.
But otherwise, the festival is keen to put the pandemic in the past, with no mandatory masks or passes this year — and no party restrictions.
The easing of pandemic restrictions also means Hollywood will be back in full force at Cannes.
The much-delayed blockbuster sequel Top Gun: Maverick gets its European premiere tomorrow, with Tom Cruise appearing on the Croisette for the first time in 30 years.
One of the first stars to hit the red carpet will be Forest Whitaker, the Oscar-winning star of The Last King of Scotland, Godfather of Harlem and much more – who will receive the honorary Palme d’Or at tomorrow’s opening ceremony.
Afterwards, cinephiles can find themselves in the usual feast of new releases and competing entries, braving the well-known opinionated festival crowds, who are never shy about cheering and booing during screenings.
There’s a lot of excitement around Australia’s Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic, hoping to recreate the buzz he generated when he brought the can-can to Cannes with Red Mill! 20 years ago.
Elvis, playing out of competition, sees newcomer Austin Butler step into the King’s blue suede boots. Tom Hanks plays his infamous manager, Colonel Tom Parker.
21 films are in the running for the Palme d’Or, including David Cronenberg’s latest body horror fable, Future Crimes with Léa Seydoux and Kristen Stewart.
The Canadian director told IndieWire he’s likely to cause walkouts “within the first five minutes”.
There are only five female directors in competition, hoping to follow the success of last year’s winner, Titaniumwhich makes Julie Ducournau the second woman to win the Palme.
Spotlight on Ukraine
The war in Ukraine will be an inevitable topic of conversation.
The latest film by Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravicius, killed by Russian forces in Ukraine last month, will receive a special screening.
He was filming the sequel to his famous documentary Mariupolisabout the conflict in the Donbass region of Ukraine, when he was allegedly captured and killed.
The embattled Ukrainian filmmakers will have a special day in the industry market and one of its most promising directors, Sergei Loznitsa, will show The natural history of destructionabout the bombing of German cities during World War II.
The main competition also includes exiled Russian Kirill Serebrennikov, who was unable to attend his two previous nominations due to a politically charged conviction for embezzlement in his country. —AFP