Are you back to Normal? Cannes Film Festival Prepares to Party


    At the very minimum Cannes the very special kind of normal, in which for 12 days, formal attire and films mingle in a sun-dappled splendor. Stopwatch-timed standing ovations go on for minutes for hours and director names such as “Kore-eda” and “Denis” are addressed with quiet reverence.

    What is considered to be the norm of Cannes has not been particularly regular, but it has been remarkably resilient to the changes of the seasons. Since the first Cannes festival, in 1946, following the end the end of World War II, Cannes has endured as a grand spectacle that has put the world of cinema as well as Cote d'Azur glamour under the spotlight. This year is Cannes the 75th anniversary of the festival.

    “Hopefully it will back to a normal Cannes now,” says Ruben ?stlund who is back this year with his social comedy “Triangle of Sadness,” an update to his 2017 Palme d'Or award-winning production “The Square.”

    “It's a fantastic place if you're a filmmaker. You feel like you have the attention of the cinema world,” says?stlund. “To hear the buzz that's going on, people talking about the different films. Hopefully, they're talking about your film.”

    This year's Cannes festival, which begins on this Tuesday, with the debut of Michel Hazanavicius' zombie movie “Z,” will unfold against not just the last decline of the pandemic as well as the growing tide of streaming, but also the most devastating conflict Europe has witnessed since WWII during the war in Ukraine. It was created as a result of conflict — the festival originally conceived to serve as the French competitor of Venice Film Festival. Venice Film Festival, which Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler had started to interfere withand this year's Cannes will once again be filled with the sound of a conflict that's not too far away.

    Cannes organizers have banned Russians with connections to the Russian government from participating in the festival. To be shown are a number of films by prominent Ukrainian filmmakers like Sergei Lozonovitsa's film “The Natural History of Destruction.” The footage shot by Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravi?ius just before he was shot dead by a sniper in Mariupol on April 1 will presented by his girlfriend, Hanna Bilobrova.

    In the meantime, Cannes will host more Hollywood star power than it has in the past three years. Joseph Kosinski's pandemic delayed “Top Gun: Maverick” will be shown shortly before it is released in cinemas. Tom Cruise will walk the carpet and take part in an exclusive, career-spanning interview.

    “Every director's dream is to be able to go to Cannes someday,” Kosinski says. Kosinski. “To go there with this film and with Tom, to screen it there and be a part of the retrospective they're going to do for him, it's going to be a once in a lifetime experience.”

    Warner Bros. will premiere Baz Luhrmann's dazzling “Elvis,” starring Austin Butler and Tom Hanks. George Miller, last in Cannes with “Mad Max: Fury Road,” will release his epic fantasy “Thee Thousand Years of Longing,” featuring Idris Elba, and Tilda Swinton. Ethan Coen will premiere his first film with his sister Joel, “Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind,” a documentary on the legendary rock ‘n' roll legend based on old footage. Also debuting: James Gray's “Armageddon Time,” a New York-set semi-autobiographical coming-of-age tale with Anthony Hopkins, Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong.

    The vast majority the offerings of Hollywood will be on display. Cannes regulations on theatrical releases have effectively excluded streaming companies from the list that they select the Palme d'Or winner is chosen. The jury this year is led by French actor Vincent Lindon.

    The previous year's Palme winner Julia Ducournau's thrilling “Titane,” which starred Lindon it was the second time that Cannes was awarded the top prize to a female director. This year there are five films produced by women competing for the Palme which is a record for Cannes but a tiny percent compared to other festivals across the globe.

    The program also includes a number of veteran festival participants and past Palme winners, such as Hirokazu Kore-eda (“Broker”) Christian Mungiu's (“RMN”) and Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes (“Tori and Lokita”). Iconoclast directors like Claire Denis (“Stars at Noon”), David Cronenberg (“Crimes of the Future”) and Park Chan-wook (“Decision to leave”) will also be in contention for the Palme. So is Kelly Reichardt, who reteams with Michelle Williams in “Showing Up.”

    With a full slate packed with Cannes all-stars and stars, how do you think the festival can go to the past? The previous year's light-on-crowds version included masking inside the theaters and regular COVID-19 tests for festival attendees. The festival still made the year's most popular films that won best picture awards, such as “Drive My Car,” “The Worst Person in the World” and “A Hero.” Cannes remains a renowned stage for the most acclaimed films in cinema, but it is subject to criticisms regarding representation.

    The only thing that's likely to change anytime soon is the exact volume of revelry that was prevalent in the time when Harvey Weinstein was a ubiquitous participant on the stage at festivals. The COVID-19 issues aren't over. The attendees won't be tested and are strongly advised to cover up. A few streaming companies don't have the money to throw extravagant celebrations. There will be crowds at Cannes but in what proportion?

    “It's going to be different than it's ever been before,” says Tom Bernard, co-president of Sony Pictures Classic and a long-time Cannes regular. “Are they going to have parties? Are they going to have COVID concerns? Or is everyone going to go there and just try to ignore stuff?”

    Bernard has observed some oddities within the Cannes market in which the rights to distribute films are purchased and sold but remain in a online. Initial meetings with sellers where producers and executives generally travel across hotels on the Croisette and take place mostly via Zoom prior to this year's festival. claims. Deal-making has become more concentrated. Cannes famous for its reputation as simultaneously high-minded and fun it has maybe become a little more mature.

    “It's a reshuffle of an event that's always been sort of the same, in every way,” Bernard says. Bernard. “The routine, I think, will change.”

    One thing you can count on with absolute certainty during Cannes is the frequent and passionate invitations to film on the big screen in spite of continuous sea shifts in the industry of film. Certain films, such as?stlund's co-starring Woody Harrelson, will hope to bridge the two film worlds that meet at Cannes.

    “The goal we set out for ourselves,” says ?stlund “was to combine the best parts of the American cinema with the European cinema, to try to do something that's really entertaining and at the same time thought-provoking.”


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