Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
AP

Back to normal? Cannes Film Festival prepares to party

  • 0

After the 2020 Cannes Film Festival was canceled by the pandemic and the 2021 edition was scaled back — even kisses were forbade on the red carpet — the lavish French Riviera cinema soiree is set to return with a festival that promises to be something like normal.

Or at least Cannes' very particular brand of normal, where for 12 days formal wear and film mingle in sun-dappled splendor, stopwatch-timed standing ovations stretch for minutes on end and director names like “Kore-eda” and “Denis” are spoken with hushed reverence.

What passes for the usual at Cannes has never been especially ordinary, but it has proven remarkably resilient to the fluctuations of time. Since its first festival, in 1946 on the heels of World War II, Cannes has endured as a maximalist spectacle that puts world cinema and Cote d'Azur glamour in the spotlight. This year marks Cannes' 75 anniversary.

“Hopefully it will back to a normal Cannes now," says Ruben Östlund, who returns this year with the social satire “Triangle of Sadness,” a follow-up to his Palme d’Or-winning 2017 film “The Square.”

"It’s a fantastic place if you’re a filmmaker. You feel like you have the attention of the cinema world,” adds Östlund. “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, which opens Tuesday with the premiere of Michel Hazanavicius' zombie movie “Z,” will unfold against not just the late ebbs of the pandemic and the rising tide of streaming but the largest war Europe has seen since WWII, in Ukraine. Begun as a product of war — the festival was initially launched as a French rival to the Venice Film Festival, which Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler had begun interfering with — this year's Cannes will again resound with the echoes of a not-so-far-away conflict.

Cannes organizers have barred Russians with ties to the government from the festival. Set to screen are several films from prominent Ukrainian filmmakers, including Sergei Loznitsa's documentary “The Natural History of Destruction." Footage shot by Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravičius before he was killed in Mariupol in April will also be shown by his fiancée, Hanna Bilobrova.

At the same time, Cannes will host more Hollywood star wattage than it has for three years. Joseph Kosinski's pandemic-delayed “Top Gun: Maverick” will be screened shortly before it opens in theaters. Tom Cruise will walk the carpet and sit for a rare, career-spanning interview.

“Every director’s dream is to be able to go to Cannes someday," 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 splashy “Elvis,” starring Austin Butler and Tom Hanks. George Miller, last in Cannes with “Mad Max: Fury Road,” will debut his fantasy epic “Thee Thousand Years of Longing,” with Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton. Ethan Coen will premiere his first film without his brother Joel, “Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind,” a documentary about the rock ‘n’ roll legend made with archival 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.

Far from all of Hollywood will be present. Cannes' regulations regarding theatrical release have essentially ruled out streaming services from the competition lineup from which the Palme d'Or winner is chosen. This year's jury is headed by French actor Vincent Lindon.

Last year's Palme winner, Julia Ducournau's explosive “Titane," which starred Lindon, was only the second time Cannes' top honor went to a female filmmaker. This year, there are five movies directed by women in competition for the Palme, a record for Cannes but a low percentage compared to other international festivals.

This year's lineup, too, is full of festival veterans and former Palme winners, including Hirokazu Kore-eda (“Broker"), Christian Mungiu's (“RMN") and Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes (“Tori and Lokita"). Iconoclast filmmakers like Claire Denis ("Stars at Noon"), David Cronenberg ("Crimes of the Future") and Park Chan-wook ("Decision to Leave") are also up for the Palme, as is Kelly Reichardt, who reteams with Michelle Williams in “Showing Up."

Even with a robust slate full of Cannes all-stars, how much can the festival really revert back to old times? Last year's light-on-crowds edition included masking inside theaters and regular COVID-19 testing for attendees. It still produced some of the year's most acclaimed films, including the best picture-nominated “Drive My Car,” “The Worst Person in the World” and “A Hero.” Cannes remains an unparalleled platform for the best in cinema, while still susceptible to criticisms of representation.

What's not likely to return anytime soon is the same amount of partying that characterized the years where Harvey Weinstein was a ubiquitous figure at the festival. COVID-19 concerns aren't gone. Attendees won't be tested and are strongly encouraged to mask. Few non-streaming companies have the budgets for lavish parties. Crowds will be back at Cannes but to what extent?

“It's going to be different than it's ever been before,” says Tom Bernard, co-president of Sony Pictures Classic and a longtime 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 noticed some practices in the Cannes market, where distribution rights for films are bought and sold, remain virtual. Initial meet-and-greets with sellers, in which executives and producers typically hop between hotels along the Croisette, have taken place largely on Zoom before the festival, he says. Deal-making has gotten more focused. Cannes, known for being both high-minded and frivolous, has perhaps grown slightly more sober.

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

One thing that can relied on with ironclad certainty at Cannes is frequent and ardent overtures to the primacy of the big screen, despite ongoing sea changes in the film industry. Some films, like Östlund's, which co-stars Woody Harrelson, will hope to straddle the disparate movie worlds that collide in Cannes.

“The goal we set out for ourselves," says Östlund, "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.”


Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP


For more Cannes Film Festival coverage, visit: https://apnews.com/hub/cannes-film-festival

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

0 Comments

Concerned about COVID-19?

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Case levels in other states where the new variants arrived earlier suggest Nebraska cases still could climb well above current levels. A number of northeastern states have case levels more than four times Nebraska’s.

Research in U.S. veterans provides fresh evidence that long COVID-19 can happen even after breakthrough infections following vaccination. In the study published Wednesday, about 1%  who had COVID-19 shots had breakthrough infections. And about one-third of that group showed signs of long COVID.  A separate government report found that 1 in 4 adults age 65 and up developed at least one symptom of long COVID up to a year after an initial infection. That compares with 1 in 5 younger adults. Long COVID involves long-term symptoms that can include fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog and blood clots.

A military plane carrying enough specialty infant formula for more than half a million baby bottles arrived Sunday in Indianapolis. It's the first of several flights expected from Europe aimed at relieving a shortage that has sent parents scrambling to find enough to feed their children. President Joe Biden authorized the use of Air Force planes for the effort, dubbed “Operation Fly Formula,” because no commercial flights were available. The nationwide shortage of formula follows the closure of the largest domestic manufacturing plant in Michigan in February due to safety issues.

Herschel Walker boasts of his charity work helping members of the military who struggle with mental health. The football legend and leading Republican Senate candidate in Georgia says the outreach is done through a program he created, called Patriot Support. But court filings and company documents offer a more complicated picture. They show Walker did not found the program. It's also not a charity. It's an arm of a for-profit hospital chain. Court documents reveal the company has a checkered history treating veterans and reached a $122 million settlement after the Justice Department sued for improperly treating patients. The company denies the allegations. Walker's campaign criticized the media for writing a story about the program.

A witness says onlookers urged police to charge into the Texas elementary school where a gunman’s rampage killed 19 children and two teachers. Juan Carranza spoke Wednesday as investigators worked to track the massacre that lasted upwards of 40 minutes and ended when the 18-year-old shooter was killed by a Border Patrol team. Carranza lives across the street from Robb Elementary School in the town of Uvalde. He says women were shouting at officers: “Go in there! Go in there!” soon after the attack began. But he says the officers didn’t enter.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News