The Cannes Movie Pageant rolled out the pink carpet for the primary time in additional than two years on Tuesday, launching the French Riviera spectacular with the premiere of Leos Carax’s Annette, the introduction of Spike Lee’s jury, and with excessive hopes for shrugging off a punishing pandemic yr for cinema.
The 74th Cannes opened on Tuesday with as a lot glitz because it may summon, led by Annette, a fantastical musical starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard and scored by the musical duo Sparks. The opening ceremony additionally returned final yr’s Palme d’Or winner, Bong Joon Ho (for Parasite) and Jodie Foster, who first got here to Cannes as a 13-year-old with Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, for an honorary Palme.
The event drew a large spectrum of movie luminaries again to Cannes to rejoice the competition, canceled final yr as a result of Covid-19 virus. Pedro Almodovar, Jessica Chastain, Helen Mirren and Bella Hadid walked the pink carpet, which was once more lined with tuxedoed photographers and surrounded by keen onlookers.
“So it feels good to go out,” stated Foster in French.
“Vivre la France!” declared Lee.
The competition was formally declared open by Bong, Almodovar, Foster and Lee, in a mixture of Korean, Spanish, French and English. Over the following 10 days, the Cannes Movie Pageant will attempt to resuscitate international cinema on a grand scale.
Cannes has pushed forward in a lot its regular kind, with splashy red-carpet shows and a lineup of most of the world’s most revered filmmakers, together with Asghar Farhadi, Wes Anderson, Mia Hansen-Love and Paul Verhoeven. Festivalgoers are examined each 48 hours, seated shoulder to shoulder and masked for screenings.
Lee, who’s heading the jury that may resolve this yr’s Palme, arrived earlier within the day sporting a “1619” baseball hat and making an attempt to maintain a low profile. “I’m not trying to be a hog,” he stated to reporters, urging them to ask his fellow jurors questions.
However Lee’s presence was onerous to disregard. His face as Mars Blackmon from his 1986 characteristic movie debut She’s Gotta Have It (which premiered at Cannes) adorns this yr’s poster on the competition central hub, the Palais des Festivals. Lee is the primary Black particular person to ever lead Cannes’ prestigious jury. In his first feedback, in response to a query from Chaz Ebert, widow of Roger Ebert, Lee spoke about how little has modified since 1989′s Do the Proper Factor — which made a controversial debut at Cannes.
“When you see brother Eric Garner, when you see king George Floyd murdered, lynched, I think of Ray (Radio) Raheem,” Lee stated, referring to the Do the Proper Factor character. After 30-plus years, you’d “think and hope,” Lee stated, “that Black people would have stopped being hunted down like animals.”
A lot of the discuss on Tuesday at Cannes centered on injustice and survival. That the competition was even taking place, after final yr’s version was canceled, was a shock to some. Maggie Gyllenhaal, who’ll see the 24 movies in competitors for the Palme as a member of the jury over the following 12 days, stated will probably be her first time in a movie show in 15 months. When Parasite actor Track Kang Ho was invited to be a juror, he stated, “I thought: Will there really be a festival?”
“The fact that we’re here today, it’s really a miracle,” stated Track.
Nonetheless, a lot of the same old pomp is toned down this yr. There’s a relative dearth of promotion up and down Cannes’ oceanfront promenade, the Croisette, and Hollywood has much less of a job than in years previous. Brazilian director Kleber Mendonça Filho (Bacurau), a juror, added that in some elements of the world, cinema is underneath siege. In President Jair Bolsonaro’s Brazil, he stated, the nationwide cinematheque has been closed and its workers dismantled.
“This is a very clear demonstration of contempt for cinema and for culture,” stated Filho, who famous the tragedy of Brazil reaching 500,000 lifeless from Covid-19 when, he stated, many hundreds may have been saved by a stronger governmental response.
That dialog was prompted partly by a Georgian journalist who requested jury members about resistance. Russia invaded the previous Soviet republic in 2008.
“The world is run by gangsters,” stated Lee, itemizing former US President Donald Trump, Bolsonaro and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In that context, the common subjects of concern at Cannes have been maybe dwarfed. However the jurors made passionate circumstances for the way forward for motion pictures — and a extra inclusive future. This yr’s competitors lineup features a Cannes-high 4 feminine filmmakers, however they nonetheless make up a fraction of the 24 filmmakers vying for the Palme.
“I think when women are listening to themselves and really expressing themselves, even inside, about a very, very male culture, we make movies differently. We tell stories differently,” stated Gyllenhaal. She recalled watching Jane Campion’s The Piano (the lone movie directed by a lady to ever win the Palme) as formative and unfiltered. “It just went in straight.”
The rise of streaming additionally took the highlight. Cannes has refused to pick movies with out French theatrical distribution for its competitors lineup. The competition and Netflix have been at odds for a number of years. On Monday, Thierry Fremaux, competition director, cited Cannes’ file at discovering filmmakers and requested: “What directors have been discovered by (streaming) platforms?”
Lee, who made final yr’s Da 5 Bloods for Netflix, hardly bated an eye fixed when requested in regards to the topic.
“Cinema and screening platforms can coexist,” stated Lee, who referred to as Cannes “the world’s greatest film festival.” “At one time, there was a thinking that TV was going to kill cinema. So, this stuff is not new.”