The red carpet rolled out in Cannes, France this past Tuesday, marking the lavish and star-studded return of one of the world’s most anticipated international film festivals.
Cannes is the first major film festival to return to an in-person format since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than fifteen months ago. Masks and social distancing were encouraged but not required, leaving many to criticize the festival’s inconsistent protocol. Guests hailing from the European Union were reportedly permitted to move freely about the venue regardless of vaccination status, while American citizens were required to test for coronavirus every 48 hours. Guests were required to submit a negative test result to attend the festival’s news conferences, while the more densely-packed film screenings asked only that attendees wear masks while indoors. Reports of cramped shuttle buses and lax behavior towards the enforcement of mask policies have left many concerned as to whether the festival is truly operating safely. Nonetheless, the return of Cannes is a welcome site for many, after a long year and a half on lockdown.
The event kicked off with the world premiere of Annette: a rather eccentric musical feature produced by the band Sparks, starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard. The film caused quite an uproar, garnering a five minute standing ovation from those in attendance. It was a rousing start to what is undoubtedly a jam-packed program, with a total of twenty-four films competting for the the top prize at Cannes: the Palme d’Or. Actress Jodie Foster will reveal the 2021 competition winners on Saturday, July 17th at the festival’s closing ceremony. This year’s competitors for the coveted Palme d’Or honor include:
- Annette, directed by Leos Carax
- Ahed’s Knee, directed by Nadav Lapid
- Benedetta, directed by Paul Verhoeven
- Bergman Island, directed by Mia Hansen-Love
- Casablanca Beats, directed by Nabil Ayouch
- Compartment No. 6, directed by Juho Kuosmanen
- The Divide, directed by C atherine Corsini
- Drive My Car, directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi
- Everything Went Fine, directed by Francois Ozon
- Flag Day, directed by Sean Penn
- France, directed by Burno Dumont
- The French Dispatch, directed by Wes Anderson
- A Hero, directed by Asghar Farhadi
- Lingui, directed by Mahamat Saleh Haroun
- Memoria, directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
- Nitram, directed by Justin Kurzel
- Paris, 13th District, directed by Jacques Audiard
- Petrov’s Flu, directed by Kirill Serebrennikov
- Red Rocket, directed by Sean Baker
- The Restless, directed by Joachim Lafosse
- The Story of My Wife, directed by Ildiko Enyedi
- Three Floors, directed by Nanni Moretti
- Titane, directed by Julia Ducournau
- The Worst Person in the World, directed by Joachim Trier
Additional festival programming will include the Cinefondation: a collection of short and medium-length films produced from an international array of film schools, Cannes Classics: a showcase highlighting the heritage of the film industry through restored prints and screenings, and the Cinema de la Plage: a beachfront screening of Cannes Classics and Out of Competition Films, including a special program dedicated to cinematic musical scores.
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