Cannes Festval: eleven days of screenings to see films “virgin of everything a priori”, share emotions, and “who knows maybe leave different “. The mistress of ceremony of this 74th edition, French actress Doria Tillier, immediately wanted to pay tribute to the 7th Art and its “magic” on the occasion of its big return in theaters after the pandemic.
Shortly after, the Grand Théâtre Lumière paid a vibrant tribute with a standing ovation to the guest of honor of the evening, American actress and director Jodie Foster, who at 58 has already had a 55-year career. A moving and symbolic moment for the one who, from the age of thirteen, climbed the steps of the Cannes Film Festival for her role in Taxi Driver. A movie, she will say later in the evening, that she really is “grateful”. At the Festival, this year, she returns in Designated Guilty, by Kevin Macdonald, where she plays the lawyer for a Guantanamo prisoner, played by Tahar Rahim.
“Many of us have spent a year locked in our little bubbles, many have spent it isolated and others confronted with suffering and anguish, pain, mortal fear, and here we are at last, after an unparalleled year, gathered in our pretty clothes “, said the American actress and director in her perfect French. “Did you miss the glamor? A little bit? Me too …”, she joked. “In this year of transition, the cinema has been my lifeline”, said more seriously the filmmaker who says she appreciates the evolution, the “new ways” offered by the 7th Art.
As usual, the mistress of ceremonies presented the members of the jury for this edition by name, chaired by director Spike Lee, who came in a fuschia pink suit matching his glasses. After a glimpse of his work, and a presentation in images of the selection of the Cannes Film Festival 2021, the highlight of the evening was the presentation of an honorary Palme d’Or to Jodie Foster.
To hand it over, the Spaniard Pedro Almodovar: this faithful of Cannes, who himself has never been crowned, wished “to be present for the return of cinema, of the festival, and to be able to celebrate the auteur film on a big screen”. And then Almodovar had tender words for the American filmmaker, who according to him has had the merit throughout his career, to choose his roles “judiciously”, in order to create the profile of a “young woman who shows her strength without hiding her weaknesses”.
It is the director Bong Joon-ho, winner of the Palme d’Or for Parasite in 2019, the last year it could be awarded before the pandemic, which was chosen to officially kick off the 2021 edition of the Cannes Film Festival. “Why me? To make the link between 2019 and this year. (…) But seeing you all, I have the impression that there was no rupture”, he observed. And to continue: “the cinema has never stopped, the cinema continues to advance like the train in the Lumière brothers’ film”.
Nice symbolic gesture, Bong Joon-ho then called on Jodie Foster, Pedro Almodovar and Spike Lee to join him to together declare the Festival open.
After the ceremony, the competition officially started with the screening of an opening film in the form of fireworks, Annette, rock opera signed by a producer as cult as it is rare, Leos Carax, which is being released simultaneously in French cinemas.