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The return of the Cannes Film Festival promises to be auspicious and under health protection

The Cannes Film Festival, the world’s largest event for the 7th art, unveils on Thursday, June 3, the outlines of its first edition since the pandemic with a long-awaited official selection, which promises to be rich in star filmmakers. Scheduled from July 6 to 17 on the Croisette, the festival will bring together thousands of cinema professionals from around the world, happy to meet again after last year’s edition without a red carpet and prize list.

If the deconfinement continues as the government has planned, no gauge should be imposed in the rooms, but the presentation of a health pass (vaccination or negative PCR test) will be required. Who will go up the steps? Will the Americans be there? How to reconcile masks and glitter, cocktails and sanitary measures? So many questions on which the organizers of the Festival are expected, during their traditional press conference at the Normandie des Champs-Elysées cinema.

The suspense is up to the expectations of the films in the running to succeed Parasite of South Korean Bong Joon Ho, Palme d’Or 2019. More than 2,000 films were viewed. The general delegate Thierry Frémaux has already confirmed three names among the films submitted to the jury, chaired by the New Yorker Spike Lee, the first African-American to occupy this function.

It is a Frenchman, Leos Carax, who will open the ball with Annette : the film brings together Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver, with the legendary American group Sparks with the script and the music.

In a completely different genre, Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct, It), a filmmaker whose films have a scent of scandal, promises not to leave indifferent with Benedetta a film about a lesbian nun in the 17th century, played by Virginie Efira.

And the American Wes Anderson will present The French Dispatch, a film shot in Angoulême, in the southwest of France, which was already ready for last year with Red carpet of stars: in addition to Bill Murray, the director’s favorite actor, the cast brings together Tilda Swinton, Timothée Chalamet, Adrien Brody, and on the French side, Léa Seydoux and Mathieu Amalric.

The Italian Nanni Moretti, Palme d’Or in 2001 for The son’s room, should definitely come back with Tre Piani.

Abundance of films obliges, the medium is lost in conjectures on the lucky ones chosen who could join them: Joel Coen, the eldest of the Coen brothers, can claim to the competition with a Macbeth in black and white, played by Denzel Washington, as well as the mystic Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Palme d’Or 2010) for his first film in English outside Thailand, Memoria, with for the first time a star, Tilda Swinton. The competition could see the return of Catherine Deneuve in In his lifetime, by Emmanuelle Bercot, or the latest film by Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog, the only woman to have won the Palme d’Or, in 1993, with The Piano Lesson.

A blockbuster could also be invited, probably out of competition, like the last James Bond, To die can wait, but its release date is scheduled for April 2, which would disqualify it from being in Cannes. There’s also talk of the next Marvel superhero movie The Eternals by Chloé Zhao, the American who just won the Oscar with Nomadland, with Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek

Until the end, the uncertainties related to Covid-19 will weigh on the organization of the festival, even if for the moment the epidemic indicators in France allow to envisage a serene summer. This will not prevent the organizers from specifying Thursday, June 3 the health measures implemented. Foreign stars will have to be reassured about the precautions taken. The Venice Film Festival was able to be held in September, with a red carpet protected from public view to avoid crowds, but where the stars could pose without a mask. The Berlinale had resolved in March to organize an online edition.

The press conference will also probably be an opportunity for Cannes to detail its projects and commitments in terms of parity, diversity or the environment, subjects which are now essential for the sector.

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