The Cannes Film Festival unveils its long-awaited official selection

Who will compete for the Palme d’Or alongside Wes Anderson, Leos Carax and Paul Verhoeven? The Cannes Film Festival was to unveil an official selection on Thursday that promised to be very rich, after the cancellation of last year’s edition. The president of the Festival, Pierre Lescure, and his general delegate Thierry Frémaux were to hold their traditional press conference to present the outlines of this 74th edition, which will be held from July 6 to 17.

As for the films, the selection promises to be auspicious, with many renowned filmmakers in line to succeed the Palme d’Or 2019, “Parasite” by South Korean Bong Joon Ho. The Festival has already distilled in recent weeks the names of the first three elected to be submitted to the jury chaired by New Yorker Spike Lee, the first African-American to hold this office. “Annette” will mark the return to the screens of filmmaker Leos Carax, author of “Amants du Pont Neuf” in 1991 and whose last film, “Holy Motors” is almost ten years old. Presented at the opening of the festival, this rock musical, whose soundtrack and script are signed by the legendary American group Sparks, brings together two stars: Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver.

In a completely different genre, Paul Verhoeven (“Basic Instinct”, “Elle”), 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, interpreted 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 and will be able to provide its quota of stars on the red carpet: besides 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. Abundance of films obliges, the medium is lost in conjectures on the lucky ones chosen who could join them.

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Former winners are expected, including the Italian Nanni Moretti, Palme d’Or in 2001 for “La Chambre du fils”, which should certainly return with “Tre Piani”. Perhaps also the mystic Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Palme d’or 2010) for his first film in English outside Thailand (“Memoria”), with Tilda Swinton and Jeanne Balibar, or Jacques Audiard (Palme d’or 2015) with “ The Olympics ”.

Several directors can claim to join the selection: Jane Campion, the only woman to have already won the Palme d’Or in 1993, could present “The Power of the Dog”, but also the filmmakers Mia Hansen-Love, Claire Denis ( for a film written with Christine Angot) or even Emmanuelle Bercot whose film “De son vivant” would mark the great return of Catherine Deneuve on the Croisette, 57 years after the Palme d’Or received by “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg”.

A blockbuster could also be invited, probably out of competition, like the last James Bond or the next superhero film by Chloe Zhao, the American who has just won the Oscar with “Nomadland”. The press conference was also likely to be an opportunity for Cannes to detail its projects and commitments in terms of gender, diversity and the environment, subjects which are now essential for the sector.

And, of course, to reassure about health measures, an essential prerequisite for the return of the stars. For the moment, the epidemic indicators in France allow to envisage a serene summer, but until the end, the uncertainties related to Covid-19 will weigh. 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. In Cannes, canceled last year, 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.

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