Paris, France: As the Cannes Film Festival unveils its official selection on Thursday, there is one silver lining to all the cancellations of the previous year: a backlog of cinematic gold is waiting in the wings.
The 74th edition of the world’s largest film festival, which runs from July 6 to 17, promises to be a memorable event, with Wes Anderson, Leos Carax, and Paul Verhoeven already confirmed for the official competition ahead of Thursday’s press conference in Paris at 11 a.m. (0900 GMT).
They’ll confront a jury led by American director Spike Lee, who was supposed to preside over the festival in 2020 before it was postponed because of the pandemic.
“Annette,” starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard as a celebrity couple awaiting a mysterious child, is the first picture by French arthouse darling Carax in a decade, and his first in English.
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Meanwhile, Verhoeven’s entry, “Benedetta,” about a lesbian nun in a 17th-century Italian convent, promises a touch of scandal on the Croisette — firm ground for the Dutch filmmaker, who has often combined art and salaciousness with films like “Basic Instinct,” “Showgirls,” and “Elle.”
Anderson, who was supposed to exhibit his newest odd bauble, “The French Dispatch,” during last year’s festival, has had an especially long wait.
It was clearly worth waiting for a proper Gallic launch, as it was filmed in Angouleme, southwest France, and could bring a slew of stars to the red carpet, including Anderson regulars Bill Murray and Adrien Brody, as well as newcomers Timothee Chalamet, Benicio Del Toro, and France’s own Lea Seydoux.
The rest of the lineup has been the subject of much speculation in recent weeks, with a few names emerging as possible candidates.
Nanni Moretti, who won the Palme d’Or for “The Son’s Room” in 2001, is set to return with “Tre Piani.”
Thailand’s Apichatpong Weerasethakul, with his debut English-language picture “Memoria,” starring Tilda Swinton, and France’s Jacques Audiard (winner in 2015) with “Les Olympiades,” are two other Palme winners who could return.
Jane Campion, the sole female winner of the Palme d’Or (for “The Piano” in 1993), could return with “The Power of the Dog.”
The organizers have also hinted that a large blockbuster may be released during the fortnight, maybe the long-awaited next James Bond film “No Time To Die.”
Or it could be “Eternals,” a new Marvel film with arthouse credentials courtesy to director Chloe Zhao, who just won an Oscar for her work on “Nomadland.”
The health measures that organizers hope will make the festival safe for the large number of film professionals and reporters who have already filed for accreditation will also be discussed during the press conference.
Because the traditionally busy movie bazaar is being hosted separately and online this year, the attendance is significantly lower than usual.
The Covid numbers in France are also currently trending in a positive direction, and the remaining limitations are expected to be lifted in time for the event, but organizers say visitors will need confirmation of vaccination or negative testing every two days during the event.
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