Thierry Frémaux, director of the Cannes film festival, has confirmed a return to relative normality with the announcement of a strong line-up for the upcoming 75th event. As expected, Top Gun: Maverick, featuring Tom Cruise, and Baz Luhrmann's Elvis, lavish biopic of the King, will play out of competition.
The packed shortlist for the Palme d’Or features such repeat contenders as David Cronenberg, Claire Denis, Park Chan-Wook, the Dardenne brothers and Ruben Östlund.
Addressing the press at the Normandie Cinema in Paris, Frémaux and Pierre Lescure, president of the festival, appeared optimistic about the route out of the pandemic years.
As ever, many of the titles were expected. Cronenberg's Crimes of the Future, starring Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux and Kristen Stewart, looks to offer a return to the body horror that made the Canadian master's name. "It's going to be very Cronenberg," Seydoux told The Irish Times last year.
Östlund, who won the Palme with The Square in 2017 is back with another spiky satire entitled Triangle of Sadness. Woody Harrelson plays the captain of a luxury yacht that sinks, castings its super-wealthy passengers onto a desert island.
After Jim Jarmusch's The Dead Don't Die in 2019, two zombie comedies will have opened Cannes in four years (and three festivals)
Hirokazu Kore-eda’s, Japanese director of Shoplifters, one of the more popular recent Palme winners, is back with Broker, a film treating the phenomenon of unwanted children being left in baby boxes.
The Dardenne brothers make another attempt to become the first directors to win three Palmes with (we’re guessing) an exercise in neo-realism titled Tori And Lokita. The Belgian directors’ Rosetta and Le Fils won in, respectively, 1999 and 2005.
Much attention will be directed towards James Gray's starry Armageddon Time. Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong, breakout star of Succession, appear in a film dealing with the director's youth in the New York borough of Queens. It has been rumoured that Anthony Hopkins is playing a version of Fred Trump, property developer father to Donald.
One year after Julia Ducournau became the second woman to win the Palme d'Or, the festival announces just three female directors among the 18 currently competing for the Palme d'Or (a few more titles will follow). Claire Denis, a veteran of French cinema, is back with a "romantic thriller" called The Stars at Noon. Margaret Qualley, daughter of Andie McDowell, stars in Denis's adaptation of Denis Johnson's novel. Valeria Bruni Tedeschi's directs Les Amandiers. Kelly Reichardt, among the most admired US directors of her generation, will bring Michelle Williams to the red carpet for her sophisticated comedy Showing Up.
One name was not among the directors listed. "According to two well-informed sources, there will even be a David Lynch feature film which has been completely off the radar and stars Laura Dern, " Variety reported late last week. Lynch later denied the story and it seems fans will indeed have to wait a while longer for another of his surreal nightmares.
A few unexpected themes connect the titles in the official selection. Luhrmann's Elvis, starring Austin Butler as the singer and Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker, will bring expected noise and glitz to La Croisette.
Elsewhere, Riley Keough, Elvis’s granddaughter, will present the premiere of her first film as director. Co-directed with Gina Gammell, Keough’s Beast plays in the Un Certain Regard section. Blindsiding many Cannes seers, Ethan Coen, one half of the Coen brothers, will be in the midnight screenings section with Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble In Mind, a documentary on Elvis’s most notorious (and still upright) contemporaries.
Also premiering at the witching hour, Brett Morgen, who previously examined Kurt Cobain in Montage of Heck, moves onto David Bowie with the documentary Moonage Daydream.
It had been rumoured that either Elvis or George Miller’s Three Thousand Years of Longing – another out of competition presentation – would be the opening film, but that honour goes to Michel Hazanavicius’s Z. Bizarrely, this means that, after Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die in 2019, two zombie comedies will have opened Cannes in four years (and three festivals).
There was no event in 2020 due to the pandemic, but, employing mass testing, Cannes managed a surprisingly successful and busy festival in July of 2021. As the bash moves back to its traditional May date, it remains to be seen what health regulations will be in place. “You usually have 40,000 People accredited to the film festival,” Frémaux said. “We were over 20,000 last year in July. And we should be 35,000 accredited – almost a return to the normality. Some parts of the world are not travelling yet. So we are glad to see we will have 35,000 people accredited.”
The 75th Cannes film festival runs from May 17th until May 28th
CANNES 2021 OFFICIAL SELECTION
Les Amandiers, dir: Valeria Bruni Tedeschi
Holy Spider, dir: Ali Abbasi
Crimes Of The Future, dir: David Cronenberg
Stars At Noon, dir: Claire Denis
Frère Et Soeur, dir: Arnaud Desplechin
Tori And Lokita, dirs: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Armageddon Time, dir: James Gray
Close, dir: Lukas Dhont
Broker, dir: Hirokazu Kore-eda
RMN, dir: Cristian Mungiu
Triangle Of Sadness, dir: Ruben Ostlund
Showing Up, dir: Kelly Reichardt
Decision To Leave, dir: Park Chan-wook
Nostalgia, dir: Mario Martone
Tchaikovski's Wife, dir: Kirill Serebrennikov
Boy From Heaven, dir: Tarik Saleh
Leila's Brothers, dir: Saeed Roustaee
Eo, dir: Jerzy Skolimowski
UN CERTAIN REGARD
Les Pires, dirs: Lisa Akoka, Romane Gueret
Burning Days, dir: Emin Alper
Metronom, dir: Alexandru Belc
All The People I'll Never Be, dir: Davy Chou
Sick Of Myself, dir: Kristoffer Borgli
Domingo And The Mist, dir: Ariel Escalante Meza
Plan 75, dir: Hayakawa Chie
Beast, dirs: Riley Keough, Gina Gammell
Corsage, dir: Marie Kreutzer
Butterfly Vision, dir: Maksim Nakonechnyi
The Silent Twins, dir: Agnieszka Smocynska
The Stranger, dir: Thomas M Wright
Joyland, dir: Saim Sadiq
Rodeo, dir: Lola Quivoron
Godland, dir: Hlynur Palmason
Nos Frangins, dir: Rachid Bouchareb
Nightfall, dir: Marco Bellocchio
Dodo, dir: Panos H Koutras
Irma Vep (series), dir: Olivier Assayas
OUT OF COMPETITION
Z (Comme Z), dir: Michel Hazanavicius
Top Gun: Maverick, dir: Joseph Kosinski
Elvis, dir: Baz Luhrmann
Novembre, dir: Cédric Jimenez
Three Thousand Years Of Longing, dir: George Miller
Mascarade, dir: Nicolas Bedos
Hunt, dir: Lee Jung-Jae
Moonage Daydream, dir: Brett Morgen
Fumer Fait Tousser, dir: Quentin Dupieux
All That Breathes, dir: Shaunak Sen
The Natural History Of Destruction, dir: Sergei Loznitsa
Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble In Mind, dir: Ethan Coen