Cannes film festival set for bumper year – but no Britons in 2021 competition – The Guardian

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Cannes 2021

Wes Anderson and Paul Verhoeven among heavyweights facing off for Palme d’Or as Andrea Arnold doc gets long-awaited premiere

A number Cannes veterans will compete against each other for the next Palme d’Or in what is shaping up to be standout year for the festival.

More than 2,500 films were submitted for consideration for this year’s event, according to festival director Thierry Frémaux at a typically relaxed and lengthy press conference in Paris on Thursday.

Of these, 24 were selected for the main competition, two of which are rollovers from last year’s selection, which was unveiled but never formally screened. These two are The French Dispatch, Wes Anderson’s ensemble film set in a newspaper office in France, and Benedetta, which sees Paul Verhoeven reunite with Elle star Isabelle Huppert for a story about 17th-century lesbian nuns.

They will be joined by new films from previous Palme d’Or winners Jacques Audiard, Nanni Moretti and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, whose English-language debut, Memoria, stars Tilda Swinton as a Scottish woman confronting ghosts while walking in the mountains of Colombia.

Weerasethakul is also among the directors – including Jafar Panahi and Laura Poitras – who have contributed to a portmanteau movie made during the pandemic, The Year of the Everlasting Storm, which premieres in the Special Screenings division.

Other Croisette regulars vying for the top prize include Mia Hansen-Løve – whose Bergman Island follows a screenwriting couple holidaying in Sweden and stars Mia Wasikowska, Vicky Krieps and Tim Roth – and Asghar Farhadi, whose new film A Hero has been acquired by Amazon Studios.

Tilda Swinton in Memoria Photograph: PR Company Handout

Also in the running is Flag Day, in which director Sean Penn stars as a bank robber alongside his daughter Dylan, and François Ozon’s euthanasia drama Everything Went Fine. Tangerine and The Florida Project director Sean Baker returns with Red Rocket, about a washed-up porn star, while Raw film-maker Julia Ducournau will show body-horror sci-fi Titane.

Ducournau is one of four female directors in competition this year, alongside Hansen-Løve, the Hungarian director Ildikó Enyedi and Catherine Corsini.

Two British films made by female film-makers feature in the inaugural Cannes Premieres sidebar, which appears to be an overspill from the key competition wing. Andrea Arnold’s Cow – a years-in-the-making documentary about bovine life – and Mothering Sunday, Eva Husson’s adaptation of the Graham Swift novel about doomed lovers in the aftermath of the first world war.

Josh O’Connor and Odessa Young in Mothering Sunday. Photograph: PR Company Handout

Colin Firth, Olivia Colman and Josh O’Connor star in the latter, but their presence at Cannes remains in doubt because of new rules forbidding British passport holders from entering the country except under exceptional circumstances.

If work waivers are permitted, it remains likely that some quarantine period – potentially one week – may still be required. Other festival-goers will be required to take a Covid test every 48 hours if they have not yet been fully vaccinated.

This year’s Cannes will be the most ambitious physical film festival mounted since Berlin last February. The Venice film festival did take place last August, but with reduced numbers and capped screening attendance.

Frémaux appeared to suggest that Cannes would proceed along fairly regular lines, with 100% capacity cinemas and the usual socialising. “There will be dinners,” he said. “But we shall not kiss one another at the top of the [Palais] steps.”

The festival runs for 10 days from 6 July. The opening night film is Leos Carax’s Annette, a musical scored by Sparks and starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard.

Competition

Opening Film
Annette, Leos Carax (France)

The Story of My Wife, Ildikó Enyedi (Hungary)
Benedetta, Paul Verhoeven (Netherlands)
Bergman Island, Mia-Hansen-Love (France)
Drive My Car, Rysuke Hamaguchi (Japan)
Ha’Berech (Ahed’s Knee), Nadav Lapid (Israel)
Casablanca Beats, Nabil Ayouch (Morocco)
Compartment No 6, Juho Kuosmanen (Finland)
The Worst Person in the World, Joachim Trier (Norway)
La Fracture, Catherine Corsini (France)
The Restless, Joachim Lafosse (Belgium)
Paris 13th District, Jacques Audiard (France)
Lingui, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Chad)
Memoria, Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand)
Nitram, Justin Kurzel (Australia)
France, Bruno Dumont (France)
Petrov’s Flu, Kirill Serebrennikov (Russia)
Red Rocket, Sean Baker (US)
Flag Day, Sean Penn (US)
The French Dispatch, Wes Anderson (US)
Titane, Julia Ducournau (France)
Tre Piani, Nanni Moretti (Italy)
Tour S’Est Bien Passe, François Ozon (France)
A Hero, Asghar Farhadi (Iran)

Un Certain Regard
Moneyboys, CB Yi (Austria)
Blue Bayou, Justin Chon (US)
Freda, Gessica Geneus (Haiti)
Delo (House Arrest), Alexey German Jr (Russia)
Bonne Mere, Hafsia Herzi (France)
Noche de Fuego, Tatiana Huezo (Mexico)
Lamb, Valdimar Johansson (Iceland)
Commitment Hasan, Hasan Semih Kaplanoglu (Turkey)
After Yang, Kogonada (US)
Let There Be Morning, Eran Kolirin (Israel)
Unclenching the Fists, Kira Kovalenko (Russia)
Women Do Cry, Mina Mileva, Vesela Kazakova (Bulgaria)
Rehana Maryam Noor, Abdullah Mohammad Saad (Bangladesh)
Great Freedom, Sebastian Meise (Austria)
La Civil, Teodora Ana Mihai (Romania/Belgium)
Gaey Wa’r, Na Jiazuo (China)
The Innocents, Eskil Vogt (Norway)
Un Monde, Laura Wandel (Belgium)

Out of Competition

De Son Vivant, Emmanuelle Bercot (France)
Emergency Declaration, Han Jae-Rim (Korea)
The Velvet Underground, Todd Haynes (US)
Bac Nord, Cédric Jimenez (France)
Aline, The Voice of Love, Valérie Lemercier (France)
Stillwater, Tom McCarthy (US)

Midnight Screenings
Bloody Oranges, Jean-Christophe Meurisse (France)

Cannes Premiere
Hold Me Tight, Mathieu Amalric (France)
Cow, Andrea Arnold (UK)
Love Songs for Tough Guys, Samuel Benchetrit (France)
Deception, Arnaud Desplechin (France)
Jane Par Charlotte, Charlotte Gainsbourg (France)
In Front of Your Face, Hong Sang-Soo (Korea)
Mothering Sunday, Eva Husson (France)
Evolution, Kornél Mundruczo (Hungary)
Val, Ting Poo, Leo Scott (US)
JFK Revisited: Through The Looking Glass, Oliver Stone (US)

Special Screenings
Mariner of the Mountains, Karim Ainouz (Brazil)
Black Notebooks, Shlomi Elkabetz (Israel)
Babi Yar. Context, Sergei Loznitsa (Ukraine)
H6, Yé Yé (France)
The Year of the Everlasting Storm, Jafar Panahi (Iran), Anthony Chen (Singapore), Malik Vitthal (US), Laura Poitras (US), Dominga Sotomayor (Chile), David Lowery (US) and Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand)

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