On Tuesday, the Cannes Film Festival will be back – and the cinema from time out.
Perhaps it is the most important festival edition in decades. Cannes is back with a complete program and the cinema with the festival. With a loud bang, the industry wakes up from the forced corona slumber. And if this mighty premiere machine has always looked something like an ocean liner, then it is now driving ahead at full speed. Last year, the cancellation due to the Corona had already been extremely difficult and it was delayed until well into May. Ultimately, you had to be content with the publication of a film list and a postponed weekend event for the local audience.
Tonight, Leos Carax, the contentious loner among French auteur filmmakers, opens the competition with an elaborate musical: “Annette” is set in Los Angeles and confronts a couple from show business with an event that turns their lives off its hinges – the birth of one Daughter. Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver sing about the intersection of magic and banal everyday life, the sphere of activity of Carax’s cinematic poetry.
But even on the Croisette, there are still limits to the glamor and party frenzy. It is compulsory to wear a mask in all indoor areas, seating restrictions apply in the cinemas. There can be no question of the nonchalance that is currently being shown at the European Football Championship. Even the evening fashion show on the red carpet should only be with masks.
No more spontaneous entry
For the first time, the coveted passes in the upscale categories no longer allow spontaneous entry into the cinemas; all journalists need tickets that are activated on the Internet at specific times. Cannes is taking over the procedure from the Venice Film Festival, where no infections were detected last autumn.
Jury President Spike Lee greets the guests from the official poster at the Festivalpalais, but there is more irony than glamor in his gaze. Only the upper half of the master director’s face is shown, he looks sceptically up at the palm trees through huge glasses. Is he wearing a mask right now? The answer lies where you want the artistic messages of the competition films – in the eye of the viewer.
It is an impressive line-up: some filmmakers have kept their contributions for a year, such as Wes Anderson’s homage to quality journalism, “The French Dispatch” for an invented magazine in the “New Yorker” style. The former palm tree winner from Thailand, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, also finished his unreal drama “Memoria” with Tilda Swinton last year.
It’s one of several German co-productions, but once again you won’t find a German director’s credit in the official sections. The proportion of women in the competition does not want to increase significantly either: Only four of the 24 films in the competition come from women directors, including the 2017 Hungarian Berlinale winner: Ildikó Enyedi’s seascape from World War II, “The Story of My Wife”, has also been waiting for his since 2020 Premiere.
On the other hand, two challenging animated films have only just been completed, but have only been added to the competition in the last few days: The Israeli Ari Folman, who opened new doors for the medium with his documentary “Waltz With Bashir” in 2007, shows “Where Is Anne Frank?”: Nach In his own comic adaptation, he tells the story of Anne Frank’s imaginary friend Kitty about her search for the missing girl. Folman himself is the son of Polish Holocaust survivors.
From Japan, the latest work by anime master Mamoru Hosoda was added to the program at the last minute. “Belle” tells of a teenage girl who, as an Internet celebrity, has thrilled millions of fans – but who actually leads a secluded life with her father.
There are stories like this in which the experiences of the Corona period are already being artistically reappraised – and in doing so they speak to a young audience that was particularly hard hit by it. The next few days will show how the cinema survived its lockdown; the Golden Palm will be awarded on Saturday in a week.