By Tim Baros
From May 17 – 28, the film and party bacchanalia is the place to be and be seen. It’s a festival so unlike any other, the stars come out in full force. And for this, the 70th annual, there will be eighteen films competing in the main competition. Among these include:
-Sofia Coppola’s American Civil War thriller The Beguiled, a remake of Clint Eastwood’s 1971 film, with high wattage stars Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, and Kirsten Dunst.
–Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories are two films produced by Netflix. Okja stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton about a girl who risks everything to prevent a powerful multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend – a massive animal, while The Meyerowitz Stories stars Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman about siblings dealing with an ageing father.
Amazon is also in the game with:
–Wonderstruck, starring Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams and tells the story of two deaf children living parallel lives in the 1920’s and 1970’s, and
–You Were Never Really Here starring Joaquin Phoenix as a war veteran who tries to save a sex-trafficking victim.
–Good Time. Robert Pattinson plays a bank robber who struggles to evade the police.
–Happy End. Isabelle Huppert, fresh from her award-winning performance in Elle, is in this family drama that is set against the backdrop of the European refugee crisis.
–The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Kidman and Farrell (again) star in this tale of a boy attempting to bring a talented surgeon into his family, with disastrous consequences.
–L’Amant Double (The Double Lover). Popular French Director Francois Ozon’s thriller about a young woman who falls in love with her therapist before realising he’s not who she thinks he is.
–A Gentle Closure. A Ukrainian film that tells the bleak tale of a woman trying to learn the truth about a prison in remote Russia.
The year’s film festival includes 49 films from 20 countries, including nine feature debuts. The Opening night film – which is out of competition – is French film Ismael’s Ghosts by director Arnaud Desplechin – which follows a filmmaker whose life is sent into a tailspin by the return of a former lover just as he is about to start shooting a new film, and starring festival favorite Marion Cotillard. The closing, a highlight of the festival, will be, as always, the film awards that honour the best films and performances that were shown. Other areas of the film festival include the Un Certain Regard section (the official selection). There will be 16 films in this section – with actress Uma Thurman to preside over this jury.
One of the Out of Competition films include How to Talk to Girls at Parties, by John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) and stars Kidman (again), Elle Fanning and Matt Lucas and is about a couple of British 1970’s teen-aged boys who go to a party to meet girls, only to find that the girls are very different from their expectations. Kidman will also be seen in a screening of Jane Campion’s television series “Top of the Lake” – Kidman will be very busy during the festival! The Cinéfondation is the short film section of the festival, to be be presided over by Romanian Director Cristian Mungiu. And Italian actress Monica Bellucci will host the open and closing ceremonies.
Non-film industry members of the public (who without a pass are pretty much locked out of all the events and screenings of the festival) are welcome to watch films in the evening public screenings that take place on the beach (Cinema de la Plage), while those with VIP passes will be invited to go to the many parties, events, and the A-list fundraiser gala Cinema Against AIDS.
Members of this year’s main jury include filmmaker Pedro Almodovar who will be joined by American actress Jessica Chastain, among others. One of the prizes to be given out is the Caméra d’or, awarded for best first feature film (which was won by British Director Steve McQueen in 2008 for Hunger). And the town of Cannes will be taken over by the attendees of this film festival which is a must to attend for anyone in the film industry, and even if you are not, it’s just great to soak up and take in the glitz and the glamour, and it will make you feel like you are really part of something special.