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CANNES 2021

The Cannes behemoth is back with 24 Palme d’Or hopefuls

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- 16 filmmakers who have already taken part in the competition are battling it out with eight new entrants; 14 Europeans will be vying for Cannes’ coveted top prize

The Cannes behemoth is back with 24 Palme d’Or hopefuls
Titane by Julia Ducournau

An insatiable appetite and a sheer show of strength – after the pandemic forced it to go hungry in absentia in 2020, an unfortunate situation that was cushioned to a certain extent by its proprietary label, the Cannes Film Festival is preparing to roll up in grand style onto the Croisette for its 74th edition (6-17 July), brandishing a well-endowed official selection, showcasing the crème de la crème of current world arthouse cinema and stealing the limelight from its forthcoming rival events.

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After having upended the order of things in the industry right up until the last minute, keeping professionals on their toes until the middle of the night yesterday, General Delegate Thierry Frémaux unveiled an extremely copious line-up at midday today in Paris, which takes in 24 features in competition. Standing out among them are three former winners, with Italy’s Nanni Moretti (Palme d’Or in 2001 and Best Director Award in 1994 – his eighth time taking part in the competition), France’s Jacques Audiard (Palme d’Or in 2015, Grand Prix in 2009 and Best Screenplay Award in 1996 – his fifth time taking part) and Thaliand’s Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Palme d’Or in 2010 – his third time taking part).

They are joined by 13 hopefuls who are already familiar with the dizzy heights of the Cannes competition, a cohort that sees highly reputed and established filmmakers rubbing shoulders with rising stars: Iran’s Asghar Farhadi (Best Screenplay Award in 2016 – third time taking part), Dutch helmer Paul Verhoeven (third time), the USA’s Sean Penn (third time), his fellow countryman Wes Anderson (second time), Chad’s Mahamat Saleh Haroun (Jury Prize in 2010 – third time), Russia’s Kirill Serebrennikov (second time), Norway’s Joachim Trier (second time), Japan’s Ryusuke Hamaguchi (second time), Australia’s Justin Kurzel (second time), and France’s Bruno Dumont (Grand Prix in 1999 and 2006 – fourth time), François Ozon (fourth time), Catherine Corsini (second time, following her first visit in 2001) and Leos Carax (third time, and whose film is set to open the festival).

Eight new entrants (all of whom have already made a big splash with their previous works) round off the enticing batch of Palme d’Or hunters, whose movies will be weighed up by the jury chaired by Spike Lee: Hungary’s Ildiko Enyedi (Golden Bear at Berlin in 2017), Finland’s Juho Kuosmanen, Belgium’s Joachim Lafosse, Morocco’s Nabil Ayouch, Israel’s Nadav Lapid (Golden Bear at Berlin in 2019), the USA’s Sean Baker, and France’s Mia Hansen-Løve and Julia Ducournau.

The list of titles on the menu could still be fleshed out in the coming days, with several films having been presented at the last minute (Park Chan-wook? Claire Denis? Gaspar Noé? Mamoru Hosoda?).

Looking at the geographical side of things, Europe is clearly predominant on the 2021 competition line-up, with 14 titles in the running for the Palme d’Or: seven French helmers (Hansen-Løve, Ducournau, Corsini, Audiard, Dumont, Ozon and Carax – a pronounced increase over the normal number, which will probably set tongues wagging, but which simultaneously demonstrates the tremendous quality of French arthouse cinema and is a bonus in terms of the visibility conferred by Cannes upon a national film industry that has trudged on resiliently through the health crisis), one Italian (Moretti), one Hungarian (Enyedi), one Dutchman (Verhoeven), one Belgian (Lafosse), one Norwegian (Trier), one Finn (Kuosmanen) and one Russian (Serebrennikov).

Asia is pinning its hopes on four films (Weerasethakul, Farhadi, Hamaguchi and Lapid), while North America can only boast three representatives (Anderson, Penn and Baker) owing to a very low number of submissions (a consequence of the release schedules, the fall in production linked to the pandemic, and a platform-related policy that is not really compatible with the goal of protecting the movie theatres, something that is staunchly defended by Cannes). Africa enjoys a strong presence with two contenders for the Palme d’Or (Haroun and Ayouch), and Oceania also has one film (Kurzel). Not one single movie from Latin America has made the cut, however. Lastly, it is worth noting that four female directors (three of whom are French) will be in competition this year.

Not particularly well stocked in terms of blockbusters, the Official Selection includes among its out-of-competition titles Stillwater by the USA’s Tom McCarthy, the documentary on the Velvet Underground by his fellow countryman Todd Haynes, and three French flicks (one of which is by Emmanuelle Bercot), plus the 18 films in Un Certain Regard (including features by Semih Kaplanoglu, Aleksey German Jr, Eskil Vogt, Valdimar Jóhannsson and so on), centring on young cinema and the most formally rigorous works that are keen to explore new styles (read news). The brand-new Cannes Premiere showcase will present works by Arnaud Desplechin, Kornel Mundruczo, Hong San-soo, Andrea Arnold, Mathieu Amalric and Eva Husson out of competition at the Debussy (read news). Finally, among the Special Screenings we find, amongst others, the omnibus effort The Year of Everlasting Storm, plus docs helmed by Sergei Loznitsa, Oliver Stone, Karim Aïnouz and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Here is the list of films announced:

Competition

Annette [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Leos Carax (France/Germany/Belgium/Switzerland/Mexico/Japan) (Opening film)
A Hero [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Asghar Farhadi
film profile
]
- Asghar Farhadi (Iran/France)
Everything Went Fine [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 - François Ozon (France)
Tre piani [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Nanni Moretti (Italy/France)
Titane [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Julia Ducournau, Vincent Li…
film profile
]
- Julia Ducournau (France/Belgium)
The French Dispatch [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Wes Anderson (USA/Germany)
Red Rocket - Sean Baker (USA)
Petrov's Flu [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Kirill Serebrennikov (Russia/Switzerland/France/Germany)
France [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Bruno Dumont
film profile
]
- Bruno Dumont (France/Belgium)
Nitram - Justin Kurzel (Australia)
Memoria [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Colombia/Mexico/France/UK/Thailand/Germany)
Lingui [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, Achou…
film profile
]
- Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (France/Germany/Belgium)
Paris 13th District [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 - Jacques Audiard (France)
The Restless [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Joachim Lafosse
film profile
]
 - Joachim Lafosse (Belgium/France/Luxembourg)
The Divide [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Catherine Corsini
film profile
]
- Catherine Corsini (France)
The Worst Person in the World [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Joachim Trier
film profile
]
- Joachim Trier (Norway/France/Denmark/Sweden)
Compartment No.6 [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Juho Kuosmanen
film profile
]
- Juho Kuosmanen (Finland/Estonia/Germany/Russia)
Casablanca Beats [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 - Nabil Ayouch (Morocco/France)
Ahed’s Knee [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nadav Lapid
film profile
]
- Nadav Lapid (Israel/France/Germany)
Drive My Car - Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Japan)
Bergman Island [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Mia Hansen-Løve
film profile
]
- Mia Hansen-Løve (France/Belgium/Sweden/Germany)
Benedetta [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Paul Verhoeven (France)
The Story of My Wife [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ildikó Enyedi
film profile
]
- Ildikó Enyedi (Hungary/Germany/France/Italy)
Flag Day - Sean Penn (USA)

Out of Competition

Peaceful [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Emmanuelle Bercot (France)
Emergency Declaration - Han Jae-Rim (South Korea)
The Velvet Underground - Todd Haynes (USA)
Stillwater - Tom McCarthy (USA)
Aline, the Voice of Love [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Valérie Lemercier (France)
BAC Nord [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Cédric Jimenez (France)

Midnight Screenings

Bloody Oranges [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jean-Christophe Meurisse
film profile
]
- Jean-Christophe Meurisse (France)

Special Screenings

Mariner of the Mountains [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
- Karim Aïnouz (Brazil/Algeria/France)
Black Notebooks - Shlomi Elkabetz (Israel/France)
H6 [+see also:
trailer
interview: Yé Yé
film profile
]
- Yé Yé (France)
Babi Yar. Context [+see also:
trailer
interview: Sergei Loznitsa
film profile
]
- Sergei Loznitsa (Netherlands/Ukraine)
The Year of the Everlasting Storm - Jafar Panahi, Anthony Chen, Malik Vitthal, Laura Poitras, Dominga Sotomayor, David Lowery, Apichatpong Weerasethakul (USA)

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