Curtains open on 77th Cannes Film Festival

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As the illustrious Cannes Film Festival unfurls its red carpet once again, the anticipation amongst cinephiles reaches a crescendo. Following the resounding success of last year’s edition, which catapulted several films into the limelight of Oscar glory, the 77th Cannes Film Festival promises to be an event of unparalleled cinematic grandeur.

In retrospect, the echoes of last year’s Cannes still resonate strongly. Films such as “Anatomy of a Fall”, “Killers of the Flower Moon”, and “The Zone of Interest” emerged as darlings of both Cannes and the subsequent Oscars, solidifying Cannes’ stature as a harbinger of cinematic excellence. The festival served as a launchpad for these masterpieces, propelling them towards international acclaim and prestigious accolades.

Curtains open on 77th Cannes Film Festival

Photo: Collected

This year’s Cannes Festival boasts a stellar lineup, with esteemed filmmakers from across the globe converging on the French Riviera to showcase their latest creations. Visionaries such as Andrea Arnold, Francis Ford Coppola, Yorgos Lanthimos, and George Miller headline the roster, promising an eclectic mix of cinematic brilliance.

Francis Ford Coppola’s return to Cannes after half a century, with his magnum opus “Megalopolis”, is a momentous occasion that underscores the enduring allure of this cinematic mecca. The festival’s opening, orchestrated by Quentin Dupieux’s comedy “Le deuxième acte (The Second Act)”, sets the stage for a fortnight of cinematic splendour and intrigue.

Curtains open on 77th Cannes Film Festival

Photo: Collected

At the heart of Cannes’ allure lies its esteemed jury, tasked with discerning the crème de la crème of cinematic achievements. Four-time Oscar nominee Greta Gerwig will serve as president of the Feature Film Jury, making her the first female director from America to do so. The Feature Film Jury also includes Oscar-nominated actress Lily Gladstone, along with actors Pierfrancesco Favino, Eva Green and Omar Sy, filmmakers Juan Antonio Bayona, Kore-eda Hirokazu and Nadine Labaki, and screenwriter and photographer Ebru Ceylan. Their choice for the Palme d’Or will be announced during the closing ceremony on May 24.

Curtains open on 77th Cannes Film Festival

Photo: Collected

In a landmark achievement, the acclaimed Bangladeshi filmmaker Adnan Al Rajeev finds himself at the forefront of cinematic recognition as his co-produced Filipino short film, “Radikals”, secures a coveted nomination for its world premiere at this year’s Cannes. Collaborating with fellow Bangladeshi filmmaker Tanveer Hossain, Adnan brings his creative vision to life in this compelling project. Set to debut at the esteemed 63rd Semaine de la Critique of Cannes, “Radikals” is helmed by Filipino director Arvin Belarmino, who, in tandem with co-writer Kyla Romero, has crafted the narrative.

This year, eight Indian films will grace the festival’s lineup, representing a diverse array of narratives and genres. The films are– “All We Imagine As Light”, “Santosh”, “In Retreat”, “The Shameless”, “Sister Midnight”, “Manthan: A Cinematic Gem Reborn”, “Sunflowers Were The First To Know”, “Kooki”. Bollywood actors Aishwarya Rai and Aditi Rao Hydari are all set to jet off to this year’s edition of Cannes and represent India. They will join the festival as ambassadors of L’Oréal Paris and are expected to highlight the growing influence of Indian cinema around the world. This year’s theme is “Many Ways To Be An Icon”, which revolves around confidence and self-empowerment. Additionally, the “Made in Heaven” famed actress Sobhita Dhulipala will also be walking on the red carpet, representing an ice cream brand. Music icon King is also expected to walk the red carpet.

Photo: Collected

In this latest Cannes edition, a total of 22 films will compete for the Palme d’Or, including “Anora”, directed by Sean Baker, “The Apprentice”, directed by Ali Abbasi, “Bird”, directed by Andrea Arnold, “Grand Tour”, directed by Miguel Gomes, “Kinds Of Kindness”, directed by Yórgos Lánthimos, “Megalopolis”, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, “Parthenope”, directed by Paolo Sorrentino, “The Most Precious of Cargoes”, directed by Michel Hazanavicius, “The Seed of the Sacred Fig”, directed by Mohammad Rasoulof, “The Shrouds”, directed by David Cronenberg, and “The Substance”, directed by Coralie Fargeat, amongst others.

Amidst the fervour of cinematic revelry, Cannes takes a moment to pay homage to legends of the industry. The festival will award three Honourary Palmes this year– to the legendary actress and three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep, to the iconic filmmaker George Lucas, and to the acclaimed Japanese animation studio, Studio Ghibli.

Curtains open on 77th Cannes Film Festival

Photo: Collected

Streep will receive hers during May 14’s opening ceremony, where she will be the guest of honour, Lucas will receive his Honourary Palme d’Or during the Closing Ceremony on May 25. With Studio Ghibli, the festival will mark the very first time that the honour has been bestowed upon a group.

However, this year’s Cannes is not all about glitz and glamour, as there lies darker narratives over the proceedings.

France’s film industry grapples with a belated MeToo reckoning, as accusations against prominent figures like Gerard Depardieu surface, hinting at further revelations on the horizon. Against this backdrop, actress Judith Godreche unveils her poignant short film, “Moi Aussi” (Me Too), shedding light on her own experiences and advocating for others to speak out.

Moreover, in a sobering twist, Iran’s award-winning director Mohammad Rasoulof has just been jailed in his home country on security charges days before he was due to present “The Seed of the Sacred Fig”. Adding to the tumult, festival employees voice grievances, threatening a strike over pay and conditions, potentially disrupting the festival’s proceedings.

The 77th Cannes Festival is scheduled to take place from May 14 to May 25 at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, the traditional home of the festival on the French Riviera. The Closing Ceremony will be broadcast live by France Télévisions in France and by Brut internationally.

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