Wednesday, May 11, 2016


It's once again time for that celebration of world cinema in the South of France. The 69th Cannes Film Festival begins today and runs through May 22nd. This year's poster was created using a breath-taking image from Jean-Luc Godard's 1963 film "Contempt".

The latest film from Woody Allen, "Café Society", has been selected to kick-off the fest. This is the third time the director has opened the event out of competition following "Hollywood Ending" in 2002 and "Midnight in Paris" in 2011. Allen has teamed up with Amazon Studios to distribute his forty-seventh feature which stars Jesse Eisenberg as a young man who ventures to California in the 1930's to try his luck in Hollywood. He manages to find love, thrills and danger in this strange town. Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Jeannie Berlin and Steve Carell also star. This year, there will be no Closing Night film. Rather, the winner of the Palme d’Or will be screened.

Fresh off the acclaim for his comeback world-wide smash, "Mad Max: Fury Road" (which had a very successful out of competition screening at last year's fest), Aussie director George Miller will head the jury to select the feature films that will earn prizes. Also serving on the International jury will be French film maker, Arnaud Desplechin, American actors, Kirsten Dunst and Donald Sutherland, Danish actor, Mads Mikkelsen, Hungarian director, László Nemes (who won the Grand Prix last year for "Son of Saul"), Iranian film producer, Katayoon Shahabi, Italian actress/director, Valeria Golino and French performer, Vanessa Paradis.

The movies competing for awards is largely new work from popular film makers who have appeared at previous Cannes festivals like Pedro Almodóvar ("Julieta"), Jim Jarmusch ("Paterson"), Olivier Assayas ("Personal Shopper"), Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne ("The Unknown Girl"), Andrea Arnold ("American Honey"), Nicolas Winding Refn ("The Neon Demon"), Sean Penn ("The Last Face"), Paul Verhoeven ("Elle"), Jeff Nichols ("Loving") and Xavier Dolan ("It’s Only The End Of The World").

William Friedkin, the director of such classics as "The Exorcist" and "The French Connection", will deliver the cinema masterclass this year and a tribute to the late musician and filmmaker, Prince will also be presented. There will be additional high-profile Hollywood films screened out of competition including Jodie Foster's "Money Monster", Steven Spielberg's "The BFG" and Shane Black's "The Nice Guys".