Friday, May 12, 2017


This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival and even before a single film has been screened, the fest has already seen a little controversy. The first had to due with the poster for the event which features actress Claudia Cardinale and the outrage that erupted over minor air-brushing of her body parts. The other is slightly more of concern with the selection of two films in the competition category ("Okja" by Bong Joon-ho and "The Meyerowitz Stories" by Noah Baumbach) that are being distributed by the streaming company, Netflix and how neither film will actually be shown in French theaters after the festival. This is a complicated issue for on one hand, I appreciate Netflix picking up films that may have had difficulty finding a place in this current marketplace. But on the other, I also see a problem with them wanting to be involved with film festivals and award consideration but never planning to have their films see the inside of a movie theater.

Beginning on May 17th, the Opening Night film will be "Ismael’s Ghosts (Les Fantômes d'Ismaël)", the latest from French director, Arnaud Desplechin, a drama starring some big-names in French cinema; Marion Cotillard, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Louis Garrell and Mathieu Amalric. Mr. Amalric also has his recent film as a director, "Barbara" that has been selected to open the Un Certain Regard section of the festival, which places a spotlight on original and different cinematic works.

Nineteen films have been selected for competition to win prizes and they include the work of previous contenders like Sofia Coppola ("The Beguiled"), Yorgos Lanthimos ("The Killing Of A Sacred Deer"), Michel Hazanavicius ("Redoubtable"), Todd Haynes ("Wonderstruck"), Michael Haneke ("Happy End"), François Ozon ("L’Amant Double") and Lynne Ramsay ("You Were Never Really Here").

Pedro Almodovar, the Spanish director, will serve as president of the international jury that will select the prizes. Other jurors include, American actors, Will Smith and Jessica Chastain, Chinese actress, Fan Bingbing, French composer Gabriel Yared and directors, Agnès Jaoui (France), Park Chan-wook (Korea), Paolo Sorrentino (Italy) and Maren Ade, the German filmmaker who made a splash here last year with "Toni Erdmann".

Special 70th anniversary screenings will include episodes of two television series by acclaimed filmmakers; the second season of "Top of The Lake" by Jane Campion and the return of David Lynch's iconic series, "Twin Peaks". The final film by the late Iranian director, Abbas Kiarostami, "24 Frames" and the directorial debut by actress Kristen Stewart with her short film, "Come Swim" will also be shown. Virtual reality film will make it way in to the fest with Oscar-winning director, Alejandro Inarritu's, "Carne Y Arena (Virtually Present, Physically Invisible) and it explores the troubling condition of immigrants and refugees. Special Screenings will include documentaries by actress Vanessa Redgrave, who directs her first, "Sea Sorrow" which shows the desperate reality of the migration crisis in Europe and Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk’s "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power", a follow-up to "An Inconvenient Truth", which looks at Al Gore's continuing mission to battle climate change.