Driver and Marion Cotillard launch Cannes Film Festival

The Festival, which could not be held last year, wants to make up for lost time: it selected 24 films – the highest number in recent years – among the best of world cinema shot before and during the pandemic.

The contest will start with the first film in English by the French Leos Carax (“The Lovers of the Pont Neuf”), a musical that takes improbable directions from the hand of the American actor Adam Driver and the French Marion Cotillard, Oscar-winning for another musical role (” Life in Pink”).

Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard y Leos Carax AFP

American actor Adam Driver, French actress Marion Cotillard and French director Leos Carax pose during a photocall for the film “Annette” at the 74th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on July 6, 2021 .

Valery HACHE / AFP

– “Relief and excitement” –

“The covid is still there, but being present at the return of the festival is a great feeling of relief and excitement,” Driver confided to AFP.

“Annette” is “perfect” to open the contest, since “it invites the spectators to vibrate with a great show,” said Cotillard, who along with Driver play a glamorous celebrity couple who descend into hell, in a plot with clear allusions to #MeToo.

Carax’s film originated in 2013, precisely in Cannes, where the French director coincided with the Californian group Sparks, formed by the septuagenarian brothers Ron and Russell Mael Sparks. Carax confessed his admiration to them and the duo subsequently decided to send him their album in preparation.

Hence “Annette” was born, with a script and music by this band that has marked the alternative scene since the 1970s.

Driver, however, could miss the screening, as he jokingly commented: “I usually go (to the premiere), but when the lights go out, I run away, usually to an office of a member of the Festival. I play with the stapler or the adhesive tape and come back to when the lights come on and I pretend I was there. “

Marion Cotillard AFP

French actress Marion Cotillard poses during a photocall for the film "Annette" at the 74th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on July 6, 2021.

French actress Marion Cotillard poses during a photocall for the film “Annette” at the 74th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on July 6, 2021.

Valery HACHE / AFP

“Annette” is competing for the Palme d’Or to be awarded on July 17 by the jury chaired by American director Spike Lee, the first African-American to assume that position.

For its part, Latin America was left out of the top feature film competition, although “Memoria”, by Apichatpong Weerasethakul and starring Tilda Swinton, is set in Colombia.

Two Brazilian shorts that aspire to the Palme d’Or stand out at the same time, while that country will also be represented on the jury by director Kleber Mendonça Filho, who is finishing his quarantine in France to attend the festival.

“We have seen many quality Brazilian films” and the presence of the filmmaker is a way to “pay tribute” to the cinema of Brazil and to the country “hard hit” by the pandemic, said the general delegate of the Festival, Thierry Frémaux on Monday.

– Bathers and red carpet –

The Festival will also award the Palme d’Or of Honor to actress and director Jodie Foster, who first set foot in Cannes as a child 45 years ago, after having acted with Robert De Niro in “Taxi Driver”.

The opening ceremony will also be attended by Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, two years after he missed the Palme d’Or with “Pain and Glory”. The award was finally won by the South Korean “Parasites”.

Although celebrities will be able to remove their masks to pose for the cameras on the red carpet, the Festival established strict access conditions: Europeans vaccinated or with natural immunity must present the EU-recognized health document and the rest of the audience must take a PCR test every 48 hours. However, the rooms will not have a capacity limitation.

The pandemic restrictions will make the festival less crowded. But the nearly 30,000 attendees will coexist with the thousands of vacationers who took to the beaches of this luxurious town on the Côte d’Azur, a first since the event is usually held in May.

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Driver and Marion Cotillard launch Cannes Film Festival