From the French Riviera, festival president Thierry Fremaux revealed on Thursday the 18 films in the main competition and the 15 for the more highbrow Un Certain Regard category.
In total, 49 films were announced across different categories – including 12 from women directors, a strong presence of both Netflix and Amazon and the political tone Cannes is known for.
Let’s start with the return of a few acclaimed directors we’ve all missed.
Sofia Coppola’s remake of a Clint Eastwood civil war drama is definitely one to watch, with Colin Farrell playing a wounded soldier who is taken by a group of young women played by Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst.
Coppola has been away from the spotlight for a while, and The Beguiled promises a strong female presence at the Croisette.
As for Kidman, she’ll have not one but four movies opening in the festival this year – fair to say Kristen Stewart is no longer “Queen of Cannes”.
Carol director Todd Haynes is also going for the top prize with Wonderstruck, a coming-of-age story of a boy and a girl growing up in different parts of the US, starring Amy Hargreaves, Michelle Williams and Julianne Moore.
World-renowned filmmakers featuring in the top competition include Austrian giant Michael Haneke, Leviathan author Andrey Zvyagintsev and surrealist director Yorgos Lanthimos for his The Killing Of A Sacred Deer.
Also returning to Cannes in a slightly unexpected way is comedian Adam Sandler, whose latest batch of Netflix-produced flicks have been received with disgust by fans and critics alike.
Sandler hasn’t step foot in Cannes since the Paul Thomas Anderson-directed drama Punch Drunk Love was nominated for the Palm d’Or and won best director in 2002.
This time, he’s coming under the protective guard of indie powerhouse Noah Baumbach, whose The Meyerowitz Stories is the first Netflix film to enter the official competition.
In a nod to the not-so-distant future, Fremaux and festival president Pierre Lescure have previously acknowledged – after much resistance – the need to bring streaming giants to the mix.
This year, Netflix is going for the coveted prize with Meyerowitz and Bong Joon Ho’s Okja, while Amazon will try its luck with Wonderstruck.
“The Cannes Film Festival’s commitment to giving an exceptional platform to distinct stories from the world’s most acclaimed auteurs is second to none,” Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos said on Thursday.
“We are thrilled at the opportunity.”
It’s an important step for Cannes to keep with the changing times – and there’s more.
Fremaux has back down from Cannes’ “no serialised drama” policy, allowing the festival to screen shows like Twin Peaks and Top Of The Lake for the first time.
“The Cannes film festival is a lab,” he said.
“Even series are using the classical art of cinema and the classical narration. David Lynch and Jane Campion are filmmakers and friends of the Cannes film festival, and we are showing their films.”
As for politics, the French Riviera has always been a place of politically-charged cinema – it’s no surprise that this year all fingers point at President Trump.
“Since we have a new surprise every day from Donald Trump, I hope North Korea or Syria will not cast a shadow,” Lescure said, when asked about security threats during the festival.
Showing as special screenings are Al Gore’s follow-up to his climate-change documentary An Inconvenient Sequel and Vanessa Redgrave’s directorial debut Sea Sorrow, exploring the current migrant crisis.
There is also a documentary about North Korea, a feature drama focusing on the Aids crisis and other “very political movies”, according to Fremaux.
The Cannes Film Festival will run from 17-28 May, and Spanish director Pedro Almodovar will chair its jury.
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