The 71st Cannes Film Festival lowdown: Selfie bans, no-show Netflix and deserving directors

The 71st Cannes Film Festival lowdown: Selfie bans, no-show Netflix and deserving directors
Director Nicolas Winding Refn and actress Elle Fanning pose for a selfie during a photo call for the film The Neon Demon at the 69th international film festival, Cannes.

Helen Barlow gives the lowdown on this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Solo: A Star Wars story, starring Alden Ehrenreich as a younger version of the character made famous by Harrison Ford, will be the big Hollywood movie in Cannes this year.

Directed by Ron Howard it marks the third time the festival has welcomed a spinoff of Star Wars, noted Festival director Thierry Fremaux as he announced most, but not all, of this year’s programme, which so far does not include any Irish films.

Cate Blanchett, who interestingly played Ehrenreich’s stepmum in her Oscar-winning Blue Jasmine, will preside over the official competition jury.

Happy couple Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem will open the festival co-starring in the Spanish-language competition entry, Everybody Knows, the international debut of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi (The Separation, The Salesman).

The film follows Cruz’s Laura as she travels with her family from Buenos Aires to her native village in Spain for a family reunion that turns fraught. Don't they all in movies?

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[ENG BELOW] . Film d’Ouverture #Cannes2018 🎞 . Le 71e Festival s’ouvrira le 8 mai prochain avec la projection en Compétition d’Everybody Knows (Todos Lo Saben), le nouveau film d’Asghar Farhadi ! Devant la caméra du cinéaste iranien, l’un des couples les plus emblématiques du cinéma actuel : Penelope Cruz et Javier Bardem ! . [ENG VERSION] . Opening Film #Cannes2018 🎞 . This 71st Festival de Cannes will open on Tuesday, May 8 with the screening in Competition of Asghar Farhadi's new film: Everybody Knows (Todos Lo Saben)! In front of the camera of the Iranian filmmaker, one of the most emblematic couple of modern cinema: Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem! . . . #cannes2018 #cannes71 #festivaldecannes #everybodyknows #penelopecruz #javierbardem #asgharfarhadi #openingfilm #movie #film #cinema #actors #mementofilms

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One of the highlights surely will be Under the Silver Lake from It Follows director David Robert Mitchell. It tells of Andrew Garfield discovering a mysterious woman, played by Riley Keough (Elvis’s granddaughter), who vanishes after frolicking in his apartment’s swimming pool.

As he searches for her in Los Angeles, he descends into the murkiest depths of mystery, scandal and conspiracy.

Overall the films announced so far are mostly political and arty. Spike Lee returns to the Croisette after a 20-year absence with BlacKkKlansman.

“It’s inspired by the news even if it’s a story about the 70s,” notes Fremaux.

“It is an angry Spike Lee telling about the situation of the African-American community at the same time as telling a lot about American history.”

The film follows Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), an African-American police officer from Colorado, who successfully infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan and became the head of the local chapter. Adam Driver and Topher Grace (also in Under the Silver Lake) co-star.

French directors Nicolas Champeaux & Gilles Porte will present The State Against Mandela and the Others, while Germany’s Wim Wenders will deliver a personal rather than biographical documentary, Pope Francis: A Man of His Word.

“Cannes audiences will see it on Sunday notes Fremaux, “but obviously the Pope will not come to Cannes to climb the stairs.”

Italian director Matteo Garrone will world premiere Dogman, and if it’s anything like his landmark 2008 mafia movie, Gomorrah, we will be in for a treat.

Ida director Pawel Pawlikowski likewise has a strong pedigree and his latest movie, Cold War, tells of two star-crossed lovers, and spans several years and countries during the Cold War.

In the English-language Icelandic survival movie, Arctic, former Cannes best actor winner Mads Mikkelsen (he won for The Hunt) should be as hardy as ever as he tries to battle his way to safety.

Like many other potential entries, Fremaux notes that Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote starring Adam Driver, Stellan Skarsgard and Jonathan Pryce, is a strong contender.

“This film is in dispute, it’s in front of the courts so it has not been announced.”

Netflix definitely won’t be there however as the company is not prepared to comply with Cannes/French rules of screening films in cinemas before they are streamed.

Selfies also have been banned on the red carpet, leading Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos to deem the Festival old fashioned, telling Variety, “We hope that they do change the rules. We hope that they modernize.”

As for banning selfies, Fremaux notes that many people are falling down the stairs as they try to take pictures of themselves.

He speaks of a lack of elegance and that the ban makes sense in Cannes as the general public walk the red carpet unlike at other festivals.

“In Cannes we come to see movies and not to see ourselves,” he says.

- Digital Desk

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