PARIS – Films by David Cronenberg, Park Chan-wook and Kelly Reichardt will vie for the coveted Palme d'Or at a Cannes Film Festival set to unspool against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine.
Cannes film festival artist director Thierry Frémaux and president Pierre Lescure announced the lineup to this year's festival, Cannes' 75th, in a press conference Thursday in Paris. After canceling the 2020 event and hosting a slightly scaled down 2021 edition, the French Riviera festival is looking to reclaim its pre-pandemic allure with some 35,000 accredited attendees expected next month.
The 18 films announced in Cannes' prestigious competition lineup feature new works by several former Palme winners, including Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda ("Broker"), Swedish social satirist Ruben Ostlund ("Triangle of Sadness") and Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne ("Tori and Lokita").
Also in competition: Cronenberg's “Crimes of the Future,” starring Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen; Kelly Reichardt’s “Showing Up,” which reunites her with “Wendy and Lucy” star Michelle Williams; Chan-wook's Korean mystery thriller “Decision to Leave”; and French filmmaker Claire Denis’ “Stars at Noon" with Margaret Qualley.
The 75th anniversary of the French Riviera film extravaganza “is happening in special circumstances: the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, a world that has changed and will keep changing,” Fremaux said.
The biggest Hollywood splashes expected at Cannes had already been announced, including a screening of “Top Gun: Maverick,” which will be accompanied by a tribute to star Tom Cruise. The “Top Gun” sequel will play out of competition, as will Baz Luhrmann's Elvis Presley biopic “Elvis," starring Austin Butler and Tom Hanks.
Organizers will announce the jury at a later date.
Cannes’ international village of flag-waving pavilions annually hosts more than 80 countries from around the world. But organizers earlier said no Russian delegations would be welcome at the this year because of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Russian director, Kirill Serebrennikov, who recently fled Russia for Berlin after several years banned from travel, will premiere his latest film, about composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky
As usual, most of the directors in the competition are men. Only three of the 18 films competing for the Palme d'Or were directed by women. Last year, Julia Ducournau became only the second woman in Cannes history to win the top prize, for her film “Titane," the body-horror thriller.
The festival will open on May 17 with the premiere of the zombie comedy “Final Cut,” by “The Artist” director Michel Hazanvicius. The film had earlier been scheduled to debut in January at the Sundance Film Festival but was pulled when the festival shifted to a virtual edition amid a virus surge.
Ethan Coen will debut his first feature without his brother, Joel, in the out-of-competition documentary “Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind.” Other highlights include George Miller's first film since 2015's “Mad Max: Fury Road": “Three Thousand Years of Longing," a fantasy romance with Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton. And Brett Morgan will premiere “Moonage Daydream," a David Bowie documentary.
As has been the case since 2017, no Netflix films are in competition at Cannes. The streamer and the festival have been an impasse due to the country's rigid windowing rules. Once a film plays in cinemas in France, it can't stream for 15 months. Earlier this year, though, Netflix signed a three-year agreement with French film guilds to spend a minimum of $45 million financing French and European films to play theatrically in France.
The Cannes Film Festival runs May 17-28.