Parade of stars including Mads Mikkelsen and Tom Cruise, cult filmmakers like Cronenberg or James Gray: the Cannes Film Festival opens its 75th edition on Tuesday, where the cream of world cinema throngs, with the war in Ukraine as a backdrop.
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After an edition under the July sun last year, due to Covid, festival-goers are back in May, and without health restrictions for the first time since the start of the epidemic.
Tom Cruise therefore, for the new Top Gun, Idriss Elba and Tilda Swinton at George Miller, Léa Seydoux and Viggo Mortensen at David Cronenberg, or the promising Austin Butler, who will play the King in a biopic of Elvis signed Baz Luhrman: the carpet red awaits its share of stars.
The actor Forest Whitaker, prize for interpretation in 1988 for his incarnation of the jazzman Charlie Parker in Bird by Clint Eastwood, will also be there, for an honorary Palme d'Or.
Actress Virginie Efira (present in Revoir Paris, out of competition, which addresses the painful memory of the attacks in the capital), will host the opening ceremony on Tuesday evening. Then it's time for the cinema, with Coupez!, a bloody parody of zombie comedy and an ode to cinema made with a lot of love and bits of string, by Michel Hazanavicius - the king of Oscar-winning pastiche for The Artist.
On the competition side, 21 films are in the running to succeed Titane, the gory and uncompromising Palme d'Or by Frenchwoman Julia Ducournau, the second crowned director in the history of Cannes.
When the jury and parallel sections are now tending towards parity, the competition still only offers a small place to female directors: five are in the running, including Claire Denis who finds Robert Pattinson for Stars at noon.
Among the filmmakers expected, from 30 to 84 years old: David Cronenberg (Crash), who once again promises to shake the public with The crimes of the future or James Gray (Ad Astra) who will present Armageddon Time, in New York of the 80s , on the rise of the Trump family.
Beyond the competition, still not open to platforms, fans and moviegoers alike should enjoy dozens of highly anticipated works: new film by George Miller, very far a priori from his Mad Max (Three thousand years waiting for you with Idriss Elba and Tilda Swinton), Marco Bellocchio's return to the years of lead in Italy, the Spanish thriller ace Rodrigo Sorogoyen or the passages to the realization of Lee Jung-jae, star of Squid Game and Jesse Eisenberg (The social network).
On the French side, Léa Seydoux, Louis Garrel or Sandrine Kiberlain will climb the steps several times.
This whole program will have the war in Ukraine as a backdrop, inevitably "in everyone's mind", underlined the general delegate Thierry Frémaux.
Two generations of Ukrainian filmmakers will be present, with the regular Sergei Loznitsa for The Natural History of Destruction, on the destruction of German cities by the Allies during the Second World War, but also the young Maksim Nakonechnyi for Bachennya Metelyka (Un certain regard) .
Cannes should welcome for the first time on its steps Kirill Serebrennikov, who has become a symbol of Russian artists breaking with the regime since he was able to legally reach Europe after the outbreak of the war.
The director had not been able to leave his country for his previous films in competition, Leto and Petrov's fever, but is now free to come and defend Tchaikovsky's wife, the first film screened in competition.
Sign that everything is not yet back to normal on the planet cinema, it was only three weeks before its opening that the Festival finally succeeded in constituting the jury, chaired by the French actor Vincent Lindon, prize of interpretation in 2015 and actor in Titane. He takes over from American director Spike Lee.
At his side, the Anglo-American actress and director Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), the Swedish Noomi Rapace, (Millenium) or the directors Asghar Farhadi, Ladj Ly (Les misérables, jury prize 2019) and Joachim Trier ( Julie in 12 chapters, prize for female interpretation in 2021).
The title of the closing film is not yet known.