Tuesday's 74th Cannes opening ceremony was dominated by "Annette", a musical musical featuring Marion Cotillard, Adam Driver, and Sparks. The opening ceremony also honored Jodie Foster, a 13-year old girl who came to Cannes with Martin Scorsese's taxi driver, for an honorary Palme.
A wide range of film stars gathered in Cannes to celebrate last year's cancellation due to the COVID-19 viruses. Bella Hadid, Jessica Chastain and Pedro Almodovar walked the red carpet. They were surrounded by eager observers and surrounded by tuxedoed photographers.
Foster said in French, "So it feels great to go out."
Lee declared, "Vivre la France!"
Bong, Foster, Foster, and Lee officially declared the festival open in a mixture of Korean, Spanish and French languages. The Cannes Film Festival will attempt to revive global cinema on a large scale over the next 10 days.
Cannes continued to push ahead as usual, with flashy red-carpet performances and a lineup that included many of the most respected filmmakers in the world, such as Asghar Farhadi and Wes Anderson, Mia Hansen Love, and Paul Verhoeven. Every 48 hours festivalgoers are seated shoulder-to-shoulder and mask for screenings.
Lee, who heads the jury that will decide this years Palme, arrived earlier on the day in a "1619” baseball hat. He tried to keep his profile low and kept it casual. He said, "I'm trying not to be a hog," to reporters and encouraged them to ask their fellow jurors questions.
Lee's presence was difficult to miss. The festival poster, which is located at the Palais des Festivals, features Lee's face as Mars Blackmon in his 1986 feature film debut "She’s Gotta have It". Lee is the first Black person ever to lead Cannes' prestigious jury. Lee's first remarks were in response to Chaz Ebert's question. Lee talked about how little has changed from 1989's "Do The Right Thing" which was controversially launched at Cannes.
Lee stated, "When you see brother Eric Garner and king George Floyd killed, lynched," referring to "Do the Right Thing". Lee stated that he would "think and believe" after 30+ years and Black people would no longer be hunted like animals.
The talk at Cannes on Tuesday was largely about injustice and survival. Some were surprised that the festival was still happening after last year's cancellation. Maggie Gyllenhaal will see 24 films in competition to win the Palme over the next 12 day period as part of the jury. She said that it will be her first visit to a theater in 15 months. Song Kang Ho, the "Parasites" actor, said that Song Kang Ho had been invited to serve as a juror.
Song said, "The fact that it's here today, it really is a miracle."
Nevertheless, this year's pomp has been reduced in many ways. The Croisette is receiving less promotion than it did in previous years. Hollywood also has a smaller role. Kleber Mendonca Filho, the Brazilian director ("Bacurau") said that cinema is being threatened in certain parts of the globe. He stated that the Brazilian national cinematheque had been closed and its staff demolished in President Jair Bolsonaro’s Brazil.
Filho said that this is a clear display of contempt for cinematography and culture. He also noted the tragic death of Brazil's COVID-19 victim, which he claimed could have been prevented by a stronger government response.
The conversation started partly because a Georgian journalist asked the jury members about resistance. In 2008, Russia invaded the ex-Soviet republic.
Lee said that "the world is run by Gangsters", naming former U.S. President Donald Trump and Bolsonaro as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The regular issues of concern at Cannes were therefore perhaps overlooked. The jurors were passionate about the future of cinema -- and for a more inclusive future. Although this year's competition lineup features four Cannes-highly acclaimed female filmmakers, they only make up a small fraction of the 24 filmmakers competing for the Palme.
"I believe that when women listen to themselves and express themselves about a very masculine culture, they make movies differently. Gyllenhaal said that stories are told differently. As an example of unfiltered inspiration, she recalled Jane Campion's film "The Piano", which was the only film ever directed by a woman and won the Palme. It just came in straight.
The rise of streaming has also been in the spotlight. Cannes refused to choose films from France for its competition line-up. For many years, Netflix and Cannes have been at odds. On Monday, festival director Thierry Fremaux cited Cannes' track record in discovering filmmakers, and asked: "What directors were discovered by (streaming] platforms?"
Lee, who last year made "Da 5 Bloods", for Netflix, was hardly blinking an eye when asked about it.
Lee said that "Cinema can coexist with screening platforms," and added that there was once a belief in TV killing cinema. This stuff isn't new.