DOUBLE DUTY: As the Cannes Film Festival prepares to return in July with a scaled-down attendance, some actresses will be doing double-duty on the red carpet.
Organizers on Thursday revealed the 24 films in competition at the event, scheduled to run from July 6 to 17 after being canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As previously announced, it will open with “Annette,” the first English-language film by French director Leos Carax, starring Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver.
Nicolas Ghesquière will have his work cut out for him, as Léa Seydoux, a Louis Vuitton brand ambassador since 2016, stars in four films, of which three will be competing for the coveted Palme d’Or award.
The French actress joins an all-star cast in Wes Anderson’s eagerly awaited “The French Dispatch,” which was originally due to premiere last year. She stars in French director Bruno Dumont’s “France,” about a celebrity journalist whose life is turned upside down by a freak car accident.
Seydoux will also appear in “The Story of My Wife” by Hungarian filmmaker Ildikó Enyedi. In addition, she stars in Arnaud Desplechin’s “Deception,” which is screening out of competition as part of a new section called Cannes Premières.
The “Bond” girl is familiar with the Cannes red carpet, having served as a jury member in 2018. She won the Palme d’Or in 2013 for “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” alongside director Abdellatif Kechiche and costar Adèle Exarchopoulos.
Tilda Swinton also appears in “The French Dispatch,” as well as Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Memoria,” set in Colombia, while Charlotte Rampling will be seen in Paul Verhoeven’s costume drama “Benedetta,” and alongside Sophie Marceau in French director François Ozon’s “Everything Went Fine.”
Thierry Frémaux, the festival’s artistic director, singled out Luxembourg-born actress Vicky Krieps as a rising star. She will appear with Mia Wasikowska in Mia Hansen-Love’s “Bergman Island,” screening in competition, and in Mathieu Amalric’s “Hold Me Tight,” showing out of competition as part of Cannes Premières.
Krieps, who often wears Chanel on the red carpet, has several other big-budget productions in the pipeline, including M. Night Shyamalan’s “Old” and Barry Levinson’s “The Survivor,” as well as “Sexual Healing,” Julien Temple’s film focusing on Marvin Gaye’s later years in Europe.
The films in competition include two American movies: Sean Penn’s “Flag Day,” which features his children Dylan and Hopper Penn, and “Red Rocket” by Sean Baker, the director of independent movies “Tangerine” and “The Florida Project.” Spike Lee will head the jury.
The official selection also includes Todd Haynes’ documentary on The Velvet Underground, and Tom McCarthy’s feature film “Stillwater” with Matt Damon and Abigail Breslin.
Oliver Stone will present a shortened version of his new documentary “JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass.” Meanwhile, Charlotte Gainsbourg will be making her directorial debut with “Jane by Charlotte,” a documentary about her mother Jane Birkin.
“Cinema is not dead, and the extraordinary and triumphant return of audiences to movie theaters in France and other countries was the first piece of good news. We hope the Cannes Film Festival will be the second,” Fremaux said, though he added that some directors may not be able to attend due to ongoing travel restrictions.
Pierre Lescure, president of the Cannes Film Festival, said participants without a vaccine would have to get tested for COVID-19 every 48 hours. Although France will lift its curfew on June 30, and indoor dining will be allowed by the time the festival kicks off, organizers will ensure all events respect safety measures.
“We’ll continue to implement social distancing and other sanitary precautions, even if we hope it will be possible to walk around Cannes and along the beach from time to time without having to wear a mask. But we’re not going to organize a load of parties,” Lescure said.
“Together with the Cannes city authorities, we are organizing flows as best we can, since this will be the first time that the town welcomes a smaller number of festivalgoers — though we still expect several tens of thousands — and tourists at the same time,” he added.
“We all want to enjoy the pleasure of cinema, but also to show that the first global cultural event of the post-pandemic era is taking place with little or no negative fallout,” he concluded.
One Cannes tradition has been nixed: the traditional cheek kisses exchanged between organizers and stars at the end of the red carpet. “We’re used to kissing at the top of the steps. Well, we won’t kiss anymore, but the sentiment will be the same,” said Frémaux.