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Cannes Film Festival: The five key takeaways from this year's line-up

Martin Scorsese's new film, Killers of the Flower Moon with Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone (pictured above) will premiere in the Out of Competition selection in Cannes
Martin Scorsese's new film, Killers of the Flower Moon with Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone (pictured above) will premiere in the Out of Competition selection in Cannes Copyright Alamy - Apple TV+ Paramount Pictures
Copyright Alamy - Apple TV+ Paramount Pictures
By David Mouriquand
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Here's everything you wanted to know about this year's Cannes Film Festival - in five key takeaways, following yesterday's Competition line-up announcement

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The Official selection line-up for the 76th Cannes Film Festival was revealed this week, and it looks like we’re in for a doozy.

Here are the five key takeaways from this year’s Cannes line-up.

A varied Competition

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Scarlett Johansson in Wes Anderson's Asteroid City, which premieres in Competition this yearFocus Features

Festival director Thierry Frémaux announced 52 titles that will debut at this year’s 76th edition.

A current total of 19 films in competition were revealed. They include new works from previous Palme d’Or winners Nuri Bilge Ceylan (About Dry Grasses), Ken Loach (The Old Oak), Wim Wenders (Perfect Days) and Hirokazu Kore-eda (Monster).

The Competition selection feels like an eclectic mix of veterans and young voices, as six filmmakers are in Competition for the first time. They include Tran Anh Hung (La Passion de Dodin Bouffant), Ramata-Toulaye Sy (Banel et Adama) and Karim Ainouz (Firebrand).

@euronews.tiktok The official selection lineup for the 76th Cannes Film Festival has been announced. Here are the highlights. #Cannes#cannesfilmfestival2023#cannesfilmfestival#Film#europe#france#fyp#foryou♬ original sound - Euronews

Other eagerly awaited Competition films are Wes Anderson mega-ensemble piece Asteroid City and Jonathan Glazer’s Holocaust drama The Zone of Interest – which, if his previous films Sexy Beast and the mind-blowing Under The Skin are anything to go by, will be a standout.

All in all, it’s a refreshingly global line-up with Asian and North African filmmakers, as well as films from Senegal and Iran.

Click here for the full selection of this year’s festival.

A new Cannes record for female filmmakers

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Julia Ducournau, who won the Palme d'Or for her film Titane in 2021, which made her the second female director to win the award as well as the first to win the award solo.AFP

The programme announcement yielded an encouraging record, as there are six female filmmakers in Competition this year, including Jessica Hausner with Club Zero, Alice Rohrwater with La Chimera, and French provocateur Catherine Breillat with L’Eté Dernier, her first film in a decade.

There has been steady pressure on film festivals like Cannes and Venice to be more inclusive in its competition selections, especially since the Berlinale is racing ahead with almost 50/50 parity.

Cannes in particular has repeatedly come under fire for its lack of female filmmakers in Competition, especially in 2012 when not a single woman was shortlisted. Frémaux previously admitted that the late great Agnès Varda told him: “I’m not a female director. I am a woman, and I’m a director.” Fremaux added: “She said to me, 'Please, never pick up a film because it’s directed by a woman. Pick up a film because it’s a good film'.”

The topic of quotas at film festivals and awards shows, and gender equality in the arts in general, is an ongoing and heated debate. There are gradually changes in the industry, and while six doesn’t seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, it’s at least better than last year’s five female filmmakers - which was a record at the time.

So, baby steps and all that.

More Competition titles on the way

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Yorgos Lanthimos and Emma Stone, who stars in the Greek filmmaker's new film Poor ThingsAP Photo

It’s worth noting that not all the Competition titles have been revealed, and five or six more films will be announced in the coming days and weeks.

These could include previously expected films by festival favourite Yorgos Lanthimos (Poor Things), Kitty Green's new film The Royal Hotel or even Woody Allen’s latest project (Coup de Chance) - although that last one would certainly court controversy.

More interestingly, there may also be the return of a documentary film in Competition, the first time since 2004 with Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, which won the Palme d’Or.

Documentaries have been hoovering up the awards in recent major film festivals, with Laura Poitras’ fantastic All The Beauty and the Bloodshed winning Venice last year, and Nicolas Philibert’s Sur L’Adamant winning Berlin's Golden Bear in February this year.

Lastly, there are also rumours that Martin Scorsese’s new film, Killers of the Flower Moon, might still make the leap from the Out of Competition category and head to Competition so it can compete for the Palme d’Or.

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Watch this space.

A starry affair

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Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Harrison Ford in the fifth Indiana Jones film, which premieres in Cannes next monthLucasFilm

This year’s Cannes is set to be another paparazzi frenzy. 

They’re clearly trying to outdo last year’s Top Gun: Maverick premiere, which had fighter jets flying over the Palais.

The festival has secured quite the coup with the new Indiana Jones film, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny – so we can expect Harrison Ford on the red carpet.

Joining him will be A-listers like Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Bryan Cranston, Margot Robbie, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert DeNiro, Natalie Portman, Jude Law, and many more. 

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Johnny Depp will also be in attendance, as his comeback film, Jeanne du Barry, a French period drama directed by Maïwenn in which he plays King Louis XV, will be the opening film of the Cannes Film Festival. The production is the first major role for Depp in three years, since his high-profile defamation trial with ex-wife Amber Heard over her claims that he was physically abusive.

The return to cinema

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The red carpet at the Cannes Film FestivalAlamy

The new Cannes Film Festival President Iris Knobloch used her maiden speech to herald the return of the theatrical experience.

She mentioned that studios were moving away from day-and-date practices adopted during the pandemic, and explained that taking the new role was exciting for her as we are, in her opinion, seeing a re-falling in love and a return to the cinema.

From her lips to the late and greatly missed Agnès Varda’s ears.

It’s true that fewer films are coming out simultaneously in theatres and via streaming, and several platforms have announced investments in productions destined for a theatrical release first.

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Cannes remains one of the few major film festivals in the world that doesn’t accept films in Competition unless they are guaranteed a theatrical release in France. This means that Netflix has been absent from the Croisette and prefers to hold off until the Venice Film Festival in September.

Knobloch’s comments place the Cannes Film Festival as the continuing torch-bearer for this type of cinema.

The Cannes Film Festival takes place next month from the 16 – 27 May.

Stay tuned to Euronews Culture for updates and we’ll be on La Croisette this year to give you the scoops, reviews and all the gossip your cinephile hearts desire.

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