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Pierre Lescure, president of the Festival de Cannes, and Thierry Frémaux, general delegate, announced the Cannes 2021 lineup Thursday from the UGC Normandie theater in Paris. The event live-streamed on the festival’s YouTube channel and on Twitter.
The 2021 competition lineup includes several familiar faces, including Cannes regulars Nanni Moretti, back with his latest, Tre Piani, François Ozon, who returns to the Croisette with Tout S’Est Bien Passé, and Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, returning with his latest, Un Héros (A Hero). Another Cannes veteran, Jacques Audiard, is back on the Croisette with Paris 13th District.
Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, whose Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives won the Palme d’Or in 2010, returns to Cannes competition with Memoria, starring Tilda Swinton. Hungarian filmmaker Ildikó Enyedi, who won the Golden Bear in Berlin for her 2017 feature On Body and Soul, returns to Cannes (she was last there with My Twentieth Century in 1999) with competition title The Story of My Wife.
Acclaimed U.S. indie director Sean Baker (The Florida Project) will premiere his new feature, Red Rocket, in the Cannes competition, as will Justin Kurzel with Nitram and acclaimed French director Bruno Dumont with France.
Sean Pean’s hotly-anticipated Flag Day also landed a prime Cannes slot. The thriller stars Penn alongside Katheryn Winnick, , Eddie Marsan, and Josh Brolin.
Mia Hansen-Love will stroll the Croisette with her French title Bergman Island, Navid Lapid will return to Cannes with competition title Ha’Berech (Ahed’s Knee) and filmmaker Ryusuke Hamacuchi will premiere Drive My Car in competition.
Finnish director Juho Kuosmanen, who won Un Certain Regard The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki returns to Cannes, this time in the competition, with Compartment No. 6, a drama set on the night train from Moscow to Murmansk.
The 74th edition of the festival will open July 6 with the world premiere of Annette, a new musical drama from French director Leos Carax (Holy Motors), starring Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver. The project, about a singer and a stand-up comedian whose lives are forever changed by the birth of their first child, originated as an idea for a concept album by L.A. rock/pop duo Sparks (aka Ron and Russell Mael). The Mael brothers co-wrote the script to Annette with Carax and composed the film’s soundtrack.
Several high-profile titles heading to the Croisette this summer have already been confirmed. Several of which — including Wes Anderson’s star-studded The French Dispatch, and Paul Verhoeven’s same-sex nun drama Benedetta — were initially set to premiere in Cannes 2020 before the festival was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Other films in the running for the 2021 Palme d’Or include Julia Ducournau’s Titane, Kirill Serebrennikov’s Petrov’s Flu, Haut et Fort (Casablanca Beats) by Nabil Ayouch, Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person in the World, La Fracture by Catherine Corsini, Joachim Lafosse’s The Restless, and Lingui from Dry Season director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun.
Out of competition, Cannes will play host to some prominent U.S. titles, including Tom McCarthy’s Stillwater and Todd Haynes’ The Velvet Underground.
Among the highlights of Cannes’ Un Certain Regard sidebar are The Innocents from director Eskil Vogt, After Yang from Kogonada, Commitment Hasan from director Hasan Semih Kaplanoglu, and Noomi Rapace-starrer Lamb from first-time Icelandic director Valdimar Jóhannsson.
Other Un Certain Regard titles include Tatiana Huezo’s Noche de Fuego, Bonne Mère by Hafsia Herzi, Delo (House arrest) from director Alexey German Jr., and Justin Chon’s Blue Bayou.
Other first-time filmmakers bringing their debut features to Un Certain Regard include Laura Wandel with Un Monde, Gessica Généus with Freda and C.B Yi with Moneyboys.
A new section, Cannes Premiere, will feature several high-profile directors, including Andrea Arnold with Cow, Oliver Stone with the documentary JFK Revisited: Through The Looking Glass, and Jane Par Charlotte, the directorial debut of acclaimed French actress Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Another non-competition special screening certain to attract attention is the omnibus project The Year of the Everlasting Storm, which features short films from Laura Poitras, Jafar Panahi, Anthony Chen, Malik Vitthal, Dominga Sotomayor, David Lowery and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
Spike Lee will head up the international jury that hands out the Palme d’Or and other official festival awards. The Oscar-winning filmmaker was set to be jury president for the 2020 festival, which was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Jodie Foster will attend the July 6 opening ceremony and receive a lifetime achievement Palme d’Or. The two-time Oscar winner made her Cannes debut with Palme d’Or winner Taxi Driver (1976), aged 13.
Organizers are determined to hold an in-person event this year. Dates for the 74th festival were pushed back from May to July to allow more time for coronavirus infection rates to decline and vaccination levels to improve. While that has happened, there is still uncertainty around who will be able, or willing, to travel to France this summer.
Under the current plan, European Union member states including France are set to reopen their borders from June 9 to nonessential travelers from several international countries, including the U.S. But concerns over a new, highly contagious variant of the coronavirus led France to recently tighten travel restrictions on visitors from the U.K., who now must quarantine for seven days after entering the country.
Much of the international film industry will be focusing its attention on the pre-festival screenings being held by Cannes market, the Marché du Film, running June 21-25.
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