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There was no shortage of A-list talent in the 2021 Cannes official selection, unveiled on Thursday by festival president Pierre Lescure and general delegate Thierry Frémaux.
Among the titles in competition, Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch — which was already revealed as getting its world premiere, having first planned to screen in 2020 — offers the director’s usual red carpet busting ensemble of stars, including Timothee Chalamet, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Benicio Del Toro and Owen Wilson.
Although it didn’t appear in the festival’s official announcement, Flag Day — directed by and starring Sean Penn, alongside Miles Teller and Josh Brolin — was also named as a competition title by Fremaux, who later clarified that “some films” weren’t in the press release.
Elsewhere, Tom McCarthy’s crime-thriller Stillwater — starring Matt Damon and Abigail Breslin — will play on the Croisette out of competition.
In the newly-announced out-of-competition Premiere section, Eve Husson’s family drama Mothering Sunday offers a bumper crop of British names, including Odessa Young, Josh O’Connor, Olivia Colman, Colin Firth and Sope Dirisu.
But the question remains whether any of these stars will actually get to climb the steps of the Palais to greet Frémaux and Lescure, with current COVID-19 restrictions for those travelling from the U.S. or U.K. making a visit to France looking exceedingly difficult, if not impossible.
For U.K. travelers, fears over a growing new coronavirus variant saw France last week announce a seven-day quarantine for Brits on arrival, while also demanding that visitors had “compelling” reasons to visit the country. There are hopes that special permission might allow festival delegates to bypass the mandatory quarantine without self-isolation, but nothing is known as yet, and this also doesn’t counter current rules in the U.K. stating that those travelling from France have to self-isolate for 10 days.
From the U.S., while France borders currently remain closed to those from outside the European Union, these restrictions are expected to lift on June 9 so long as people have a “health pass,” likely to involve a vaccine certificate and/or negative COVID test.
However, festival president Lescure noted that U.S. restrictions that might add complications for the return leg of any Cannes trip.
“We, Europe, decided to welcome the Americans if they have the health pass, but we don’t know if the return will be as easy, as simple and as organised,” he said in the press conference. However, he suggested that U.S. President Joe Biden’s upcoming European visit, scheduled for later this month, “should help clarify things.”
With just over a month before the Cannes Film Festival kicks off on July 6 and updates regarding travel restrictions set to go down to the wire, it’s looking like many fight and hotel bookings are likely to be very last minute affairs.
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