The Cannes Film Festival is preparing for the 75th anniversary edition with a choice of big Hollywood names, active newcomers and previous winners of the Palme d’Or, even as the conflict in Ukraine approaches.
This year the parties are back, and Hollywood heavyweights include Tom Cruise’s “Top Gun Maverick,” which brought the star to Cannes for the first time in three decades, and Luhrman’s base biopic about Elvis starring Austin Butler and Tom Hanks.
“I honestly think it’s one of the best horse warehouses in recent years,” said Scott Roxboro, head of The Hollywood Reporter’s European bureau.
The festival runs from May 17 to 28, restoring the traditional calendar after two years of a pandemic. It was repealed in 2020, and last year postponed to July, when it was held under strict COVID-19 protocols.
“It’s a tradition to have our American friends, let’s not forget that the Cannes Film Festival in 1939 and 1946 was almost jointly built, jointly invented by France and Hollywood,” said at a press conference, festival director Thierry Fremo.
Actor Forrest Whitaker will receive the Festival’s Palme d’Or of Honor for lifetime achievement.
David Cronenberg will mark his return to horror films “Crimes of the Future” starring Vigo Mortensen, Kristen Stewart and Leo Seidou.
Asia will perform well, despite the absence of China, with films by Pak Chan Wook and Hirakadzu Kare Ed in competition, and actor Lee Jeong-zhe from “Squid Games” will premiere his new film “Hunting.”
“Everyone wants to go back to this moment, like this movie awakening here in Cannes,” Roxbour said.
The festival opens on Tuesday with a film about zombies “Final cut” by French director Michel Khazanavičius, who changed the name from “Z as Z” to remove the reference to the letter that became associated with the war in Ukraine.
The festival has banned official Russian delegations from attending the event, but will feature Tchaikovsky’s Wife by Russian director Kirill Serebrannikov, who has spoken openly about the conflict.
Also shown was “Mariupolis 2” by Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravičius, 45, who was killed almost a month ago in Mariupol, a Ukrainian city heavily bombed by Russian troops, almost a month ago while working on the film. Presented by his fiancé Anna Bilobrova, who graduated from the project.
Another Ukrainian recording is Maxim Nakanechny’s debut film “Butterfly Sight”, the story of a young Ukrainian woman who returns to her country after she was captured and released as a result of an exchange of prisoners.
“We will think a lot about cinema, but we will never stop thinking about what is happening in Ukraine,” said Fremo, who was bombarded with questions about the festival’s position on the conflict.