it's always interesting to go through the competition lineup at Cannes, especially if, like me, you've been attending the fest for quite a few years now. The stakes are always high for world cinema whenever this film fest to end all film fests kicks off mid-may. A good chunk of the European film industry counts on Cannes to produce its fair share of successful titles..
Not just cinephiles but the Cannes committee as well must be biting their fingernails in anticipation for tomorrow’s kickoff, as this latest edition of the festival, coming off an excellent but American-snubbing 2018 edition, will be kicking off with opening night film, Jim Jarmusch's "The Dead Don't Die."
Despite last years' edition giving us "Burning," "Cold War," "BlackKklansman," Shoplifters," it was equaled, maybe even surpassed, by an all-timer lineup at the Venice Film Festival. It seems like Alfonso Cuaron's "Roma," which was supposed to premiere at Cannes but didn’t show up due to Netflix buying its rights, was the whiplash that Cannes head Thierry Fremaux needed to motivate him to stack this year’s lineup with a who’s who of filmmaking talent. Just look at the directors that will compete for the Palme D’or this year: Tarantino, Malick, Dardenne, Loach, Jarmusch, Almodovar, Dolan — this is an edition of the fest that is supposed to have people talking, well, job well done Mr. Fremuax, let’s hope the films measure up in terms of quality.
Another major controversy last year was the outcry that happened about the lack of representation from female directors at festivals, this resulted in Fremaux signing a pledge from the group 5050by2020 for gender parity by 2020.
But according to Fremaux, there should be no pressure to get to 50% of the competition being women filmmakers because, well, what matters to him is, and justifiably so, the quality of the movies being submitted.
“People ask Cannes to do things they don’t ask other festivals to do,” Fremaux said (via THR). “The Cannes Film Festival is asked to be impeccable and perfect. No one has asked me to have 50 percent of films made by women. That would show a lack of respect.”
During this same press conference today, he tackled another controversy, that of French actor Alain Delon being presented an honorary Palme d’Or this year.— the brouhaha surrounding Delon seems to, of course, be from American journalists. who say the actor should not be anywhere near an honorary prize due to allegations that have been made about him and violence towards women, not to mention that he is a fan of right-wing politician Marie Le Pen.
“We’re not going to give the Nobel Peace Prize to Alain Delon,” Fremaux said. “He is entitled to express his views. Today it is very difficult to honor somebody because you have a sort of political police that falls on you.”