Cannes Film Festival opens

Before the official opening, the Cannes Film Festival starts with a film about conflicts in South Sudan on a serious note. The jury press conference is also about politics.

the essentials in brief

  • The red carpet has been rolled out, the city is lined with fans and film posters: the Cannes Film Festival has started.

Oscar winner Forest Whitaker heralded the celebrity round on the Côte d’Azur on Tuesday.

He presented the film he produced, “For the Sake of Peace”, about the political situation in South Sudan – and thus put a serious topic up for discussion. Political tones were also struck in the press conference at the opening.

Rebecca Hall: Long road to equality

The lack of female directors at the film festival has repeatedly been criticized in the past. When asked about this on Tuesday, British director and actress Rebecca Hall – part of the Cannes jury this year – said she still does not see equality between the sexes and minorities in the film industry.

“I think we’ve made progress,” said the 40-year-old. “But it’s not done yet.” She believes that creating equality is “an ongoing process” – at the Cannes Film Festival, but also in the scene as a whole.

Hall is one of nine jury members who select the Palme d’Or, the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival. American director and screenwriter Jeff Nichols is one of them. He said he expected issues such as minority perspectives to play a role in the jury’s discussions.

One way to increase diversity is to look at films with relevant themes and then raise funds for them, Whitaker said. He received the Golden Palm of Honor at this year’s film festival.

His film “For the Sake of Peace”, shown in Cannes on Tuesday, follows two people working for peace in South Sudan. “South Sudan is the youngest country in the world at war with itself, with more than 350,000 people killed since its inception in 2011,” reads the film’s description. Violence rages in the country, often between different ethnic groups, often resulting in deadly attacks. One of the film’s main characters is a young woman trying to bring peace to two warring groups.

Renaming of the opening film

The film ran on Tuesday morning as a so-called special screening – only in the evening will the film festival start with the film “Coupez!” to be opened by Michel Hazanavicius. “Coupé!” is a comedy set in a disused factory. A low-budget zombie film is to be shot there, which is getting out of hand.

The film by Hazanavicius (“The Artist”) is an adaptation of the Japanese cult film “One Cut of the Dead”. Because of the war in Ukraine, the film has a different title than originally planned. After complaints from Ukraine, Hazanavicius agreed to rename “Z (comme Z)” to “Coupez!”.

Cannes is considered one of the most important film festivals in the world, it lasts until May 28th. It could not take place in 2020 due to the pandemic, in 2021 it was postponed from May to July. This year, it seems, the pandemic is no longer playing such a big role. The organizers ask visitors to wear masks and even distribute masks with the film festival’s logo. However, at least at the beginning of the festival, these were not visible on many faces.

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