From Longoria to Zelenskyj: 75th Cannes Film Festival opens

Updated on 05/18/2022 07:10

  • The Cannes Film Festival will be opened with a speech by Volodymyr Zelenskyj.
  • The first film that follows is a zombie comedy.
  • How does that fit together?

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“Will cinema be silent or talk about it?” That question echoed from a stage at the Cannes Festival Theater on Tuesday evening, posed by none other than Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He was surprisingly connected with a video message during the opening ceremony of the 75th Cannes International Film Festival.

“Hundreds of people die every day,” Zelensky said. “They won’t get up after the final applause.” He asked: “Will cinema be silent or talk about it? If there is a dictator, if there is a war of liberty, everything again depends on our cohesion. We need a new Chaplin to prove that cinema is not silent these days.”

Selenskyj quoted, among other things, from “The Great Dictator”, Charlie Chaplin’s (1889-1977) satire on fascism. After his speech, which lasted several minutes, the audience responded with standing ovations. Hollywood actress Julianne Moore then officially opened the festival.

Opening film is renamed

The war in Ukraine plays a role in Cannes right at the beginning of the festival. He also had an indirect influence on the opening film “Coupez!”, which was shown afterwards. After complaints from Ukraine, director Michel Hazanavicius agreed to rename his zombie comedy “Z (comme Z)” to “Coupez!”. The “Z” has become an international symbol of support for Russia’s war of aggression in recent months.

So now “Coupez!”, which translates as “cuts/cut” and thus alludes to the craft of film. That, in turn, is the theme of this film by Hazanavicius, which begins as a trashy zombie film and then turns out to be a meta-work about filmmaking. The comedy is based on the Japanese box office hit One Cut of the Dead (2017).

The film gives a glimpse behind the scenes

The viewers first see a half-hour, amateur zombie film without editing, in which the actors turn into the undead. Now that this movie within the movie is over, let’s jump back a few weeks and see a Japanese producer commission the zombie movie. For example, she insists that the European characters have Japanese names, the same as in the 2017 Japanese film.

Before the 75th Cannes Film Festival - Opening Film "Coupez!"
Lyes Salem (lr), Raïka Hazanavicius and Simone Hazanavicus a scene from “Coupez!” (undated). The 75th Cannes Film Festival opens with the zombie comedy by French filmmaker Hazanavicius. (to dpa-Korr “Big stars and 15 German co-productions – Cannes Film Festival”)

© dpa / Lisa Ritaine / Cannes Film Festival / dpa

In the second part we see how the film is planned, learn about the actors and finally look behind the scenes of the chaotic film shooting. What initially looked like a very trashy film later turned out to be total improvisation.

Viewers see the scenes from the beginning again, but this time behind the camera. This makes it clear that the director of the zombie film had to deal with all sorts of imponderables during the shoot – actors drop out and have to be replaced spontaneously, others get drunk, the cameraman falls and can’t move anymore.

That makes for a lot of laughs in the cinema. But some jokes are a little overused – there’s a lot of vomit and diarrhea involved. An opening film in Cannes was rarely more slapstick. A strange contrast to the ten-minute speech that Zelenskyj had given shortly before.

Stars walk the red carpet

As expected, international top stars such as Moore, Forest Whitaker and Eva Longoria walked the red carpet before the opening. German celebrities such as Emilia Schüle and Caro Daur were also present.

The nine-member jury, headed by French star Vincent Lindon, who decides on the winner of the Palme d’Or, was also present. The members also include Swedish actress Noomi Rapace and her British colleague Rebecca Hall.

Forest Whitaker receives palm of honor

During the opening ceremony, Whitaker was honored with a Palm of Honor in Gold. It was a “great honor” for him to celebrate “the power of artists” with everyone present today, the actor explained, according to a report by the industry magazine “Variety”.. They are “the world’s torchbearers, telling the story of mankind.”

There are 21 films in competition for the Palme d’Or this year. Also included are David Cronenberg’s “Crimes of the Future” with Kristen Stewart, Viggo Mortensen and Léa Seydoux as well as “Armageddon Time” with Anne Hathaway and Anthony Hopkins.

Out of competition, Tom Cruise will screen his action sequel Top Gun: Maverick on May 18, and Baz Luhrmann’s biopic Elvis will also have its world premiere on the French Riviera. The graduation ceremony will then take place on the evening of May 28th. (spoton/dpa/ari)
© 1&1 Mail & Media/spot on news

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