Cannes Film Festival announces selections for 2021 competition

The Cannes Film Festival returns this year for its 74th edition, running from July 6-17 after the Covid-19 pandemic robbed the world’s leading film festival of its 2020 edition.

A slew of previous Palme d’Or winners and arthouse favorites return to Cannes as organizers announced the official rosters for the competition on Thursday.

Among the 24 directors whose films go to the Cote d’Azur are Sean Penn for his new film “Flag Day”, the Italian Nanni Moretti with “Tri Piani” and the French Jacques Audiard with “Les Oympiades”.

They join three major authors already announced: Wes Anderson for “The French Dispatch”, Paul Verhoeven for “Benedetta” and Leos Carax for “Annette”.

“Annette” is French arthouse darling Carax’s first film in ten years, and his first in English. Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard play a famous couple waiting for a mysterious child.

Dutch filmmaker Verhoeven – who has often combined art and lust with films like “Basic Instinct”, “Showgirls” and “Elle” – is recognized for his latest offering “Benedetta”, about a lesbian nun in a 17th-century Italian monastery.

Normally the festival was scheduled for May, this year the festival was postponed to July. France will have lifted the Covid-19 curfew by then, although travelers may still face quarantine measures, including those from Britain.

Festival director Thierry Frémaux said there will be the usual parties and dinners, as well as events to give holidaymakers on the Cote d’Azur a chance to enjoy the event, such as displays on the beach.

However, the precautions for Covid-19 remain in effect. “We won’t kiss on top of the” [red carpet] steps,” said Frémaux.

Oscar winner Jodie Foster, who walked the Cannes red carpet for the first time as a 13-year-old when she starred in ‘Taxi Driver’, will receive an honorary Palme d’Or.

A silver lining of last year’s disruption was a backlog of cinematic gold that gave organizers some 2,000 films to wade through as they made their 74th edition roster.

Another former Palme d’Or winner returning to the Croisette is Thai Apichatpong Weerasethakul with his first English language film “Memoria”, starring Tilda Swinton.

Iran’s two-time Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi also returns with “A Hero”, while famed Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov – who has been under considerable pressure from the authorities of late – takes on “Petrov’s Flu”.

These are the 24 films competing for the prestigious Palme d’Or prize, awarded by a jury led by American director Spike Lee.

– “Annette” by Leos Carax, France

– “The French Dispatch” by Wes Anderson, USA

– “Benedetta” by Paul Verhoeven, Netherlands

– “A Hero” by Asghar Farhadi, Iran

– “Tout s’est Bien Passé” (Everything went well) by Francois Ozon, France

– “Tre Piani” (three floors) by Nanni Moretti, Italy

– “Titane” (Titan) by Julia Ducournau, France

– “Red Rocket” by Sean Baker, USA

– “Petrov’s Flu” by Kirill Serebrennikov, Russia

– “Par un Demi-Clair Matin” (now known as “France”) by Bruno Dumont, France

– “Nitram” by Justin Kurzel, Australia

– “Memoria” by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand

– “Lingui” by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, Chad

– “Les Olympiades” (13th arrondissement of Paris) by Jacques Audiard, France

– “Les Intranquilles” (The Restless Ones) by Joachim Lafosse, Belgium

– “La Fracture” by Catherine Corsini, France

– “The worst person in the world” by Joachim Trier, Norway

– “Compartment No. 6” by Juho Kuosmanen, Finland

– “Casablanca Beats” by France-Morocco Nabil Ayouch

– “Ahed’s Knee” by Nadav Lapid, Israel

– “Drive My Car” by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Japan

– “Bergman Island” by Mia Hansen-Love, France

– “My wife’s story” by Ildiko Enyedi, Hungary

– “Flags Day” by Sean Penn, USA

( Jowhar with AFP and REUTERS)

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