The Cannes Film Festival kicks off later, one day earlier than normal, with a number of new measures set to ensure it won’t be business as usual. Guests taking selfies on the red carpet risk being shut out of screenings in an attempt to stamp out the practice.
Press screenings for films having their world premieres at the festival will no longer be held in advance. The festival will also work with the French government to set up a helpline for women to report sexual harassment.
It follows allegations that producer Harvey Weinstein raped one actress and behaved inappropriately to others while attending previous festivals. Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sexual activity.
#MeToo and Time’s Up movements
This year’s festival is the first to be held since the entertainment industry became engulfed in a sexual harassment scandal. The #MeToo and Time’s Up movements are sure to be referenced by those attending the event, which runs until May 19.
Among the main competition jury is French actress Lea Seydoux, one of many to accuse Weinstein of making unwelcome advances. The jury will be chaired by Australian Oscar winner Cate Blanchett and include Kristen Stewart, star of the Twilight films. All three stars have worked with Woody Allen, who has been accused by his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow of sexually abusing her as a child. A number of prominent actors have distanced themselves from the director, who has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Female directors in minority
Women outnumber men by five to four on this year’s jury, which also includes Selma director Ava DuVernay and Burundian songwriter Khadja Nin. The panel is completed by Chinese actor Chang Chen and a trio of male directors - France’s Robert Guediguian, Canada’s Denis Villeneuve and Russia’s Andrey Zvyagintsev.
In the competition line-up itself, though, women are very much in the minority. Of the 21 films in contention, only three have female directors - the same number as last year.
Controversy and comebacks
Further controversy swirls around the Kenyan film Rafiki, which will be shown at the festival as part of the Un Certain Regard sidebar. The film, a love story about two young women, has been banned in Kenya due to its lesbian storyline.
And then there is The House That Jack Built, a film about a serial killer (Matt Dillon), the inclusion of which marks Lars von Trier’s return to the festival.
The Danish director was expelled from Cannes in 2011 after claiming to “understand” and “sympathise with” Adolf Hitler at a press conference. This year’s festival will open with Everybody Knows, a psychological thriller starring husband and wife actors Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. It will close next week with The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Terry Gilliam’s oft-postponed retelling of the Miguel de Cervantes classic. That screening might be cancelled, however, if one of its former backers prevails in a legal challenge to have it blocked. Paulo Branco - who was at Gilliam’s side when the project was resurrected in 2016 - claims the film cannot be shown without his permission.
The film sci-fi fans are really looking forward to, though, is Solo: A Star Wars Story, which will have its first screening at Cannes. Expect to see stormtroopers patrolling the red carpet on May 15 - provided, of course, they don’t take any selfies.
A notable absence this year is Netflix, who had two films in competition - Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories - 12 months ago. BBC News
(under the courtesy of dailynews.lk news web)