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Cannes Film Festival 2017

The global film industry and world’s media converged on the French riviera on the 17th of May to kick-off twelve days of celebration of the cinematic arts—not to mention all the glitzy pomp and premieres—as the 70th edition of the world’s most prestigious film festival opened in style. Once again filmmakers & shakers from across the globe unleash the fruits of their labour unto the world, giving us an array of likely award-contending films to be released throughout the rest of 2017 and well into 2018 . . . not to mention the awarding of Cannes’ own prestigious prizes.



Image Source: Getty Images

Once again the jury for the main competition—which awarded the Palme d’Or among other prizes—was comprised of an eclectic international selection of filmmakers, presided over by Spanish writer/director and Cannes veteran Pedro Almodóvar and included French actress Agnès Jaoui, American actor Will Smith, Italian director Paolo Sorrentino, German writer/director Maren Ade, French-Lebanese composer Gabriel Yared, Chinese actress Fan Bingbing, South Korean director Park Chan-wook and American actress Jessica Chastain.

The topic of streaming and its potentially revolutionary effect on the industry was on the mind this year, with Netflix boasting two films competing for the prestigious Palme d’Or (Okja, The Meyerowitz Stories), and Jury president Almodovar left no one in doubt about his opinion on the sanctity of the theatre within the movie-going experience, while fellow juror Will Smith expressed a more diplomatic view.

Jury press conference (courtesy of Festival de Cannes)


Premieres & Screenings

Wednesday the 17th

Ismael’s Ghosts (Les Fantômes d’Ismaël)

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As per custom Cannes 2017 was launched with the world premiere of a film out of competition, this year the distinction went to writer/director Arnaud Desplechin’s drama/thriller ‘Ismael’s Ghosts’ (Les Fantômes d’Ismaël), just ahead of its French release—the story of a filmmaker struggling to move on with his life after a loss which still haunts him, only for that haunting to become literal as he’s unexpectedly confronted by the past.

Director Arnaud Desplechin was in attendance with his actors Marion Cotillard, Mathieu Amalric, Hippolyte Girardot, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Louis Garre and Alba Rohrwache, ‘Ismael’s Ghosts’ is out now in France with no UK distribution yet.

Ismael’s Ghosts Cannes interview (courtesy of Festival de Cannes)



Thursday the 18th


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The first full day of events this year culminated with the premiere for the latest Palme d’Or-nominated Todd Haynes drama ‘Wonderstruck’, adapted from the Brian Selznick novel. The intersecting story of two American 12-year-olds who are separated by geography and half a century, only to come together to uncover the mysteries of and answer the questions about their troubled upbringings.

Director Haynes, was in attendance with writer Brian Selznic and stars Jaden Michael, Millicent Simmonds, Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams, ‘Wonderstruck’ is out on the 20th of October in the US with no UK date yet.

Wonderstruck Cannes press conference (courtesy of Festival de Cannes)



Loveless (Nelyubov)

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The Russians also made their presence felt at the riviera on Thursday with their own competition hopeful ‘Loveless’, as Director Andrey Zvyagintsev returns to Cannes after the success of ‘Leviathan’ in 2014. His latest drama chronicles the lives of a self-centred couple intent on moving on with their individual lives after their imminent divorce, only to be confronted by their own loveless upbringing and neglectful treatment of their only son after her disappears. Zvyagintsev was in attendance with stars Alexey Rozin and Maryana Spivak, ‘Loveless’ has no current UK release.

Loveless Cannes trailer (courtesy of The Upcoming)



Blade of the Immortal (Mugen no Jûnin)

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Thursday also saw the return of legendary and prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike to the festival, bringing the stars of his 100th career film Hana Sugisaki and Takuya Kimura for an out-of-competition screening of his samurai revenge epic ‘Blade of the Immortal’. An adaptation of the popular and violent Manga series, telling the story of a girl who enlists the services of a cursed immortal Samurai, who will help her avenge her parents to regain his soul. 

Blade of the Immortal trailer (courtesy of Screen International)



Friday the 19th


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The first Friday of this year’s festival culminated with the premiere for one of two Netflix films competing for the Palme d’Or this year—a fact that has caused controversy with critics and distributors, irked that a film with no theatrical release could win the top prize at Cannes. Nevertheless South Korean director Bong Joon Ho brought his latest creation ‘Okja’ to the world, the tale of a young South Korean girl who embarks on a globe-trotting mission to prevent a multinational corporation and other interests from kidnapping her best friend—a giant creature name ‘Okja’.

The director brought along most of his impressive ensemble cast including Tilda Swinton, Byung Heebong, Steven Yeun, Giancarlo Esposito, Ahn Seo-Hyun, Paul Dano, Lily Collins, Devon Bostic and Jake Gyllenhaal. ‘Okja’ is available to UK Netflix users on the 23rd of June.

Okja Cannes press conference (courtesy of Festival de Cannes)



Jupiter’s Moon (Jupiter Holdja)

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After his riviera success in 2014 with the memorable ‘White God’, writer/director Kornél Mundruczó returns to Cannes competition with another dark Hungarian parable, this time taking aim at the current refugee crisis in Europe. ‘Jupiter’s Moon’ tells the bizarre tale of a young Syrian refugee who develops the power of flight after being shot whilst crossing the border into Hungary, and is aided in his quest to escape and fly to freedom by a doctor with his own noble ambitions.

Actors Merab Ninidze and Zsombor Jéger were on hand along with director Mundruczó, for a film out in June in Hungary but with no UK distribution yet.

Jupiter’s Moon Cannes press conference (courtesy of Festival de Cannes)



A Man of Integrity (Lerd)

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Friday also brought us the Iranian contender (and eventual winner) for the ‘Un Certain Regard’ prize ‘A Man of Integrity’. Director Mohammad Rasoulof’s commentary on the effects of corporate greed and corruption on local communities—told through the story of a fish-farmer in rural Iran who butts heads with a company which begins to assert its influence on the region, to the detriment of the locals. Rasoulof brought his stars Reza Akhlaghirad, Nasim Adabi and Soudabeh Beizaee along to the riviera, for a film with no release dates yet.

A Man of Integrity @ Cannes 2017 (courtesy of Festival de Cannes)



Saturday the 20th

120 Beats Per Minute (120 Battements Par Minute)

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One of France’s several in-competition entries also premiered on Saturday at the Palais des Festivals et des Congres, with writer/director Robin Campillo debuting his drama ‘120 Beats Per Minute’—a story revolving around the AIDS awareness activism in Paris during the early 90s, where a group is revolutionised and threatened by a radical militant who joins their cause.

Campillo was joined in Cannes by his large young cast led by stars Adele Haenel, Antoine Reinartz, Nahuel Perez Biscayart, Aloise Sauvage, Felix Maritaud and Arnaud Valois, ‘120 Beats Per Minute’ is out in August in France with no other confirmed releases yet.

Beats Per Minute on the Cannes red carpet ( courtesy of Festival de Cannes)



The Square

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Swedish writer/director Ruben Östlund returned to the festival on Saturday—for what would prove to be Palme d’Or glory—after the success of 2014’s excellent ‘Force Majeure’, with another existentialist character drama but with a measure of dark social satire. ‘The Square’ is set in the self-important world of modern art and follows the fate of a liberal museum curator, whose altruistic ethos and politically correct sensibilities are challenged by the latest art installation, which unleashes confronting behavior and questions about our nature and its place in modern society.

Östlund brought along the stars of this English-language, German-Scandinavian production, including actors Terry Notary, Christopher Læsso, Elisabeth Moss, Claes Bang and Dominic West, ‘The Square’ is out on the 25th of August in UK and Swedish cinemas.

The Square Cannes interview (courtesy of Festival de Cannes)



Wind River

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Actor-turned-screenwriter Taylor Sheridan (Sicario, Hell or High Water) brought his first directorial effort to compete for Un Certain Regard glory on Saturday with a screening of ‘Wind River’—a crime thriller set in a Native American reservation, where an FBI agent joins forces with a veteran local game tracker to solve the mystery of a local girl’s murder. The film’s stars Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner joined their director on the beachfront, ‘Wind River’ is out on the 4th of August in the US and on the 8th of September in the UK.

Wind River @ Cannes 2017 (courtesy of Festival de Cannes)



Sunday the 21st

The Meyerowitz Stories

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The second of this year’s Netflix Palme d’Or contenders rolled onto the red carpet on Sunday, in the form of Noah Baumbach’s poignant comedy ‘The Meyerowitz Stories’—the story of a quirky and estranged family who come together to honour the artistic life of their imposing father. Baumbach was joined by the senior members of a truly impressive cast, including Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, plus his now regular collaborator Ben Stiller and comedian Adam Sandler, whose already garnered unexpectedly positive buzz for this performance, perhaps ushering-in a non-commercial Sandler renaissance when it does eventually get a release date.

The Meyerowitz Stories Cannes press conference (courtesy of Festival de Cannes)



Redoubtable (Le Redoutable)

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After previously being in Cannes competition—not to mention nabbing the 2012 best directing Oscar for ‘The Artist’—writer/director Michel Hazanavicius stakes his claim for the Palme d’Or with his semi-biographical comedy/drama about legendary French ‘New Wave’ filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard. ‘Redoubtable’ follows the influential director as he begins a love affair with young actress Anne Wiazemsky—20 years his junior—during the existential period in the late 1960s when his Marxist world view and outsider persona was truly crystallised.

Hazanavicius was joined at the riviera by wife and one of the film’s stars Bérénice Bejo, along with co-stars Louis Garrel (playing Godard himself) and Stacy Martin (as Anne Wiazemsky), ‘Redoubtable’ is out on the 13th September in France with no other release dates yet.

Redoubtable press conference (courtesy of Festival de Cannes)



Before We Vanish (Sanpo Suru Shinryakusha)

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Sunday also saw Japanese director and Cannes regular Kiyoshi Kurosawa (no relation to you-know-who) return to the festival with Un Certain Regard contender ‘Before We Vanish’—an alien body-snatching drama centred around a husband who vanishes only to return a different man, coinciding with strange and dark occurrences in a Japanese town which begin to unravel a sinister extra-terrestrial plot. The director was in town with star Ryuhei Matsuda, for a film with no current international release date but out in Japan in September.



Week 2 (Next Page)–>

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