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Politics & the red carpet

Copyright C. DuchèneFrom 17th to 28th May, Cannes’ famous film festival will be taking over the city as thousands of actors, directors, producers and paparazzi arrive on the red carpet of the Palais des Festivals. Pedro Almodóvar is to preside over the 70th edition of the world-renowned event, while Uma Thurman will be president of Un Certain Regard, Sandrine Kiberlain for the Camera d’Or and Cristian Mungiu assumes the role of president of the Cinéfondation and Short Films jury.

Colin Farrell (our cover star for the upcoming May-June edition) appears in two of the films shortlisted for the prestigious Palme d’Or award: Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled and Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Killing of a Sacred Deer. The former is being lauded as an intense sexual drama that is at once a remake of Clint Eastwood’s 1971 film and an adaption of the 1966 novel A Painted Devil by Thomas P. Cullinan. Elle Fanning stars alongside the Irish actor. In Lanthimos’ latest offering, Farrell plays a charismatic surgeon who is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice when his relationship with a teenage boy turns sinister. Nicole Kidman makes her first appearance of four at the festival (in two of which she stars alongside 40-year-old Farrell) here as the surgeon’s wife. 2017 is certainly the year for the Australian actress: other titles in which she features include Coppola’s American civil war drama; Jane Campion and Ariel Kleiman’s series Top of the Lake: China Girl; and John Cameron Mitchell’s sci-fi comedy How to Talk to Girls at Parties (although the latter two are not ‘in competition’). Political themes dominate the 2017 selection. The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw went as far to say that the list had been ‘designed to give the finger to the New Trump Order’.

In Competition films in this ‘genre’ include Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó’s refugee drama Jupiter’s Moon and French director Robin Campillo’s AIDS crisis film 120 Battements Par Minute. Films outside of the competition, but given special screenings, include: Claude Lanzmann’s Napalm (chemical weaponry in North Korea); the directorial debut for Vanessa Redgrave with Sea Sorrow (which provides a historical context for the current migration crisis in the Mediterranean); and An Inconvenient Sequel from Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk a decade on from climate-change documentary An Inconvenient Truth starring Al Gore. Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu will also present a virtual reality experience with Carne y Arena (Flesh and Sand), which depicts immigrants and refugees fleeing across the US border from his native country.

As he unveiled the 2017 selection, festival president Pierre Lescure courted the idea that current affairs had influenced the list, saying, “Since we have a new surprise every day from Donald Trump, I hope Syria and North Korea will not cast a shadow on the festival.” 


Elsa Carpenter