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Cannes Official Selection Highlights

In its 70th year, the Cannes Film Festival is still young at heart and eager for new experiences. After staying up-to-date with digital and 3D trends, this year will feature its first film in virtual reality. It will also pay tribute to the small screen, by presenting two series (Twin Peaks and Top of the Lake), by the great filmmakers David Lynch and Jane Campion. New modes of film consumption, via the internet and streaming, do not frighten Cannes: two Netflix films are in the competition, although they are ineligible for the Palme d’Or. The stars have arrived and are ready to ascend the red-carpeted steps, let the party continue!


Woody Allen already had his turn, this year a French production opened the Festival with Les Fantômes d’Ismaël (Ismael’s Ghosts) directed by Arnaud Desplechin. “Ghosts” named Marion Cotillard, Mathieu Amalric, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Louis Garrel. A wonderful opening ceremony, presented by Monica Bellucci.

Ismael's Ghosts
Ismael’s Ghosts. Source:

EPIC BIOPICS (18th of May)

Biopics have the wind in their sails. One about Barbara by Mathieu Amalric, Un Certain Regard, which will be competing with Rodin by Jacques Doillon starring Vincent Lindon and a biopic about Godard by Michel Hazanavicius Le Redoutable, with Louis Garrel.

NETFLIX STARS (19th of May)

Sign of the times, two of the most exciting films in the competition, Okja by Bong Joon-ho (with Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal and Paul Dano) and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories (with Dustin Hoffman, Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Emma Thompson, Rebecca Miller and Candice Bergen) are Netflix productions. However, the American video-on-demand platform, does not include cinema releases. The Festival modified (late) its selection conditions, which now stipulate the obligation of release in cinemas.  This may be the first and last year that a Netflix film will be included in the competition.

Okja by Bong Joon-ho with Tilda Swinton
Okja by Bong Joon-ho with Tilda Swinton. Source:


The Festival’s new favorite, Kristen Stewart (Personal Shopper, On the Road, Café Society, Sils Maria …) will present her first short film Come Swim, “A Day in the Life of a Man, told impressionistically and realistically.” It will even be included as one of the 70th Anniversary Events!

DOCS IN STOCK (21st of May)

Since Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 (Palme d’or 2004), no documentary has had the honor of winning a prize. The genre is still well represented at Cannes. We will see several docs again this year, in special sessions. The most anticipated are those by Claude Lanzmann about North Korea (Napalm) and An Inconvenient Sequel, which former US Vice-President Al Gore, a tireless fighter of climate change, will present at Cannes.

An Inconvenient Sequel
An Inconvenient Sequel. Source:


We were amazed at the absence of André Téchiné’s new film, Nos Années Folles, in the first official selection list, as the director is part of the history of the Festival. The film was added out of competition and the Festival will use it to pay tribute to the director of Ma saison préférée (My Favorite Season) and Roseaux Sauvages (Wild Reeds).


After digital and 3D events, this year, the Festival will launch the virtual reality era (VR) with Carne y Arena by Alejandro González Iñárritu (The Revenant, Birdman, Beautiful). A 10-minute film about Mexican immigrants at the border of the United States, which will be seen with special goggles throughout the Festival. Viewers emerge “trembling and impressed” according to Thierry Frémaux.

TV SHOWS (25th of May)

This is a first: two TV series are in the official selection this year. David Lynch, who announced his intention to stop cinema, will show two episodes from Twin Peaks season 3. And Jane Campion, who received 1993’s Palme d’Or for The Piano, will present season two of Top of the Lake with guest star Nicole Kidman.

Top of the Lake with guest star Nicole Kidman
Top of the Lake with guest star Nicole Kidman. Source:


Sofia Coppola had a little disappointment in 2013 with The Bling Ring. She returns to chase the Palme this year, with The Beguiled, her adaptation of the novel by Thomas Cullinan, which was already brought to the big screen by Don Siegel. With an all-star cast: Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Elle Fanning and Kirsten Dunst.

The Beguiled
The Beguiled. Source:

BOLD OZON (26th of May)

Two of his films have already been presented in competition. The third one could be the charm: François Ozon’s The Double Lover is announced as “a Hitchcockian erotic thriller,” featuring the actor introduced in Jeune et Jolie, Marine Vacth, Jérémie Renier and the always troubling Jacqueline Bisset.


After the drama of the Césars, let’s hope that Roman Polanski does not trigger a new scandal! The Franco-Polish director, Palme d’Or winner 2002 for The Pianist, will present his new film out of competition, adapted from the novel by Delphine de Vigan. Based on a True Story, with Emmanuelle Seigner, Eva Green and Vincent Perez.

IN THE ENDMichael Haneke wins? (28th of May)

With two Palme d’Ors (for The White Ribbon and Love), will the Austrian director be the first to receive three? The title of his new film, Happy End, seems like a premonition. It is doubtful, in any case, that it applies to the atmosphere of the film, which one imagines to be far from a light comedy. Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Mathieu Kassowitz star. Like last year, the film that will get the Palme d’Or will be screened at closing of the Festival, after the awards ceremony.

Happy End
Happy End. Source:
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