Sylvie Claire / July 7, 2021
Four very big names in cinema - Pedro Almodovar, Spike Lee, Jodie Foster and Bong Joon-ho - joined their voices to officially kick off the Cannes Film Festival and get the dream factory going again, after long months marked by the pandemic.
In this year of transition, cinema has been my lifeline, declared in her perfect French the American actress and director Jodie Foster, who was awarded an honorary Palme d'Or by the Spaniard Pedro Almodovar. This Cannes faithful, who himself has never been crowned, wished to be present for the return of cinema, of the festival, and to be able to celebrate the film d'auteur on a big screen.
They were joined by the jury president, New Yorker Spike Lee, in a fuchsia pink suit that matched his glasses, and director Bong Joon-ho, winner of the Palme d'Or for Parasite in 2019, the last year it could be awarded before the pandemic.
In the afternoon, Cannes had seen its first ascent of the steps under Covid, with the authorization to remove the masks for the celebrities, from Jessica Chastain to Adam Driver, through the singer Angèle or Mylène Farmer, member of the jury. In the euphoria, a lot of liberties were taken with the barrier gestures, the time of a kiss or a hand kiss.
After the ceremony, the competition officially began with the screening of an opening film in the form of fireworks, Annette, a rock opera signed by a director as cult as he is rare, Leos Carax, which is being released simultaneously in French theaters.
After months of confinement and hindered social life, this beautiful story of tragic love, a work entirely sung, with plastic beauty and powerful breath, allows the Croisette, for its great reunion, to vibrate and to attend a great show, said to AFP Marion Cotillard.
The competition continues on Wednesday with the official screenings of François Ozon's Tout s'est bien passé, starring André Dussolier and Sophie Marceau, about assisted suicide, and the new film by Israeli Nadav Lapid, Ahed's Knee.
The jury, which will see a total of 24 films in the running for the Palme d'Or, and will have to decide between them by July 17, also took advantage of this opening day to give a political tone to this edition.
This world is run by gangsters, said Spike Lee, the first black filmmaker to preside over it, attacking in particular the Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro, in a press conference, black cap with 1619 on his head, in reference to the year of arrival of the first slaves in the United States.
He first spoke about the fate of black people in the United States, the heart of his political and artistic commitment, which he has constantly explored in his films, including Do The Right Thing. More than 30 fucking years after this film, you'd think that black people would have stopped being hunted down like animals, he said.
Several members of the jury spoke, from the Brazilian director Kleber Mendonça Filho on the political situation in his country, to the actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, on the place of women in cinema, to the French Mélanie Laurent who made the connection with ecology.