The Cannes Film Festival will return to its pre-pandemic look

The films of David Cronenberg, Park Chan-wook and Kelly Reichardt will compete for the coveted Palme d’Or at a Cannes Film Festival which will take place against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine.

Cannes festival artistic director Thierry Fremaux and president Pierre Lescure announced the lineup for this year’s festival, the 75th Cannes Film Festival, at a press conference in Paris on Thursday. After canceling the 2020 event and hosting a slightly reduced 2021 edition, the Côte d’Azur festival is looking to regain its pre-pandemic allure with some 35,000 accredited spectators expected next month.

The 18 films announced in the prestigious Cannes competition program feature new works by several former Palme winners, including Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda (“Broker”), Swedish social satirist Ruben Ostlund (“Triangle of Sadness” ) and Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (“Tori and Lokita”).

Also in competition: Crimes of the Future by Cronenberg, with Lea Seydoux, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen; Kelly Reichardt’s “Showing Up,” which reunites her with “Wendy and Lucy” star Michelle Williams; Chan-wook’s Korean mystery thriller “Decision to Leave”; and “Stars at Noon” by French filmmaker Claire Denis with Margaret Qualley.

The 75th anniversary of the French Riviera film extravaganza “takes place under special circumstances: the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, a world that has changed and will continue to change,” Fremaux said.

The biggest Hollywood splashes expected at Cannes had already been announced, including a screening of “Top Gun: Maverick,” which will be accompanied by a tribute to star Tom Cruise. The “Top Gun” sequel will play out of competition, as will Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic “Elvis,” starring Austin Butler and Tom Hanks.

The organizers will announce the jury later.

The international village of Cannes, made up of pavilions displaying flags, welcomes more than 80 countries from all over the world each year. But organizers said earlier that no Russian delegation would be welcome this year due to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov, who recently fled Russia to Berlin after years of a travel ban, will present his latest film about composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky

As usual, most of the directors in competition are men. Only three of the 18 films in competition for the Palme d’Or were directed by women. Last year, Julia Ducournau became the second woman in Cannes history to win the top prize, for her film ‘Titane’, the body horror thriller.

The festival will open on May 17 with the premiere of zombie comedy “Final Cut,” from “The Artist” director Michel Hazanvicius. The film was previously scheduled to debut in January at the Sundance Film Festival, but was pulled when the festival moved to a virtual edition amid a virus surge.

Ethan Coen will debut his feature debut without his brother, Joel, in the out-of-competition documentary “Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind.” Other highlights include George Miller’s first film since 2015’s ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’: ‘Three Thousand Years of Longing,’ a fantasy romance starring Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton. And Brett Morgan will premiere “Moonage Daydream,” a David Bowie documentary.

As has been the case since 2017, no Netflix film is in competition at Cannes. The streamer and the festival have been at an impasse due to the country’s rigid windowing rules. Once a film plays in cinemas in France, it cannot be shown for 15 months. Earlier this year, however, Netflix signed a three-year deal with French film guilds to spend a minimum of $45 million to fund French and European films to play theatrically in France.

The Cannes Film Festival takes place from May 17 to 28.

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