After an abortive edition in 2020, the Cannes Film Festival has moved back to the Croisette with a 74th opening ceremony under the sign of renewal for cinema around the world.
“A scent of revenge”. This is the qualifier rightly used by Le Figaro to describe the atmosphere of this 74th edition of the Cannes Film Festival. After an edition canceled last year due to the pandemic and a small selection of feature films stamped ” Cannes 2020“, This ceremony smells of victory and well-deserved reunion. Moreover, it is in honor of these filmmakers whose productions could not be released in theaters that applause resounded in the Louis Lumière auditorium.
Nevertheless, the light of the evening remains that of Jodie foster, radiant when she receives her Palme d’Honneur from the hands of Pedro Almodovar. In perfect French, the actress, director, restaurateur and screenwriter remained succinct in receiving her award after delivering a superb opening speech alongside Doria Tillier : ” Many of us have spent a year locked in our little bubbles, many have spent it isolated, and others faced with suffering, anguish, pain, mortal fear and here we are at last! After an unparalleled year, gathered in our pretty clothes. Did you miss the glamor a little bit? ”
Indeed, after a year of confinement and loungewear, glamor was at the rendezvous of this 74th opening ceremony with an exceptional jury (Tahar Rahim, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Mati Diop, Jessica Hausner, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Song Kang-Ho, Mélanie Laurent, Mylène Farmer) overlooked by a chair (Spike lee) remained sober despite his fuchsia pink suit. 24 films will be presented in competition for the Palme d’Or. A selection very far from being equal (4 directors for 24 films) that Thierry fremaux did not hesitate to defend at the microphone of France Inter on the morning of the opening ceremony: ” If we take all of the official competition, and in particular Un Certain Regard, the presence of female directors is much stronger. […] You know there are plenty of countries where there is no director, so statistically, Cannes being at the end of the channel… ” Faced with these words, impossible not to think of Jane campion which we remember the Palme d’Or in 1993 but which we often forget that it was a reward ex aequo with a male director (Chen Kaige for Goodbye my concubine).
The year 2021 may be the year of renewal for the Cannes Film Festival, but it will not necessarily be the year of change. Nevertheless, against all odds and pandemic, Bong Joon-Ho, Pedro Almodovar, Spike Lee and Jodie foster were able to declare open this great reunion of the 7th art after a banal ceremony marking an exceptional period.