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CANNES 2021

Cannes gets ready to unroll its red carpet

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- With just one week to go until the 74th Cannes Film Festival reveals its Official Selection, we recap the predictions on probable and possible contenders headed for the Croisette

Cannes gets ready to unroll its red carpet
Directors Nanni Moretti, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Joachim Trier, Paul Verhoeven, Mia Hansen-Løve, Leos Carax, Joanna Hogg, Nadav Lapid and Claire Denis

Amidst a generalised feeling of strength at having made it through the pandemic, the Cannes Film Festival is getting ready to fly a new summertime flag, with the revelation of the Official Selection of its 74th edition (running 6 – 17 July 2021) set to be unveiled in Paris in exactly one week from now. Vaccine passports, tests, masks and sanitization of auditoriums will definitely feature heavily on the Croisette – such logistical constraints are fast becoming commonplace around the world – but France is edging towards the green light in terms of virus safety and, as a result, Cannes and its followers will get to celebrate (albeit carefully) their long-awaited reunion with the best of international arthouse cinema.

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Owing to the various lockdowns and lengthy cinema closures experienced, aficionados of the 7th art have had ample time to hone their predictions on the composition of this year’s Cannes showcase, but General Delegate Thierry Frémaux has carried on accumulating as many offerings as possible for this year’s edition, which we hope will result in a vintage crop from an artistic point of view. By delaying a great many invitations, the Cannes selector has effectively reshuffled the cards - notably with respect to the (many) French films submitted - and a last-minute game of dominos is expected to take place, which will see Cannes’ parallel sections trying to recuperate filmmakers who are hesitating over the Official Selection’s propositions, alongside all the other festivals (Locarno, Karlovy Vary, Venice, Toronto, San Sebastián) who will also be on standby, ready and waiting to pounce. But before Cannes unveils its official 2021 programme, let’s try to get a handle on its broader lines.

Films already confirmed within the official competition are Annette [+see also:
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by France’s Leos Carax (which will open the festival – read our news), Benedetta [+see also:
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by Dutch director Paul Verhoeven and The French Dispatch [+see also:
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by US filmmaker Wes Anderson. Movies likely to be selected for the spotlight include Tre piani [+see also:
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by Italy’s Nanni Moretti, The Worst Person in the World [+see also:
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interview: Joachim Trier
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by Norway’s Joachim Trier, Petrov's Flu [+see also:
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by Russian filmmaker Kirill Serebrennikov, Baglilik Hasan by Turkey’s Semih Kaplanoglu, Ahed’s Knee [+see also:
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interview: Nadav Lapid
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by Israeli director Nadav Lapid, A Hero [+see also:
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interview: Asghar Farhadi
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by Iran’s Asghar Farhadi, Memoria [+see also:
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by Thailand’s Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Decision to Leave by South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-Wook (despite film delivery timings which are tipped to be incredibly tight) and Drive My Car by Japan’s Ryusuke Hamaguchi (whose nigh-on three-hour duration might prove somewhat problematic for the programming team, who must find time for lengthy cinema cleaning processes in between screenings), without forgetting Lingui [+see also:
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interview: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, Achou…
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by Chadian director Mahamat Saleh Haroun, Flag Day by US actor-director Sean Penn (seeking redemption from Cannes following his previous, painful experience at the event).

Eye-catching outsiders include The Eternal Daughter by English director Joanna Hogg (news), The Restless [+see also:
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interview: Joachim Lafosse
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]
by Belgium’s Joachim Lafosse and Mona Lisa and The Blood Moon by US filmmaker Ana Lily Amirpour. Meanwhile, the notable absence of a Latin American candidate might open the door to Driftwood by Mexico’s Michel Franco.

The lucky few French films which have been selected to battle it out for the Palme d’Or are usually confirmed the evening before the selection is announced, but the latest indicators point towards Paris, 13th District [+see also:
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by Jacques Audiard, Bergman Island [+see also:
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interview: Mia Hansen-Løve
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by Mia Hansen-Løve and Peaceful [+see also:
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 by Emmanuelle Bercot. Reportedly hanging in the balance are Another World [+see also:
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interview: Stéphane Brizé
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by Stéphane Brizé, Titane [+see also:
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interview: Julia Ducournau, Vincent Li…
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by Julia Ducournau (which is said to be brilliant, but trashy) and Fire by Claire Denis (news).

On track for inclusion within the Un Certain Regard line-up are Undercover by French director Thierry de Peretti, A Chiara [+see also:
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interview: Jonas Carpignano
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by Italy’s Jonas Carpignano, Huda’s Salon [+see also:
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by Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad, Lamb [+see also:
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interview: Valdimar Jóhannsson
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by Iceland’s Valdimar Jóhannsson, Clara Sola [+see also:
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interview: Nathalie Álvarez Mesén
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by Swedish-Costa Rican director Nathalie Álvarez Mesén, Ali & Ava [+see also:
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by English director Clio Barnard, Compartment No. 6 by Finland’s Juho Kuosmanen (news), a Polish film (Leave No Traces [+see also:
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interview: Jan P Matuszyński
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by Jan P Matuszyński or Fools by Tomasz Wasilewski?), The Great Freedom [+see also:
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interview: Sebastian Meise
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by Austrian director Sebastian Meise, animated film The Crossing [+see also:
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by French filmmaker Florence Miailhe, Nora [+see also:
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interview: Hafsia Herzi
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by her compatriot Hafsia Herzi, Feathers [+see also:
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 by Egypt’s Omar El Zohairy, potentially La Civil [+see also:
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interview: Teodora Ana Mihai
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by Romania-Belgium’s Teodora Ana Mihai, and even Earwig [+see also:
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by Lucile Hadzihalilovic.

It’s difficult, at this stage, to predict where the animated film Where is Anne Frank [+see also:
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interview: Ari Folman
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 by Israeli director Ari Folman and the three French films Deception [+see also:
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interview: Arnaud Desplechin
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 by Arnaud Desplechin, Serre-moi fort [+see also:
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by Mathieu Amalric and Come, I Will Take You There (Viens, je t’emmène) by Alain Guiraudie (news) will end up. But if the competition does end up eluding them, they’ll be spoiled for choice in terms of other outlets located in Cannes or elsewhere.

Similarly, given the tricky situation with streaming platforms at present (Cannes competitors must enjoy a cinema release in France, setting in motion a binding and time-sequenced media chronology which remains relatively out of step with streaming giants’ SVOD global release strategies) and pending any unlikely last minute twists, The Power of the Dog by New Zealand’s Jane Campion, Blonde by Australia’s Andrew Dominik (both coming courtesy of Netflix banner) and The Tragedy of Macbeth by US director Joel Coen (bought by Apple TV) won’t feature in competition either. That said, it is highly likely that one of the first two will be screened out of competition, as a goodwill gesture by Netflix who are currently at the most advanced stage of negotiations regarding their inclusion within the country’s legal framework as funders of the French film industry.

Pending the revelation of the mysterious "global blockbuster" promised by Thierry Frémaux (which has given rise to the wildest of rumours, so let’s not add to them), Stillwater by US filmmaker Tom McCarthy and OSS 117: From Africa With Love [+see also:
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by France’s Nicolas Bedos are also reportedly set for presentation out of competition, alongside Au bord du monde by Argentina’s Gaspar Noé (a film shot and edited at lightning speed).

Other works potentially in on the act, either via the Un Certain Regard line-up or the Directors’ Fortnight programme, are The Tsugua Diaries [+see also:
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interview: Maureen Fazendeiro and Migu…
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by Portuguese directors Miguel Gomes and Maureen Fazendeiro, 10,000 Nights in the Jungle [+see also:
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interview: Arthur Harari
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]
by France’s Arthur Harari, Mi iubita, mon amour [+see also:
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by his compatriot Noémie Merlant, The Innocents [+see also:
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interview: Eskil Vogt
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by Norwegian filmmaker Eskil Vogt, Reflection [+see also:
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interview: Valentyn Vasyanovych
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by Ukranian director Valentyn Vasyanovych, Women Do Cry [+see also:
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interview: Mina Mileva, Vesela Kazakova
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]
by Bulgaria’s Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova, Baby-sitter by Canadian director Monia Chokri, Playground [+see also:
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interview: Laura Wandel
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 by Belgium’s Laura Wandel and Moneyboys [+see also:
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interview: CB Yi
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by Chinese filmmaker C.B. Yi.

In terms of the Directors’ Fortnight, the most insistent voices are citing Incredible But True (Incroyable mais vrai) by French director Quentin Dupieux (news), Between Two Worlds [+see also:
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interview: Emmanuel Carrère
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by his compatriot Emmanuel Carrère, Casablanca Beats [+see also:
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by French-Moroccan filmmaker Nabil Ayouch, The Sea Ahead [+see also:
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 by the Lebanon’s Ely Dagher, English-language title Nobody Has to Know [+see also:
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interview: Bouli Lanners
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by Belgium’s Bouli Lanners and Tim Mielants, the documentary in Italian Futura [+see also:
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by Alice Rohwacher, Pietro Marcello and Francesco Munzi, The Hill Where Lionesses Roar [+see also:
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interview: Luana Bajrami
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by the French director of Kosovar descent Luàna Bajrami, Murina by Croatia’s Antoneta Kusijanović, Speak No Evil by Denmark’s Christian Tafdrup, Medusa by Brazil’s Anita Rocha da Silveira, the Japanese animated film Belle by Mamoru Hosoda and Red Rocket by US director Sean Baker.

Standing tall among the titles best placed to grace Critics’ Week are Bruno Reidal [+see also:
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interview: Vincent Le Port
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by France’s Vincent Le Port, Libertad [+see also:
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interview: Clara Roquet
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by Spanish filmmaker Clara Roquet, Small Body [+see also:
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interview: Laura Samani
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 by Italy’s Laura Samani, Robuste by French director Clémence Meyer, Softie [+see also:
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interview: Samuel Theis
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 by her compatriot Samuel Theis, The Gravedigger's Wife [+see also:
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 by Somalia’s Khadar Ayderus Ahmed, A Story of Love and Desire by Tunisia’s Leyla Bouzid (news) and Amparo [+see also:
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by Colombia’s Simón Mesa Soto.

Worth a mention among the first feature films whose destinations are not yet clear is Anaïs in Love [+see also:
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interview: Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet
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by Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet, Rien à foutre by France’s Emmanuel Marre (news), the majority Swiss production Olga [+see also:
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interview: Elie Grappe
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]
by Elie Grappe, Unclenching the Fists [+see also:
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by Russia’s Kira Kovalenko, and the second feature film by Jean-Christophe Meurisse Bloody Oranges [+see also:
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interview: Jean-Christophe Meurisse
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]
.

"No more bets!" This roulette wheel of films is now spinning in the hands of the selectors, who are putting together a 2021 Cannes edition which looks set to be memorable, whatever the outcome. The final line-ups will be announced on 3 June for the Official Selection, on 7 June for Critics’ Week and for the ACID line-up, and on 8 June for the Directors’ Fortnight.

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(Translated from French)

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