Every year the red carpet is rolled out for the most awaited films of the year, and beautiful people flock to the Croisette at Cannes in celebration of film. The theme this year is broadly is Romanticism and Politics.
I chuckled when I heard that from Thierry Fremaux (director of the festival who announced the lineup) because all films are about politics. Whether it is the politics of relationships or that of the state, every filmmaker is making a political statement. And of course, all films are touched by romanticism - the drama of life itself - viewed through rose coloured glasses or not. All filmmakers look at the world through a lens that transports you to unknown worlds.
This year the magician Alejandro G Inarritu (The Revenant, Birdman, Amores Perros, Babel) will head the competition jury. And they have already announced that Jim Jarmusch will bring us the opening film
‘The Dead Don’t Die’ (Starring the impossibly talented Bill Murray; the awesome Adam Driver you saw in The Black Klansman; Chloe Sevigny whom you saw in American Psycho, Brown Bunny; the super talented Tilda Swinton, Selena Gomez and more). It is supposed to be a zombie comedy, which sounds delightful. VIDEO
I cannot find fault with Almodovar, and the stories he weaves. This year he brings back Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas in his film
Dolor y Gloria (Pain and Glory) VIDEO
You watched ‘Ash Is Purest White’ last year all across the world (and I watched it at MAMI last year) and this year the young director Diao Yinan presents
The Wild Goose Lake starring Liao Fan (you saw his Berlin Silver Bear-winning performance in ‘Black Coal’ by the same director), Kwai Lun Mei and Wan Qian. The movie is supposedly about the leader of a biker gang and a woman who has nothing left to lose and their last tryst with a deadly destiny.
How can it be a Cannes film festival without a film with Isabelle Huppert? And she does not disappoint us. This year she shows up in a Ira Sachs film called
‘Frankie’. This film will surely be popular since the others in the film include Greg Kinnear, Marisa Tomei, Jeremie Renier, Brendan Gleeson and others. The film has been shot in Portugal and I am looking forward to the scene-chewing performance by the flawless Ms. Huppert.
Another Cannes favourite whom many love to hate is Terrance Malik. His film
‘A Hidden Life’ has been kept totally under wraps and we will have to wait to see the trailer when it is available. Marco Bellocchio who gave us ‘Sweet Dreams’ and ‘Blood Of My Blood’ is bringing ‘The Traitor’ to Cannes for the competition. The list just announced includes ‘Young Ahmed’ by Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne, ‘Oh Mercy!’ by Arnaud Desplechin, ‘Atlantique’ by Mati Diop, ‘Matthias and Maxime’ by Xavier Dolan, ‘Little Joe’ by Jessica Hausner and Bong Joon Ho’s ‘Parasite’ VIDEO
There is so much more to Cannes than just the competition films, and the whole list is available a click away on your internet device. What makes the festival amazing are the issues burning holes through cinema. Should Netflix be allowed in as a producer of the movies when purists don’t consider online streaming as ‘film’ if the movies are not released in theatres? I am greedy about the movies and will watch them on any screen. I hope filmmakers stop pooh-pooing streaming or we will be deprived of movies like Roma…
Also, there is a word that Diego Maradona, the legend himself will show up on the red carpet for the film of his name by Asif Kapadia. The film is not in competition, but you are a footy fan and know how the legend has seen glory as well as the fall, you know that a movie with his name will be a great watch.
Midnight Screenings are a great way to watch blood and gore and horror cinema. It’s an extra chill factor. We watched Mandy at MAMI last year which saw Nicholas Cage in a duel with a chainsaw. This year at Cannes the lucky ones will queue up for
‘The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil’ by Lee Won-Tae. The trailer is Korean, but you’ll get the idea of how cool the film is going to be: VIDEO
I cannot stop talking about Ken Loach’s films if you but mention his name. His films will simply make room in your head. If you drink whiskey, then ‘
Angel’s Share’ is a film you cannot miss. And to tell the award-winning story of ‘I, Daniel Blake’ where a man wants to work desperately and cannot. This year, the master storyteller brings a similar tale of workers in Britain to Cannes - a follow up to Daniel Blake called ‘Sorry We Missed You’. The story is about a delivery driver and his wife struggling to keep their family afloat in a world of zero hours contracts and the gig economy. The story of our times…
Politics and romance will be at Cannes. A smorgasbord of delights in May. If you’re headed there, then make sure your champagne breakfast is booked. And the movies!
Manisha Lakhe is a poet, film critic, traveller, founder of Caferati — an online writer’s forum, hosts Mumbai’s oldest open mic, and teaches advertising, films and communication.