The Thrill of Cannes


The big screen is back to excite: the 76th edition of the long expected Cannes Film Festival sees the twenty-one films in competition share the audience’s attention with the big titles out of competition, while actors await the final verdict. 

Opening the 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival will be the film Jeanne du Barry, directed and starring by Maïwenn, where Johnny Deep makes his return as the King of France Louis XV. For the next ten days, the spotlight will be on the old masters of cinema, who share the excitement and euphoria of the event with the new faces, ready to make their big-screen debuts; the audience, on the other hand, remains waiting to discover this year’s winners. 


One of the most anticipated films in competition is Asteroid City, by Wes Anderson. The great director’s pastel hues color a fictional desert town in 1955. The film begins with an astronomy convention that brings together students and parents from around the world, but soon the event is incredibly disrupted by phenomena that change the course of the world. Dramatic episodes blend with funny moments and more romantic ones, developing a universal, sarcastic and surreal tale. The audience, already aware of the stellar cast, will see Margot Robbie alongside Scarlett Johansson and Tom Hanks in the movie theaters in September 2023. Among Italian auteurs, Nanni Moretti is participating, with Il Sol dell’Avvenire, a film within a film, rich in cinematic pull and a delicate reflection on the role of art in our lives. Giovanni, the protagonist and Nanni’s alter-ego, produces a film every five years, dragging with him each time a lot of insecurity and pessimism, which leads to the failure of the production even before shooting begins. His life changes when he alters the ending of his story, which seemed to be already written, transforming it from an act of defeat into an explosion of freedom and love. The record invites the audience to imagine, to reflect, to think of their own story to be turned upside down in a time of need; unforeseen events will always change the fate of someone’s life, but the important thing is to take the road to freedom.

Scarlett Johansson in director Wes Anderson's ASTEROID CITY, a Focus Features release. Courtesy of Pop. 87 Productions/Focus Features.

Banel & Adama is Ramata-Toulaye‘s debut film; it is the love story of two young lovers living in a remote village in northern Senegal. They are oblivious to the rest of the world; nothing else exists for them except the small environment where they spend their daily lives. Soon they come up against the conventions and restrictions imposed by the community, because in the village, passion and chaos find no room to break free. The director confronts difficult issues in a universal way, making the audience connect with the characters, immersed within a captivating and engaging visual aesthetic. It is a dramatic yet sincere tale, full of battle-ready love. 

banel & adama by Ramata-Toulaye.

Todd HaynesMay December explores the complexities of sexuality and unconventional personalities through Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore. The director’s clean, intellectual language unfolds in a tale that follows the events of a woman grappling with a national scandal caused by her affair with a much younger employee. After deciding to marry, the couple collapses with the arrival of an actress investigating their past for a film production. Potentially volatile themes are approached with a patience of observation that allows the characters to be explored with uncommon subtlety. Club Zero, by Mia Wasikoswka focuses on the importance of young people’s ideals and their way of life. A social critique that highlights the problem of nutrition in today’s community, developing direct and effective language that is easily understood by young people. The story identifies with a teacher with unconventional methods, convincing some students to join the mysterious Zero Club. 

may December by Todd Haynes.
may December by Todd Haynes.
may December by Todd Haynes.

The out of competition section features the return of Martin Scorsese, with the title Killers of the Flower Moon. Based on the book of the same name by David Grann, it is a western, crime and drama film at the same time. The story takes place in the 1920s and traces the murder of several members of the Osage Native American tribe, which became known as “the Osage reign of terror.” Leonardo di Caprio, once again alongside the master, will be the FBI federal man who retraces the trail of the case, and who will be able to find answers regarding the presumed twenty or so deaths. As a TV series, the most anticipated and out of the race is The Idol, written and directed by Euphoria producer Sam Levinson. A story of toxic love featuring Lily Rose Deep, an aspiring pop star, and a shady nightclub impresario, played by The Weekend, who also contributed to the idea and production of the series. The two characters are very complex and multifaceted, although they are distant from their real personality, the interpretation gave them a chance to get to know each other in a different way and they were completely fascinated. The story is inspired by pop icons and Hollywood movie divas, resulting in an exciting tale full of sex and unbridled passion.

the idol by sam Levinson.
the idol by sam Levinson.
killers of the flower moon by Martin Scorsese.
killers of the flower moon by Martin Scorsese.

For the occasion of the Festival, the short film Strange Way of Life, directed by Pedro Almodovar and produced by Saint Laurent, will be premiered, inaugurating with this video the founding of the film company, Saint Laurent Productions. Anthony Vaccarello has always admired the director, his films and the characters he idealizes, making the decision to forge a strong and lasting relationship with him. It is 1910, and a man on horseback in his fifties crosses the desert to visit his old friend, the Sheriff Jake, with whom he spent his youth as a gunfighter. Silva, played by Pedro Pascal, is of Mexican descent and he is emotional, sincere yet shifty, cunning, and kind; Jake, Ethan Hawke, on the other hand, is a cold, stern, and impassive man. When they meet, after 25 years of absence from each other, it is a big party; they cook together, drink and make love, until morning. It is just when the fun ends that problems arise: pressure is felt between the two old friends, who begin to argue over the real reason for meeting. Silva has decided to join Jake because the latter is looking for a murderer, who may be the former’s son. The situation becomes more difficult than expected, because in addition to the painful situation of a father who has not seen his child until now, the love dynamic between the two “pistoleros” also comes into play. 

strange way of life by Pedro Almodovar and saint Laurent productions.

The director himself admits that he doesn’t even know what the real story would be, or even if there is a real story at all; Almodovar just wants to give voice to two grown men who fall in love with each other, and who usually, in a genre like the western, would have repressed their emotions. The story breaks the silence and highlights the sincerity and freedom of love. The choice of clothing is completely entrusted to Saint Laurent. Anthony Vaccarello is not directly inspired by the era, but by the cinema and how the latter dressed the characters in the 1915 Westerns, as the green jacket Pedro Pascal wears is inspired by Anthony Mann’s Horizontes lejanos. Jake is dressed as sheriffs are usually depicted, in a suit, with a vest and a bolo tie. The director explains how the research was thorough, “I watched a lot of Westerns so as not to fall into anachronisms.” Men’s wardrobe has not changed much over time, and the figure of the sheriff, in particular, always remains the character with the most distinguished clothes; the other male roles, on the other hand, are characterized by more casual attire. Anthony Vaccarello for the role of Silva chooses a colorful plaid shirt, classic brown pants and a handkerchief tied around his neck. The short film is studied in detail, even paying attention to the decor of Jake’s house and choosing paintings by various artists of the time, including Maynard Dixon, one of the first painters to depict the landscape of the West America. Saint Laurent with the short film begins a long collaboration with cinema, being the first fashion brand to establish an in-house production. Pedro Almodovar and the Creative Director work four-handedly, developing an exciting story, which despite being set in the distant 1910s, deals with fundamental and contemporary issues.

strange way of life by Pedro Almodovar and saint Laurent productions.
strange way of life by Pedro Almodovar and saint Laurent productions.
strange way of life by Pedro Almodovar and saint Laurent productions.

For the Cannes Classics section, the film Caligula, the brainchild of director Tinto Brass, has been transformed into a completely new version entitled Caligula – The Ultimate Cut by producer Thomas Negovan. The original film dates back to 1980 and became famous for its nightmarish footage; today it undergoes a complete restoration process, editing out some scenes that remained unknown. Negovan approaches this new version from a completely neutral perspective, elevating the actors and empowering the narrative. When Caligula seizes power of the Roman Empire, he drags the people through a period of madness, dictated by violence, lust and humiliation. Instead, the present producer provides a fresh approach to the emperor’s mad mind, transforming the feature film into an entirely new one.

Caligula - The Ultimate Cut by Thomas Negovan.




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