The 71st Cannes Film Festival is coming in May, here’s what you need to know

2018 official Poster © Design : Flore Maquin – Photo : Pierrot le fou © Georges Pierre

The day after the Met Gala in New York City models and attendees of repute will be jetting off to the French Riviera for the 71st Cannes Film Festival that begins its run May 8th until the 19th. There’s no shortage off-screen stories to pay attention to beyond the actual films on the program, which promises exciting screenings by decorated auteurs and up and coming directors. As the festival’s official poster teases the legendary Jean-Luc Godard is premiering his The Picture Book, but the full list includes Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, Cold War from Pawel Pawlikowski, Dogman by Matteo Garrone and David Robert Mitchell’s Under the Silver Lake to name a few. In addition the latest Star Wars franchise film from Disney, Solo: A Star Wars Story, directed by Ron Howard, will be shown “out of competition”. Here’s what else you need to know to stay au courant:

Cate Blanchett is the president of the jury
After the films were announced so too was nine person jury, which includes a mix of directors, multi-disciplinaries, actors and actresses who will determine who takes home the coveted Palme D’or. This year’s panel is decidedly female dominated with 5 of the 9 being women–its president Australian actress Cate Blanchett. The jury also includes Ava DuVernay, an American writer, director and producer; Khadja Nin, a Burundian songwriter, composer and singer; Léa Seydoux; Kristen Stewart; Chang Chen; Denis Villeneuve, a Canadian director and writer; Robert Guédiguian, a French director, writer and producer; and Andrei Zvyaginstev, a Russian director and writer.

There are exciting late additions to the program
Additions to the full list were just announced as late entries came through: a Whitney Houston documentary, Terry Gilliam’s Quixote-flick The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (after two decades worth of set-backs) and Ramin Bahrani’s Fahrenheit 451. In Lars Von Trier’s case, the filmmaker was invited back–a rumor the festival’s director Thierry Fremaux basically confirmed on Europe 1, a French radio station. Triers, known as a provocateur, was declared persona non grata after a 2011 Nazis joke in a press conference for Melancholia. His invitation means he will be screening The House That Jack Built which stars Matt Dillon.

Cannes and Netflix are in an existential tug-of-war and no selfies!
A lot of headlines circulating the trade magazines have to do with Fremaux’s decision to require all films premiering at Cannes to have theatrical distribution in France. A move aimed particularly at Netflix since the streaming service often only releases its original films in U.S. theaters to qualify for Oscar consideration, and even then streams them the same day. You may be wondering why they just don’t do the same just in France, well France’s theatrical release laws prohibit films from being streamed for 36 months after their run in cinemas. In turn, Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos has pulled ALL of its original films from the festival, regardless if they fit the parameters. It may seem like much ado over nothing to some, but the argument is a foundational one over the future of cinema, argued by more traditional cineaste and the dogmatic Fremaux that a film is at least partially defined by how it’s experienced. Direct streaming basically disrupts that mode of thought by putting the how-to-watch decision in the hands of viewers regardless of the filmmaker’s silver-screen intent. The disagreement leaves movies like the iconic Orson Welles’ unreleased film The Other Side of the Wind to be left out, even against pleads from Beatrice Welles, Orson’s daughter. Oh yeah, speaking of Fremaux’s uncompromising sentiments, this year he has also banned selfies on the famous red carpeted steps up to the venue. A move he explained is in order to stay on schedule and “restore decency”.

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