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Cannes 2021 Video #1: Returning to the Riviera

RogerEbert.com publisher Chaz Ebert is returning to the Cannes Film Festival this year and will provide her signature video dispatches directed and edited by Scott Dummler of Mint Media Works. The festival kicks off tomorrow, July 6th, and runs through Saturday, July 17th. She filmed the following dispatch just before she left for the South of France, and starting tomorrow, she will be reporting from Cannes. Please enjoy this preview of things to come, followed by a transcript of the video... 

Bon jour, mes amies! It’s a new day, and in some ways, it feels like a new year. And if movies are back, nothing says that better than the return of the Cannes Film Festival in 2021.

After skipping 2020 due to the global Coronavirus pandemic, the Festival is back, but it WILL be different this year: from health and wellness protocols, to a reduced number of attendees. Cannes will require masks to be worn indoors at all times, including at screenings. And we’re hearing the screenings will be booked to 100% capacity. But what does that mean for the red carpet? How about the party scene? We still have many questions, but what we’re sure of is that Cannes, as always, will have a diverse, eclectic, and stunning array of films submitted from all corners of the globe.

Usually held in the month of May, this year the Festival will run in July. And on the 6th, the red carpet will host Leos Carax’s first English-language film “Annette”, starring Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver, playing in competition.

Also, as part of the opening night festivities, there will be a tribute and honorary Palme d’Or presented to Jodie Foster, whose work has played Cannes many times, beginning in 1976 with “Taxi Driver”. My late husband Roger always recalled that when he interviewed Jodie in Cannes that year, he was struck that even as a young girl, she was completely professional and spoke perfect French.

This year, the 2021 Festival poster features Jury President Spike Lee, depicted as his character in “She’s Gotta Have It,” his first feature that screened in Cannes’ Directors Fortnight section in 1986. Spike was most recently in Cannes in 2018, when his film “BlacKkKlansman” won the Grand Prize. 

This year, he’ll be the one handing out prizes along with the rest of his distinguished jury including…director Mati Diop from Senegal, French-Canadian singer/songwriter Mylene Farmer, American actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, Austrian director Jessica Hausner, French actress Melanie Laurent, Brazilian director Kleber Mendonça Filho, French sctor Tahar Rahim, and South Korean actor Song Kang-Ho.

The jury, and the rest of us at the festival, will have plenty of wonderful new movies to see that are in competition for the Palme d’Or including Wes Anderson’s latest film, “The French Dispatch,” featuring an amazing cast including Timotheé Chalamet, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Benicio Del Toro, Owen Wilson, Lea Seydoux, Saoirse Ronan, Jeffrey Wright, Elizabeth Moss and more!

Other competition films include: “Benedetta” from Paul Verhoeven; “A Hero,” directed by Asghar Farhadi; and “Red Rocket,” the latest from Sean Baker, director of “The Florida Project”. Mia Hansen-Love directs “Bergman Island”, Joachim Trier will screen “The Worst Person in the World” and Sean Penn returns with “Flag Day”.

A number of interesting films will also be shown out of competition including Todd Haynes’ new documentary about 1960’s rock band “The Velvet Underground”. Tom McCarthy’s latest “Stillwater” stars Matt Damon as an American father who moves to France to try and free his daughter from prison. And Oliver Stone is back in Cannes, and talking again about one of his most famous subjects in “JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass”.

Among the many projects in the Cannes Classics section are restored versions of “Mulholland Drive” by David Lynch, “F for Fake” from Orson Welles, Tilda Swinton’s first role in 1987’s “Friendship’s Death” by Peter Wollen, and “Murder in Harlem” from 1935 by cinema’s first African-American director, Oscar Micheaux.

But of course, all of that is just scratching the surface of everything in store for us over the next two weeks. Throughout the festival, be sure to check in at RogerEbert.com/chaz-at-cannes for reports by Ben Kenigsberg and others along with our regular video reports. Until then, we’ll see you on the red carpet!

Chaz Ebert

Chaz is the CEO of several Ebert enterprises, including the President of The Ebert Company Ltd, and of Ebert Digital LLC, Publisher of RogerEbert.com, President of Ebert Productions and Chairman of the Board of The Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation, and Co-Founder and Producer of Ebertfest, the film festival now in its 22nd year.

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