Well, maybe not everyone thinks it’s a great idea, but we couldn’t be happier to be returning for the 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival.
This year, Cannes is a celebration of new films that will be presented, and also films and filmmakers from years past. The competition lineup is filled with returning filmmakers like Todd Haynes with “Wonderstruck,” Yorgos Lanthimos with “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” and Korean director Hong Sangsoo’s latest film: “The Day After.” And I'm looking forward to Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal in "Okja."
Arnaud Desplechin, who has had five films in competition at Cannes in years past, opens this year’s festival with his film: “Ismael’s Ghosts,” starring Marion Cotillard. It’s a movie about a filmmaker’s struggles—always a crowd-pleasing topic in Cannes.
A few years back, director Michel Hazanavicius scored a huge worldwide hit, and a best-picture Oscar, with his film about movie makers: “The Artist." This year, he covers the story of director Jean Luc Godard and his romance with a 17-year-old actress, many years younger than he, in “Redoubtable."
Female directors have a prominent place in this year’s competition. Scottish director Lynne Ramsey returns this year with her film "You Were Never Really" Here starring Joaquin Phoenix. Veteran Japanese filmmaker Naomi Kawase returns to Cannes with “Radiance,” a film about a photographer who struggles with losing his vision.
And one of the most intriguing films of the festival is Sofia Coppola’s latest, “The Beguiled."
One film that is sure to draw a lot of attention this year is the most recent film from Michael Haneke, “Happy End." He’ll be going for an unprecedented third Palme d’Or this year with his story about a wealthy French family, oblivious to the refugee crisis happening around them. It stars legendary actress, and 2017 Ebertfest guest, Isabelle Huppert and was recently acquired by Sony Pictures Classics.
The awards this year are in the hands of Jury President Pedro Almodovar along with a fantastic group of jury members: Maren Ade, director of last year’s hit “Toni Erdmann”; Radiant actress and festival favorite, Jessica Chastain; Chinese actress and producer, Fan Bingbing; French actress and director, Agnes Jaoui; Korean director, Park Chan-wook; Italian director Paolo Sorrentino; French composer Gabriel Yared; and superstar American actor, Will Smith.
Each year, I think back to what the Cannes Film Festival meant to Roger. If you really want to know what happens in Cannes, pick up a copy of Roger's book—Two Weeks in the Midday Sun. It features Roger’s own hand drawings and has a new forward by Martin Scorsese in the latest edition.
As the festival begins, be sure to check in at RogerEbert.com/Cannes for daily reports by Barbara Scharres, Ben Kenigisberg and others along with our regular video reports. The festival begins Wednesday, May 17th. We’ll see you on the red carpet!