‘Everybody Knows’ but does not have the same opinion
Vecdi Sayar - CANNES
The 71st Cannes Film Festival took off on May 8 with an opening ceremony mastered by French actor Edouard Baer. The ceremony was preceded by the traditional red carpet ceremony. International stars Natalie Portman, Carey Mulligan, Chiara Mastroianni, Julianne Moore, Isabelle Adjani and famous directors Martin Scorsese, Costa-Gavras and Benicio del Toro were among popular figures posing for photographers on the red carpet.
Famous actress and Godard’s ex-wife, Anna Karina, was also on the red carpet. I would say she has a double appearance, since her famous kiss with Jean-Paul Belmondo in the Godard movie “Pierrot le Fou” is on the wall of the Cannes Festival Palace and on the official poster of the festival. We do not know why Belmondo did not appear at the opening.
The festival’s opening film was a Spanish picture directed by an Iranian director. Asghar Farhadi, awarded for his films “The Past” and “The Salesman” and a Foreign Film Oscar for “The Separation” in prestigious festivals, such as Cannes and Berlin, is back in Cannes with his new film “Everybody Knows.”
The film, starring Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, depicts the complex relationships between individuals of a family reunited by a wedding. The film develops into a thriller in the second half and Farhadi shows his craftsmanship in terms of style, staying close to the themes dear to him such as “property versus morality” and psychological conflicts in the family structure.
“Everybody Knows” received conflicting reactions from critics. Farhadi is close to mainstream this time, which causes problems for many critics. Certainly, this is not a film dear to fans of Godard’s recent movies.
The selection of the 71st Festival includes a vast variety of themes and styles and 10 newcomers. Thus, it will not be easy to guess who will be the winner of this year’s Golden Palm. The composition of the jury—having a rich diversity of personalities—does not give much of a clue. Head of the jury, two time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, known for her appetite for “art films,” will hardly vote for a mainstream movie, but there are all sorts of movies in the selection.
Other jury members are Chinese actor Chang Chen, American actress Kristen Stewart, American writer-director Ava du Vernay (known for her pic “Selma”), Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, French-Armenian director Robert Guediguian, Russian director Andrei Zvyagintsev, French actress Lea Seydoux and African singer (from Burundi) Khadja Nin.
The festival community—around 40,000 people who came to Cannes for the festival, including 4,000 participants from international media—still do not know if the festival director will succeed in his attempts to bring Iranian director Jafar Panahi to town. Thierry Fremaux declared today that despite various attempts through diplomatic channels, they could not receive a positive response from Russian authorities to bring director Kirill Serebrennikov, who is banned to leave his country (probably due to political reasons). Putin’s response was “I would love to help the festival if there had not been a court case against him,” said Fremaux.
The Turkish film in the competition, “Ahlat Ağacı” (The Wild Pear Tree), will be screened on May 18 as the last film of the competition. Thus, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, who was present at the opening, will stay in Cannes until the closing ceremony on May 19. Fremaux declared today that the festival had won the case against the producer who wants to stop the screening and they will be able to show “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” at closing night. The director of the film, Terry Gilliam—a famous member of Monty Python—is expected to attend the closing.
This year, the festival has introduced a project named “Three Days in Cannes,” inviting 4,000 cinephiles from ages 18 to 28 from all over the world. Another feature of this years’ festival will be the evening on stage with 100 female filmmakers, to support protests against sexual harassment in the industry.