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CanCon at Cannes

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Chiara Mastroianni, Michael Douglas and Catherine Deneuve - Opening Ceremony of the 76th Festival de Cannes © Amandine-Goetz/FDC. Image supplied.

CanCon at Cannes 2023
by Staff Editors

(May 17, 2023 – Toronto, ON) When the 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival launched last night, attendees were reminded of one of the many features of the world of film; it is international. When actress Chiara Mastroianni (pictured on the left above) made her appearance on the stage of the Grand Théâtre Lumière, she was humming the love song “Mi sono innamorato di te.” She welcomed the Jury that will award the Palme d’or at the end of the twelve day celebration of world cinema, “which has always transported us by its beauty, its force and its joy.”

The international aspect of the festival was highlighted when Mastroianni invited the Moroccan director Maryam Touzani to join her on stage, then the French actor Denis Ménochet, the British-Zambian screenwriter and director Rungano Nyoni, the American actress and director Brie Larson, the American actor Paul Dano, the Afghan writer Atiq Rahimi, the Argentine director Damián Szifron and the French director Julia Ducournau, who make up the Feature Film jury that will be presided over by the Swedish director Ruben Östlund.

“What makes cinema unique is watching films together, physically in the same room”, said Östlund, the director of six films, two of which have won the Palme d’or: The Square in 2017 and Triangle of Sadness in 2022.

There was a performance of the song “Stand by Me” by the Californian group Gabriels followed by actress Uma Thurman calling to the stage the special guest of this 76th edition: “The Honorary Palme d’or is attributed to those who have had a deep and lasting impact on cinema. I don’t see how anyone other than Michael Douglas could be more deserving. A unique titan, an eternal star and a radiant artist.” They are pictured on the right above.

“After years of an epidemic and wars that are tearing the world apart,” said Douglas, “more than ever, this festival reminds us that there is something positive. Cinema underlines our commonalities, can transcend our limits and unite human beings. To Cannes and to France: I embrace you with all my heart.”

Canadians have always done well at Cannes. Atom Egoyan’s Exotica screened in competition and was given the International Critics Prize in 1994. In 1997, The Sweet Hereafter was given both the International Critics Prize and was honoured with the Grand Prix in the Feature Film competition. David Cronenberg has been to the Festival de Cannes at least six times including for 1996’s Crash, 2002’s Spider, 2005’s A History of Violence, 2012’s Cosmopolis, and 2014’s Maps to the Stars. Last year Crimes of the Future, received an extended Cannes Film Festival standing ovation.

Inside Quebec - Summer 2019, Monia Chokri, image,
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé (l) and Monia Chokri (r) at the 2019 Prix Iris © Maurie Alioff for Northernstars.ca.

This year three Canadian productions or co-productions will premiere at the festival. Two will screen in the Un Certain Regard program including Quebec writer/director Monia Chokri’s Simple comme Sylvain aka The Nature of Love, which is about a married philosophy professor (Magalie Lépine Blondeau), who falls hard for a rough-edged handyman, played by Pierre-Yves Cardinal. Co-directed by Iran’s Ali Asgari and Canada’s Alireza Khatamiand Terrestrial Verses is a series of vignettes about everyday life in Tehran illustrating how new attitudes and new ways of doing things are impacting more traditional ways. The third Canadian premiere is in the Director’s Fortnight program. In Flames is described as a psychological horror from Canada-Pakistan writer-director-producer Zarrar Kahn.

Not a Canadian production, Martin Scorsese’s new crime thriller Killers of the Flower Moon stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Tantoo Cardinal. The film is based on the true story of an FBI hunt for the murderers of Osage Nation inhabitants of oil-rich Oklahoma land in the 1920s. Recent Oscar-winner, Canadian-American actor Brendan Fraser, is also in the cast of Killers of the Flower Moon.

Image supplied by the Festival de Cannes.