Two years into the pandemic, the 75th Cannes Film Festival kicks off with a familiar dose of controversy and some fresh shots as it prepares for its biggest gathering on the French Riviera since the 2019 edition.
Preparations were in full swing for up and down the Croisette on the Monday before the festival opened. The festival is scheduled to open on Tuesday with the movie Zombie by Michel Hazanavicius, directed by “The Artist”.
But before things even started, the festival had already found a lot of fanfare. Just hours before the festival’s artistic director, Thierry Frémaux, spoke to the media on Monday, Deadline for the Hollywood trade published an article about not being able to publish an interview with Frémaux after he requested edits to his answers on topics including female filmmakers and whether the city of Cannes would do so. She once again hosts a Roman Polanski film.
“Not only did the Festival require approval of the transcription as a condition of interviews with Frémaux (something which no other festival or organization has asked of us), but after pledging not to make any changes to its transcription, it has removed content including answers that may be inconvenient from Frémaux regarding Regarding diversity and controversial filmmakers, “Read the story of Deadline.
For a festival that prides itself on being a celebration of freedom of expression, it was an awkward start to what Kahn hopes will be a festival returning to normal. Film professionals are expected to hit 35,000 professionals from May 17-28, as well as a few glitzy Hollywood titles including “Top Gun: Maverick” and Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis.” But Fremo didn’t see it as a problem.
“There is no self-censorship and certainly no censorship at all,” he told reporters. “Of course, I try to watch myself talking to reporters.”
“If I want to change something, I change it,” he added. “I can re-read the way I was reported and can change my views if I want.”
However, Frémaux said he did not want it to be the story.
“This is a press conference for the Cannes Film Festival, it’s not a school for journalists,” he said. “Ask any questions you want from me. Shoot them at me.”
Then a journalist immediately asked Frémaux about a record he had with female filmmakers, a long-running issue of contention. Last year, with her body-horror film Titan, French director Julia Ducornu became the second female director ever to win the festival’s first prize, the Palme d’Or.
This year, there are five women in the Cannes competition lineup of 21 films. This equates to the previous high in Cannes, but falls behind the percentages found at some other international festivals that have made diversity a more central priority.
“I don’t think there are very few women in competition,” Frémaux said. “There are 25% of women in the competition and there are 25% of women who have applied.”
Frémaux suggested that discussion of gender equality in film is often unfairly framed, and that the festival selects films based solely on their quality. He described the progress made by women in cinema as an important development in the film industry, but one that is still unfolding.
Should we decide today to give preference to outputs? What answer would you give to that? posed to the journalist. “What kind of creed, what kind of rule should there be? There is no share.
The eve of the festival was marked by ticket issues for festival-goers. Cannes last year began implementing a digital system, but there were far fewer attendees in 2021. The system crashed on Tuesday. Frémaux said the problem has been exacerbated by hacking of bots trying to buy up to 1,000 tickets per second.
“We’ve got a much better system this year,” said Frémaux, pausing to sarcastic cheers. “I mean: you’re supposed to have a much better system.”
Follow AP Film writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP
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