Revealed: Coppola and Haneke films in lineup for Cannes festival

Sofia Coppola's Civil War thriller "The Beguiled" starring Nicole Kidman and "Happy End" by Austria's Michael Haneke starring French icon Isabelle Huppert are among the 18 films picked to compete in Cannes, organisers said Thursday.

Revealed: Coppola and Haneke films in lineup for Cannes festival
Photo: AFP

Nicole Kidman and Isabelle Huppert will top the bill at the Cannes Film Festival next month as the world's flagship movie
showcase celebrates its 70th anniversary.

The Australian megastar features in Sofia Coppola's Civil War thriller “The Beguiled”, while France's Huppert headlines in Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke's “Happy End”, a family drama set against the backdrop of Europe's migrant crisis.

Ben Stiller, Julianne Moore and French star Marion Cotillard will also do star turns at the May 17-28 festival on the French Riviera, organisers told a Paris news conference on Thursday.

Other movies vying for the prestigious Palme d'Or include Todd Haynes' “Wonderstruck”, one of two Amazon-backed films in the lineup.

“Wonderstruck”, starring Moore and Michelle Williams, tells the parallel stories of two deaf American children in the 1920s and the 1970s.

“Redoubtable” by the director of the Oscar-crowned silent movie “The Artist”, Michel Hazanavicius, focuses on the love affair between New Wave guru Jean-Luc Godard and actress Anne Wiazemsky.

Opening the extravaganza, out of competition, will be “Ismael's Ghosts” by French director Arnaud Desplechin, about a filmmaker disturbed by the return of his former love.

It features A-list French talent in the form of Cotillard, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Mathieu Amalric.

Netflix incursion 

Two Netflix-backed features made the cut in a first for Cannes.

“Okja”, a creature feature by South Korea's Bong Joon-ho, known for his black humour, stars Tilda Swinton as a corporate scientist whose company tries to kidnap a fantastical beast called Okja from a young girl.

Jake Gyllenhaal, playing a zoologist, makes his Cannes debut with the film.

The other contender from Netflix, which is making ever deeper inroads into Hollywood alongside rival Amazon, is “The Meyerowitz Stories” by independent US filmmaker Noah Baumbach.

The family drama stars Adam Sandler, Stiller, Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman.

Amazon, for its part, also proposes “You Were Never Really Here”, by Scottish director Lynne Ramsay starring Joaquin Phoenix as a war veteran who tries to save women from the sex-trafficking trade.

Variety reported last year that the online retailer bought the rights to the film for around $3.5 million (3.3 million euros).

Out-of-competition selections include a sequel to former US vice president Al Gore's 2006 Oscar-winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”.

A decade later, the stakes are arguably higher with Donald Trump in the White House.

The US leader has dismissed global warming as a fraud invented by the Chinese and nominated climate change sceptic Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

Coppola, the daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, is a Cannes veteran who previously premiered “Marie Antoinette” (2006) and her last feature film “The Bling Ring” (2013) at the festival.

Kidman-Farrell double duo

In “The Beguiled”, Colin Farrell plays a young soldier who seduces all the women around him, who include Kidman as well as Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning.

Kidman and Farrell team up again in “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, a psychological drama about a charismatic surgeon and a sinister teenager.

Coppola and Ramsay are among 12 women directors featured at the festival, compared with nine last year, Fremaux noted.

A third woman in the main competition is Japan's Naomi Kawase with “Hikari” (Radiance) about a doctor whose eyesight begins to fail.

Providing even more star power are the TV series in the spotlight this year, with the unveiling of the eagerly awaited third season of David Lynch's cult “Twin Peaks” and Jane Campion's “Top of the Lake” in its second episode rollout.

Pedro Almodovar, Spain's most celebrated living movie director, will lead the jury at this year's festival.

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Cannes Film Festival postponed to July due to Covid

The Cannes Film Festival has been rescheduled for July 6th to 17th - postponed by around two months due to the ongoing virus crisis, organisers said on Wednesday.

Cannes Film Festival postponed to July due to Covid
The 2018 Palme d'Or winner Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-Eda posing for the cameras at the Cannes Film Festival, is an annual highlight for movie lovers in France. Photo: AFP

“As announced last autumn, the Festival de Cannes reserved the right to change its dates depending on how the global health situation developed,” they said in a statement.

“Initially scheduled from 11th to 22nd May 2021, the Festival will therefore now take place from Tuesday 6th to Saturday 17th July 2021.”

The festival was cancelled last year, while rival European events in Berlin and Venice went ahead under strict health restrictions.

The Berlin Film Festival, which usually kicks off in February, said last month it would run this year's edition in two stages, an online offering for industry professionals in March and a public event in June.

France has closed all cinemas, theatres and show rooms alongside cafés, bars and restaurants as part of its Covid-19 health measures and the government has pushed back their reopening date until further notice due to rising levels of viral spread across the country.

The Cannes festival normally attracts some 45,000 people with official accreditations, of whom around 4,500 are journalists.

It had only been cancelled once before, due to the outbreak of war in 1939.

Its Film Market, held alongside the main competition, is the industry's biggest marketplace for producers, distributors, buyers and programmers.

Last year, the festival still made an official selection of 56 films – including the latest offerings from Wes Anderson, Francois Ozon and Steve McQueen – allowing them to use the “Cannes official selection” label.