Here's an interesting trivia: "The Lost Weekend" (1945) and "Marty" (1955) are the only Palme d'Or winners to win the Best Picture Oscars later. The awards season starts in this seaside resort, a part of the French Riviera. It would be the playground for the rich and famous, but Jean Zay, then French Minister of National Education, had a noble vision for an international cinematographic festival. It would be along the principle of equality, and this should still ring true up to now. Foreign filmmakers have the chance to let their works be screened to a bigger audience. (The two other major film festivals are held in Berlin and Venice.) Hollywood studios believe that the early bird gets the worm, so they will premiere their fall line-up in Cannes.
The 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival features the return of Sofia Coppola to the director's chair, with a remake of a Client Eastwood starrer. Her update of "The Beguiled" will star Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, and Kirsten Dunst. Alexander Payne might make another run in the awards season, as "Downsizing" will likely make it to the list of competing films. (Matt Damon will star in this science fiction picture.) Todd Haynes will have another chance for recognition, which should have happened after the premiere of "Carol". "Wonderstruck" might give Julianne Moore her sixth Academy Award nomination, but it can turn Michelle Williams into a first-time Oscar winner. We'll see.
This year's poster features Claudia Cardinale swirling her skirt on a Roman rooftop in 1959. Some didn't like how the photo was airbrushed, which would make the Italian actress looked thinner. But Cardinale doesn't think it should be an issue.
"There are many more important things to discuss in our world. It's only cinema,” she said.
Pedro Almodóvar will be the president of the jury, which wouldn't surprise those who are following this event for years. He should have been one long before "All About my Mother" was honored (in the Best Director category). The native of Castilla-La Mancha was the enfant terrible of Spanish Cinema, whose early films depicted the transition of the Spanish society after the end of the Franco regime. Some scenes that wouldn't pass the eyes of conservative authorities.
"Pepi, Luci, Bom", Almodóvar's first full-length feature, was done in a cheap, if not campy, manner. It was the celebration of freedom, and the premise couldn't get better or worse. (For those who haven't seen the film, this comedy was about a woman who wanted to get even with a corrupt policeman who raped her. She found an unlikely alliance in a sadomasochistic housewife and a punk rock singer.) The studio era inspired Almodovar, such that his later films were more like melodramas. The likes of Bette Davis would be missing from the picture, but there was no doubt about the distinctive traits of his films. The film title will likely contain some reference to sex, passion or femininity. The most promiscuous character will probably suffer a nasty fate. The film sets are bursting with pop art and vibrant color.
Nonetheless, Almodóvar's camera looks at women with high esteem. Most of his female characters are born survivors, always overcoming seeming insurmountable odds. Could this give a hint of who will be honored during awards night? No. Not at this point. It's hard to spot the underdog, which would set Cannes apart from the Oscars. Don't expect the winners to lead the nominations for the 90th Academy Awards.