Cinema returned with glamorous aplomb on Tuesday (July 6) as Cannes Film Festival officially opened with movie stars and celebrities from far and wide in attendance.
The world’s biggest film festival is marking its return after skipping a year in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, albeit in slightly more subdued form, with fewer attendees and parties over the 12-day whirlwind of film premieres.
But stars were out in force on the French Riviera for the opening ceremony, in a show of support for an industry hammered by the pandemic after theatres closed for months on end.
In a show of international unity the festival was declared open by U.S. director Spike Lee, wearing a hot pink suit, Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, American actress Jodie Foster – taking the French-speaking role – and South Korean director Bong Joon Ho.
Actress and director Foster was honoured at the show and awarded an honorary Palme d’Or.
Foster, who first came to Cannes as a 13-year-old when she starred in “Taxi Driver”, said she was so grateful to the “magical place” which launched her career as she accepted the lifetime achievement award.
Sean Penn and Wes Anderson will be among heavy hitters vying for prizes in the main film competition – one of several parallel events and premieres taking place over the next fortnight.
They include outdoor screenings on the beach alongside Cannes’ famed Croisette walkway, where tourists beginning their summer holidays in the resort city will get a chance to catch a glimpse of Hollywood royalty.
The Cannes Film Festival retains a very French flavour, and will this year showcase the latest outings by directors Francois Ozon and Jacques Audiard as well as Catherine Corsini’s “The Divide”, set in modern day France against the backdrop of ‘Yellow Vest’ anti-government demonstrations.