75th Cannes film fest ready to party as Covid rules end

The last touches were being laid in Cannes on Monday for the 75th anniversary edition of the world’s leading film festival, promising a return to its full glitz.

Dangling from ropes above the fabled Palais des Festivals, workers were unfurling the huge poster for the Cannes Film Festival’s golden jubilee, which this year features an image from “The Truman Show.”

“We are ready. The town hall has just redone everything — the whole place — so we hope it will go well,” said Jeremie Tripet, manager of “L’Avenue”, a bistro just off the main drag known as La Croisette.

One major exception is the absence of Russians, due to the impact of sanctions over the war in Ukraine and a ruling from the organizers that state-linked delegates are not welcome.

But otherwise the festival is keen to put the pandemic in the past, with no mandatory masks or health passes this year — and no restrictions to partying.

The easing of pandemic restrictions also means Hollywood will be back in full force at Cannes.

One of the first stars to walk the red carpet will be Forest Whitaker — the Oscar-winning star of “The Last King of Scotland”, “Godfather of Harlem” and much more — who is picking up the honorary Palme d’Or award at the opening ceremony on Tuesday.

There’s a lot of excitement around the Elvis Presley biopic from Australia’s Baz Luhrmann, hoping to recreate the buzz he generated when he brought the can-can to Cannes with “Moulin Rouge!” 20 years ago

There are 21 films in the race for the Palme d’Or, including the latest body-horror fable from David Cronenberg, “Crimes of the Future” starring Lea Seydoux and Kristen Stewart.

There are only five women directors in the competition, hoping to follow the success of last year’s winner, “Titane”, which made Julia Ducournau only the second female to win the Palme.

Alongside all the glitz, festival director Thierry Fremaux said Cannes aimed to keep the war in Ukraine in the spotlight.

The final film by Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravicius, who was killed by Russian forces in Ukraine last month, will get a special screening.

Ukraine’s beleaguered filmmakers will get a special day at the industry marketplace and one of its most promising directors, Sergei Loznitsa, will show “The Natural History of Destruction”, about the bombing of German cities in World War II.

Fremaux said the festival wanted to lend a hand to “the Russians who take risks to resist” while offering “absolute and non-negotiable support to the Ukrainian people.”

Originally published as 75th Cannes film fest ready to party as Covid rules end

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