The Cannes was buzzing over the past few days in preparation for the official gala opening of the 74th Cannes Film Festival. Historic for many reasons – being the first festival of the new decade, the first large-scale event post pandemic, the first ever year when there are more female judges than male judges, the first time when the same president of jury (Spike Lee) is appointed twice in a row – the festival will hopefully bring some hard-needed cash into a kitty of the municipality.
The organisers of the festival have ensured international stars were in attendance at the red carpet premiere of Annette. Spike Lee, Maggie Gyllenhaal as part of the jury, Jodie Foster flew in to accept the honorary Palme D’or from Pedro Almodovar and Bong Joon Ho.
The red carpet, admittedly was a bit of a lacklustre compared to previous years. But that’s understandable, considering the restrictions and extra measures taken by the organisers of the festival to avoid the event becoming a super-spreader. We were advised by the staff at the registration desk that only about forty percent of the usual amount of accreditations was processed this year. Take into account those who’ve been accredited and are covering from home, the 74th Cannes Film Festival is probably about a third of what it normally is.
This could be clearly seen not just by the guests walking the carpet but also by how busy was the press pen. A usual five hundred strong photographers’ wall was reduced to just over three hundred. The Cannes opening night didn’t just look different, it sounded different too – a bit quieter due to the reduced number of fans waiting outside for a glimpse of their idols. The ‘idols’ were not to sign any autographs either this year, to reduce human contact.
Back to the red carpet, as we wrote yesterday, very few British stars were on the red carpet – we saw glimpses of Helen Mirren in a regal mustard yellow frock. That was it from the British side. Bella Hadid was perhaps the only super-model on the red carpet which is also in contrast to the usual opening galas.
On a brighter side, the president of the jury appeared on a red carpet dressed in bright pink suit and paired it with the same colour sunnies. It is easy to get carried away comparing the ‘now’ with what it used bot be. But at the press conference preceding the gala opening we were reminded about the most important part of this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Both Maggie Gyllenhaal and Kleber Mendonca Filho took time to thank the organisers of the Cannes Film Festival and Thierry Fremaux personally for organising the event. “It is my first cinema in the past fifteen months, Than you Thierry for this experience”, opened the press conference Kleber Mendonca Filho.
Yes, the red carpet of the opening night of the Cannes Film Festival was nothing like it was in the past. But it was by far the glitziest event we’ve seen since March 2019. Here’s for the successful Cannes Film Festival.