Will Smith Gets Jiggy With the Movies
Expect to see a lot of red carpet photos of Will Smith at Cannes 2017. The A-list member of this year’s jury will be taking his orders from jury president Pedro Almodovar and hanging around with fellow judges Jessica Chastain and Park Chan-wook, among others. What will the “Men in Black” star, who had it rough with critics last year thanks to the one-two punch of “Suicide Squad” and “Collateral Beauty,” make of the international auteurs? Will this year’s jury feel the need to award one of the three women directors in competition, or attempt to take a political stance? Throughout the festival, pundits will scrutinize every movie to assess how it played to this group, with its fascinating blend of arthouse and commercial names. It’s not always the critical favorite that wins over the jury (the widely beloved “Toni Erdmann” lost the Palme to “I, Daniel Blake,” which had a muted reception). The obvious choice isn’t always obvious. —EK
Robert Pattinson and Louie Garrel Are Kicking Things Into High Gear
New York sibling directors Josh and Benny Safdie cracked the competition this year with their heist thriller “Good Time,” but it’s likely to attract the most attention for star Robert Pattinson. Now firmly into his post-“Twilight” phase, the actor plays a bank-robbing New Yorker trying to help his mentally disabled brother over the course of a single frantic night. Pattinson, who has been in Cannes competition before with David Cronenberg’s “Cosmopolis,” is well positioned to wow audiences already enamored of his earlier roles with something edgier and more surprising; he could be a strong contender for the festival’s acting prize.
He will have competition from Louis Garrel, the French heartthrob who plays a young Jean-Luc Godard in the ’60s-set “The Redoubtable.” Garrel, whose prolific filmmaker father Phillipe is premiering a movie in Directors Fortnight, is already a major celebrity in France; early glimpses of the movie in its trailer prove that he’s gone the extra mile with his portrayal of the New Wave legend, which could help his odds at Cannes and beyond. —EK
Polanski Drama Per Usual
Then there’s Roman Polanski, always outspoken and still angry about not bring able to return to the U.S. because of the risk of arrest for his never-settled statutory rape case. He’s bringing “Based on a True Story” out of competition at the festival’s end, when many attendees will have already left. That worked for him in 2002, when Miramax scooped up his Holocaust drama “The Pianist” — which went all the way to Best Director and Best Actor wins for Polanski and Adrien Brody. The new film, for which Polanski shares a screenwriting credit with Olivier Assayas, revolves around a writer who gets entangled with one of her fans. It may or may not be good, but as usual with Polanski, his own troubled past threatens to overwhelm any conversations about the work itself. —AT
The Future of the Movie Business Will Get Messy
As the entertainment industry evolves, so is Cannes, showing films from theatrically friendly Amazon Studios (Todd Haynes’ “Wonderstruck” starring Michelle Williams and Julianne Moore, and Lynne Ramsay‘s “You Were Never Really Here” starring Joaquin Phoenix) and unapologetic streaming site Netflix (Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories” starring Ben Stiller, and Bong Joon Ho’s “Okja,” starring Tilda Swinton), which forced the festival to commit going forward to only playing movies that have guaranteed theatrical releases in France.
Why shouldn’t Cannes change with the times? Also changing the status quo are Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who’s showing his VR short “Carne y Arena,” and TV series “Top of the Lake” (Sundance Channel) and “Twin Peaks,” which is billed as a 70th anniversary event, but is actually the only way for Festival director Thierry Fremaux to lure David Lynch, Palme d’Or winner for “Wild at Heart,” back to the Riviera. —AT
The Legacy of Cannes Will Be Discussed In Detail
Cannes turns 70 this year. It has provided a safe haven for major films ranging from “Apocalypse Now” to “Pulp Fiction,” survived scandals and political revolutions, commanded great respect and derision from the global film industry. This year, the festival is putting additional emphasis on its legacy, giving festivalgoers special pins to commemorate the occasion, releasing a book of essays to resurface its history, and throwing a few more flashy parties than usual. Expect a lot of conversations about the role that Cannes has played in modern cinema and how it can continue to support the survival of the art form in the years to come. —EK