Cannes kicks off with a Palme d’Or for Meryl Streep and a post-‘Barbie’ fete of Greta Gerwig


Amid intermittent rain, the Cannes Film Festival opened on Tuesday with the presentation of an honorary Palm d'Or to Meryl Streep and the unveiling of the jury to Greta Gerwig, as the French Riviera kicked off a potentially volatile 77th edition. of.

The 10-day stream of stars started flowing on the Cannes red carpet with the opening night film, “The Second Act,” a French comedy starring Lea Seydoux, Vincent Lindon, Louis Garrel and Raphaël Quenard. They play actors squabbling in a film shoot directed by an artificial intelligence.

However, the festival's first long standing ovation went to Streep, who was awarded an honorary Palme d'Or during Tuesday's opening ceremony. After Juliette Binoche introduced herself, Streep took turns shaking her head, fanning herself and dancing while the crowd cheered loudly.

“I'm just so grateful that you weren't bothered by my face and that you didn't get off the train,” said Streep, who announced her official Cannes debut with Binoche shortly thereafter.

“My mother, who is usually right about everything, said to me: 'Meryl, my love, you'll see. It all happens so fast. So fast,'” Streep said. “And it has happened, and it happens. Except for my speech, which is too long.” The reception was almost as enthusiastic for Gerwig, the first American female filmmaker to serve as president of the Cannes jury, which will decide the festival's top prize, the Palme d'Or.

Cannes artistic director Thierry Frémaux on Monday praised him as the “ideal director” for Cannes, noting his work in arthouse and studio film and his interest in cinema history. And, Frémaux said, “We loved 'Barbie'.” In the coming days, Cannes will premiere George Miller's “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga,” Francis Ford Coppola's self-financed “Megalopolis” and anticipated new films from Paolo Sorrentino, Yorgos Lanthimos, Andrea Arnold and Kevin Costner.

But most of the drama surrounding this year's Cannes has happened off-screen.

The French film industry is definitely dealing with a #MeToo moment after French actress Judith Godreche accused two film directors of raping and sexually assaulting a teenage girl earlier this year. On Wednesday, Godreche will premiere her short film “Moi Aussie.” Asked about the expansion of #MeToo in France, Gerwig told reporters in Cannes on Tuesday that it was progress.

“I think people in the film community tell us stories and try to change things for the better, which is good,” Gerwig said. “I have seen significant change in the American film community, and I think it's important that we continue to expand that conversation. So I think this is all moving in the right direction. Keep those lines of communication open.” Along with Gerwig, the jury includes “Killers of the Flower Moon” star Lily Gladstone, French actor Eva Green, Spanish filmmaker JA Bayona, French actor Omar Sy, Lebanese actor and director Nadine Labaki, Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda, Turkish Are. Screenwriter Ebru Ceylan and Italian actor Pierfrancesco Favino.

“I thought I got rid of my imposter syndrome just last year,” said the Oscar-nominated Gladstone. “But I'll start all over again.” Jurors were asked how a number of real-world concerns outside the festival might influence their deliberations. One film in competition, Ali Abbasi's “The Apprentice,” stars Sebastian Stan as a young Donald Trump. Questions were raised from Labaki on the war in Gaza.

“I really believe that's one of the tools to really change something in the situation that we're all living in right now, which is a situation that I think is not that good, really,” Labaki said. It's through art and cinema.” “It may propose a more tolerant way of looking at things and seeing each other as human beings.” Filmmakers play an important role in reminding the world where beauty can be found, Favino said.

Favino said, “That's why I decided I could live here without feeling guilty as a human being. Because if we seek beauty, we can also seek peace.” Other concerns are also swirling over this year's Cannes Festival, with workers fed up with short-term contracts that leave them ineligible for unemployment benefits in the middle of the festival and workers threatening to strike.

During Tuesday's opening ceremony, two small bands of festival workers protested, including a group that unfurled a banner from the palace roof.

On Monday, Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof, whose film “The Seed of the Sacred Fig” is premiering in competition at Cannes next week, said he fled Iran after being sentenced to eight years in prison and flogging Were. The film is said to be a critical portrayal of the Iranian government.

However, as Cannes continues, many people's attention will be on the stars parading down the festival's famous red carpet. They will include Emma Stone, Anya Taylor-Joy, Demi Moore, Selena Gomez, Nicolas Cage and Barry Keoghan. At the closing ceremony on May 25, George Lucas will receive an honorary Palm d'Or.

Either way, the 77th Cannes will have a lot of catching up to do.

Last year's festival, widely celebrated for its strong line-up, produced three Oscar best picture nominees: “Anatomy of a Fall,” “The Zone of Interest” and “Killers of the Flower Moon.” A good Cannes will help France remain in the global spotlight during the summer. The festival will be followed by the French Open, Tour de France and the Summer Olympics in Paris.

On May 21, the Olympic flame will be carried up the steps of the Palais des Festivals, the center of the festivities.

To help rekindle the spirit of last year's celebration, Messi, the canine star of “Anatomy of a Fall,” was the first star to hit the red carpet on Tuesday. The border collie, who was enlisted to film daily snippets for French TV, was jumping up and down on the carpet while tuxedo-clad photographers yelled “Messi!” Messi!” (AP) RDS RDS

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