Très Passé Cannes 2018 lineup: The descent of a once great film festival
Better get those bunion pads out, ladies, because the 71st Cannes Film Festival is upon us. After adding more draconian layers to its already outdated rules, in recent weeks the festival decided to ban press screenings, rule out red carpet selfies, and banish Netflix from competition. That’s on top of previously turning away women who dared to wear flats on the red carpet (told you you’d need those bunion pads).
During this morning’s press conference, the film festival embodiment of Hollywood’s old boys’ club announced its 2018 movie lineup, which will open with the world premiere of Asghar Farhadi’s Everybody Knows – the director’s first Spanish-language drama starring Penélope Cruz (Vanilla Sky) & Javier Bardem (mother!).
With regards to the Competition lineup, Spike Lee, Jean-Luc Godard, Jafar Panahi, and many more will be competing for Cannes’s “prestigious” Palme d’Or Award – we’re sure you’re on the edge of your seat in anticipation to find out who’s the lucky winner. But perhaps we shouldn’t be discussing who’s up for competition and instead look at who isn’t. While 2018 marks a “landmark” year with regards to Cannes diversifying its slate, the number of female directors is abysmally low, with just three women (Nadine Labaki, Eva Husson, and Alice Rohrwacher) in the seventeen-strong list.
No doubt giving itself a hefty pat on the back for featuring the highest number of movies from female filmmakers since Cannes 2011 [slow clap], compared to other major festivals like SXSW – which saw eight female-led films out of ten within the Narrative Feature competition – Cannes’s diversity representation is about as progressive as its rules on streaming services.
Speaking of which, there’s a very large Netflix-shaped hole, not only in the Competition segment, but in the entire 2018 lineup. Following a grapple that started with Cannes director Thierry Frémaux banning any films without French theatrical distribution from playing in competition at the festival, yesterday Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos announced the company’s decision to pull out of the festival altogether, taking with it a plethora of relevant, solid, and quality titles that could’ve added some much-needed buzz to the lineup.
By telling Netflix “you can’t sit with us”, Cannes has really showed its age in its attempt to desperately protect an outdated version of Hollywood. While there are numerous worthy, talented filmmakers in the 2018 lineup, the industry is changing and perhaps Cannes would’ve benefitted from accepting films released both in the theater and on VOD.
With regards to the missing list, how about badboy auteur Lars Von Trier? While many assumed the jury was out after he was banned from the festival seven years ago for making some rather unsavory comments during the press conference for his 2011 film Melancholia, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed the controversial director will be returning to Cannes 2018 and he will be bringing his serial killer drama The House That Jack Built to premiere in the Out of Competition category. Guess that’s one we can check off the missing list.
When it comes to masterpieces like, say, Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story? Cannes’s arms are wide open. So let’s get this straight – the first-rate offerings from Netflix? Nope! But Star Wars? A-okay! Right, gotcha Cannes – the festival’s really ahead of the curve when it comes to representing the world’s best independent film programming. All in all, looks like Cannes 2018 is shaping up to be exactly how we expected: elitist, outdated, and predictable.
For those who are interested (or would simply like to see what’s missing from the cut), you can find the full lineup below:
Opening Night Film
Everybody Knows – Asghar Farhadi
Le Livre D’Image – Jean-Luc Godard
Blackkklansman – Spike Lee
Three Faces – Jafar Panahi
Cold War – Pawel Pawlikowski
Leto – Kirill Serebrennikov
Lazzaro Felice – Alice Rohrwacher
Under the Silver Lake – David Robert Mitchell
Capernaum – Nadine Labaki
At War – Stéphane Brizé
Asako I&II – Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
Sorry Angel – Christophe Honoré
Dogman – Matteo Garrone
Girls of the Sun – Eva Husson
Yomeddine – A.B. Shawky
Burning – Lee-Chang Dong
Shoplifters – Kore-Eda Hirokazu
Ash Is Purest White – Jia Zhang-Ke
Dead Souls – Wang Bing
10 Years In Thailand – Aditya Assarat, Wisit Sasanatieng, Chulayarnon Sriphol & Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Pope Francis – A Man Of His Word, dir: Wim Wenders
La Traversée – Romain Goupil
To The Four Winds – Michel Toesca
Le Grand Cirque Mystique – Carlos Diegues
The State Against Mandela And The Others – Nicolas Champeaux & Gilles Porte
Arctic – Joe Penna
The Spy Gone North – Yoon Jong-Bing
Whitney – Kevin Macdonald
Fahrenheit 451 – Ramin Bahrani
Out of Competition
Un Certain Regard
Sofia – Meyem Benm’Barek
Border – Ali Abbasi
Sextape – Antoine Desrosières
The Gentle Indifference Of The World – Adilkhan Yerzhanov
El Angel – Luis Ortega
In My Room – Ulrich Kohler
The Harvesters – Etienne Kallos
My Favorite Fabric – Gaya Jiji
Friend – Wanuri Kahiu
Euphoria – Valeria Golino
Angel Face – Vanessa Filho
Girl – Lukas Dhont
Manto – Nandita Das