See the cinematic glamour of the 77th Cannes Film Festival - GulfToday

See the cinematic glamour of the 77th Cannes Film Festival

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From left, Alyla Browne, Tom Burke, Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth. Reuters

Welcome to Cannes. The annual film festival is always a spectacle, but 2024’s edition may be the most combustible in years. The 77th Cannes red carpet unfurls against a backdrop of war and protest. The #MeToo movement, so slow to take root in France, is now quickly tearing through the country’s film industry. Festival workers have threatened to strike. And yet, the usual cavalcade of celebrities and filmmakers from around the world are descending upon the French Riviera over the course of two weeks.

Cate Blanchett 22 Cate Blanchett poses for photographers at the photo call for the film 'Rumours' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes. AP

The big premieres on Saturday were Jacques Audiard’s “Emilia Perez,” Jia Zhang-Ke’s “Caught by the Tides” and “Rumours,” co-directed by Guy Maddin. Meanwhile, the casts of Yorgos Lanthimos’ “Kinds of Kindness” and Paul Schrader’s “Oh, Canada” faced the media. Standing ovations may be commonplace at Cannes premieres but press screenings here, like in most places, usually pass with without a single clap. That wasn’t the case for “Emilia Perez,” which drew a hearty round of applause from even cynical critics and journalists. It’s a movie that, on its face, has no right to working. Zoe Saldaña stars as Rita, a Mexico City lawyer hired by a the kingpin of a drug cartel to help him flee Mexico to have gender confirmation surgery. This turns out to be just the beginning of a relationship that will continue between Rita and Emilia Perez (Karla Sofía Gascón), whose wife (Selena Gomez) is also in the mix. Oh, and it’s a musical. Here, finally, is a film that can be compared to both “Sicario” and “Mrs. Doubtfire.” Odd as that may sound, the unabashed audacity of “Emilia Perez” is tough to resist. Cannes might have had its first breakout hit from the competition lineup.

Emma Stone and Yorgos Lanthimos were speaking to a reporter at the Carlton Hotel when the news broke on their next movie together. It’s been just a few months since “Poor Things” was at the Oscars, and their latest collaboration, “Kinds of Kindness,” had premiered only the night before in cannes. But they’ll reunite again in “Bugonia,” for Focus Features, described as being about a kidnapping by a pair of conspiracy obsessives. Joining them this time is Jesse Plemons, a standout in “Kinds of Kindness.” “He’s become part of the family,” Stone said.

 Margaret Qualley 1 Director Coralie Fargeat and cast members Dennis Quaid, Margaret Qualley, and Demi Moore pose. 

The year’s festival has seen some very famous veterans of Cannes back on the Croisette, George Miller, Cate Blanchett and Francis Ford Coppola.  Francis Ford Coppola colourfully faced the media the day after the premiere of “Megalopolis,” Yorgos Lanthimos debuted his “Poor Things” follow-up, “Kinds of Kindness,” and Paul Schrader unveiled his Russell Banks adaptation, “Oh, Canada.”

A mere three months after “Poor Things” was taking home Oscars, Lanthimos and Emma Stone came to cannes with their third and most provocative collaboration in “Kinds of Kindness.” This film, a triptych of subversive head-scratchers, uses much of the same company of actors — Jesse Plemons, Margaret Qualley, Willem Dafoe, Mamoudou Athie, Hong Chau and Stone — across the strange tales revolving around controlling relationships. There are connecting threads and colour schemes, but it’s striking how, for 167 minutes, Lanthimos and company are emphatically not in awards-movie mode anymore. It’s been a grand festival for bird movies.

After Thursday offered Andrea Arnold’s gritty, warm-hearted fable “Bird,” on Friday, I caught Zambian-British director Rungano Nyoni’s “On Becoming a Guinea Fowl,” an even more beguiling work of avian-themed cinema. Nyoni’s first film, “I Am Not a Witch,” was a Cannes standout in 2017, and her latest confirms her as a thrilling filmmaking talent. “On Becoming a Guinea Fowl,” which A24 is distributing, is again deftly playful and darkly comic about quite serious things.

Meanwhile, the show-stopper on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival so far this year is without a doubt an anonymous dog in a puffy yellow train dress. But humans turned heads too. Here are some of them. Naomi Campbell The 53-year-old super model turned back time when she slipped into a sequined black Chanel dress she first wore 27 years ago for the premiere of “Furiosa”.

Anya Taylor-Joy The star of the Mad Max saga prequel gave a modern take on the 1950s with a tight chignon and corset, red lips and a floor-sweeping sparkling champagne Dior dress. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan Miss World 1994 received mixed reviews for her glimmering turquoise and silver gown. Eva Green, the British actress, and member of the cannes jury, injected an elegant moth vibe into her gothic palette of black with a sculpted translucent dress by Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen. Iris Mittenaere, the French model and 2016 Miss Universe received praise for a tight black Schiaparelli dress with a golden coral-reef like sculpture encrusted on its front and back.

Agence France-Presse

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