On May 17th cinema’s great, gifted and occasionally ground-breaking descend on the Cote D’Azur for the annual round of screenings and parties that happen at the Cannes Film Festival.
Whether you are vying for a table on the terrace of The Carlton, negotiating with determined distributors over movie rights or walking the red carpet outside the Palais Des Festivals, Cannes is all about being seen.
It is also a pretty good Festival for spotting actors and auteurs of the faith as we have a foothold in film in a way we don’t at yacht and gardening festivals.
Last year Woody Allen (my own personal hero) got things started with his subdued, but endearing Cafe Society, but beyond that our presence was a bit thin on the ground. But this year is different.
This year we are not only bringing out the big guns – Dustin Hoffman, Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Jake Gyllenhaall – but also a documentary legend- Claude Lanzmann and indie fraternal movers and shakers Benny and Josh Safdie.
Dustin, Adam and Ben are cruising the Croisette because of Noam Baumbach’s Netflix produced The Meyerowitz Stories.
New Yorker Baumbach (yep, he is one of us too) who made the smart low-budget Frances Ha is now presenting ‘an intergenerational tale of adult siblings contending with the influence of their aging father.’
So that’s Dusty playing dad to Adam and Ben which is the sort of gathering I’d like at my Friday night dinner table.
Adam Sandler hasn’t been to Cannes since he appeared (brilliantly) in Punch Drunk Love in 2003, but having just signed another four-movie deal with Netflix, he had to say ‘oui’ to France.
Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s Okja, a film about a girl who risks everything to save an animal from a multinational company is the Sci Fi action thriller that brings Jake Gyllenhaal to the Festival.
Jake who had his barmitzvah in a homeless shelter and was number 6 on Shalom’s list of “the 50 most talented, intelligent, funny, and gorgeous Jewish men in the world” was on the Jury at Cannes in 2015.
At 92 Shoah director Claude Lanzmann ( who famously lived with Simone De Beauvoir in the 50’s)still knows how to make waves and will do so with Napalm, a documentary filmed in North Korea 60 years after the country was destroyed by bombing.
Ever defiant in the face of controversy, maestro Roman Polanski (winner of the Palme d’Or in 2002) is bringing his Hitcockian thriller: Based On A True Story which is all about one woman taking possession of the life of another.
Isabelle Huppert is still coping with the fall-out of her Oscar nominated role in Elle, but the actress who is half-Jewish may help Austrian director Michael Haneke to win the Palme D’or for the third time . She appears in his film Happy End which also stars French Jewish director Mathieu Kassovitz and is set in Calais where a bourgeois family lives happily, oblivious to the European refugee crisis happening outside their door.
With a line-up like this we have good reason to kvell at the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival, but not as much as Mrs Safdie who’s sons the indie filmmakers Benny and Josh have made the ‘neo grindhouse’ caper Good Time starring Jewish actress Jennifer Jason Leigh and Robert Pattinson who plays a robber .
The directing team’s projects include Daddy Longlegs, which was at Cannes in 2009 and Heaven Know’s What which won an award at the Venice Film Festival, so who know’s what they’ll take home from Cannes. I plan to take home a selfie with Dustin, Adam and Ben.