Americans have always been stars of the red carpet in Cannes. The festival’s 70th edition kicks off on Wednesday, May 17, and is no exception. Jessica Chastain and Will Smith will be members of the Palme d’or jury, Uma Thurman will be president of the Un Certain Regard jury, and ten American movies will be screened over the two-week festival.
Noah Baumbach / “The Meyerowitz Stories” / Competing for the Palme d’or
The American director was acclaimed for The Squid and the Whale (2005), Greenberg (2010) and Frances Ha (2012), and this year will be presenting a drama about the reunion of a dysfunctional family. The movie is distributed by Netflix, heralding the streaming giant’s first time at the festival, but will never be screened in theaters.
John Cameron Mitchell / “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” / Out of competition
Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning are respectively starring in four and two films presented at Cannes this year, including this one in which they play two young alien women visiting in London’s 1970s punk era. John Cameron Mitchell has adapted Neil Gaiman’s successful science-fiction short story, taking audiences into a quite singular universe.
Jessica Chastain / Member of the jury
The Californian actress was featured in Time magazine’s World’s 100 Most Influential People list in 2012. She was nominated at the Oscars for her role in The Help (2011) and Zero Dark Thirty (2012), and is a regular guest at the Deauville American Film Festival. This year she will be a member of the jury presided by Pedro Almodóvar.
Bonni Cohen & Jon Shenk / “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” / Special screening
What does the future hold for the environmental movement in Donald Trump’s America? In this “fascinating and exciting” sequel to the documentary An Inconvenient Truth (2006), the U.S. filmmaking couple follow politician and activist Al Gore as he campaigns to fight climate change.
Sofia Coppola / “The Beguiled” / Competing for the Palme d’or
After The Virgin Suicides (1998), Somewhere (2010) and The Bling Ring (2013), the U.S. director has returned to her favorite theme: adolescence. Her feature film adapted from Thomas Cullinan’s novel immerses viewers in the American South, where a Union soldier injured in the Civil War finds refuge in a school for young girls. Interplaying animosity and sexual tension, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning and Colin Farrell take the screen by storm.
Todd Haynes / “Wonderstruck” / Competing for the Palme d’or
Adapted from the graphic novel by Brian Selznick, this movie tells two stories, following Rose, a young deaf-mute runaway looking for her idol in New York, and Ben a young deaf orphan searching for his father. Todd Haynes directs one of his go-to actresses, Julianne Moore, who previously starred in Safe (1995) and Far from Heaven (2002).
Eugene Jarecki / “Promised Land” / Special screening
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival for his films Why We Fight (2005) and The House I Live In (2012), the documentary-maker and activist drives across the United States in Elvis Presley’s Rolls Royce on the eve of the 2016 presidential election. A musical reflection on the American Dream.
David Lynch / “Twin Peaks” / Anniversary screening
The screening that fans of Laura Palmer have been waiting for since 1990. The American television channel Showtime will be hosting a preview showing of first two episodes of the next installment in the Twin Peaks series by David Lynch. Monica Bellucci, the mistress of ceremonies for this year’s festival, stars alongside Sheryl Lee and Kyle MacLachlan.
Ben & Joshua Safdie / “Good Time” / Competing for the Palme d’or
The two brothers made a splash at the 2008 Directors’ Fortnight with The Pleasure of Being Robbed, an ultra-realistic movie filmed for next to nothing on the streets of New York. Their latest work, Good Time, follows a small-time crook (Robert Pattinson) who will stop at nothing to get his brother out of prison after a botched armed robbery.
Taylor Sheridan / “Wind River” / Competing in the Un Certain Regard category
The actor who shot to fame in the series Sons of Anarchy is getting behind the camera. For his first feature film, Taylor Sheridan takes Cannes’ audiences across the snowy wilderness of Wyoming, where a veteran game tracker and a young FBI agent investigate a murder committed on a Native American reservation. An ice-cold thriller.
Will Smith / Member of the jury
From his first steps in the series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to his Oscar nominations for Ali (2001) and The Pursuit of Happiness (2006), without forgetting his iconic role in the Men in Black franchise, Will Smith has helped defined two decades of film and television. At this year’s festival, the actor will be sat at the jury table alongside fellow-American Jessica Chastain, and jury president Pedro Almodóvar.
Kristen Stewart / “Come Swim” / Anniversary screening
The “Frenchest” American actress takes audiences on a journey through the imagination of a man on the brink of despair in this experimental short film. Pop singer St. Vincent wrote the score, and the movie already got people talking at its screening at the Sundance Film Festival.
Uma Thurman / President of the Un Certain Regard jury
Uma Thurman will always be a Chuck Berry-loving junkie (Pulp Fiction) or a yellow spandex-clad samurai (Kill Bill) for many film buffs. The actress was a member of the jury in 2011, and this year is returning as president of the Un Certain Regard jury. Some 16 films will be competing in this category, including Laurent Cantet’s The Workshop, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Before We Vanish, and Michel Franco’s April’s Daughter.