In 2020, the Cannes Film Festival was canceled for the first time since World War II due to the COVID-19 global health pandemic. However, after a year-long break, the festivities have resumed as celebrities, socialites, influencers, and movie fans step onto the red carpet in glitz and glamour. This year, the annual festival, which will run from July 6 through July 17, is staged in the French Riviera’s beguiling resort town, Promenade de la Croisette, and has been a sea of glittering premieres and parties.
Thus far, the celebrities are making up for the lost time in many stunning looks ranging from embellished floor-length gowns to show-stopping pants, suits, and blazers. Supermodel Bella Hadid looks ethereal in a Schiaparelli gown from the new couture collection, influencer Jessica Wang paying an ode to yellow in a stunning sleeveless layered dress by Tony Ward, Spike Lee stealing the red carpet show in a hot-pink Louis Vuitton suit.
The film festival’s opening ceremony on July 6 debuted the film screening of Leos Carax’s Annette. In the movie premiere, French actor Adam Driver makes a magnetic presence as a provocative stand-up comedian married to Marion Cotillard, who portrays a world-famous soprano. The couple’s idyllic and straightforward life changed after the birth of their child, who has a mysterious gift. Other movies making a premiere during the festival include The French Dispatch by Wes Anderson, France by Bruno Dumont featuring Palme d’Or-winning French star Wes Anderson, Memoria, by Thai independent filmmaker and the winner of the 2010 Palme d’Or, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Flag Day, a father-daughter coming of age drama by Hollywood actor and director, Sean Penn.
Beyond the movie premiere and fashion runway, issues such as the low female representation in the festival have also made headlines. In the Cannes Festival’s 75 years of history, there have never been more than four women running for top awards. As per usual, only four films in the main competition out of twenty-four films are directed by women and the Palme d’Or has only ever been won once by a woman, Jane Campion, for The Piano in 1993.
In 2018, prominent women in the filmmaking industry held a protest in the wake of the #MeToo movement, but not many changes have been noticed. However, more women are now on the selection committees. However, other festival sections witnessed a fine selection of women, with over 40 women submitting their films in the program. This year, three of the female directors up for the Palme d’Or are French: Mia Hansen-Love, Bergman Island, Catherine Corsini, with The Divide, and Julia Ducournau, with Titane. In the fourth position vying for the Cannes top award with The Story of my Wife is Hungarian filmmaker Ildiko Enyedi, winner of the 2017 Berlin Golden Bear Award.
The film festival organizers are also promoting efforts to reduce CO2 emission, reduce waste, and protect the climate by focusing on special programs aimed at those effects. For the festival, plastic bottles were wholly avoided, and the volume of red carpet used was reduced. For transportation, the organizers used electric and hybrid cars as part of their official fleet.