After 21 world premieres, nearly two weeks of red-carpet parades and hundreds of thousands of camera flashes, the 76th Cannes Film Festival concludes Saturday with the presentation of its top prize, the Palme d’Or.
One of cinema’s most sought-after awards will be decided by this year’s jury, presided over by two-time Palme winner Ruben Östlund, the Swedish director. The brief ceremony will precede the festival’s closing night film, the Pixar animation ‘Elemental’.
Any of the 21 films that played in Cannes’ main competition line-up can win the Palme. Among the critical favourites of this year’s festival are Jonathan Glazer’s ‘The Zone of Interest’, a chilling Martin Amis adaptation about a German family living next door to Auschwitz; ‘Fallen Leaves’, Finish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki’s deadpan romance; and ‘Anatomy of a Fall’, Justine Triet’s twisty French Alps courtroom drama.
Two of those — ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ and ‘The Zone of Interest’ — star German actor Sandra Hüller, a likely candidate for best actress.
Saturday’s ceremony draws to close a Cannes edition that hasn’t lacked spectacle, stars or controversy.
The biggest wattage premieres came out of competition. Martin Scorsese debuted his Osage murders epic ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’, a sprawling vision of American exploitation with Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone. ‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’, Harrison Ford’s Indy farewell, launched with a tribute to Ford. Wes Anderson premiered ‘Asteroid City’.
The festival opened on a note of controversy. ‘Jeanne du Barry’, a period drama co-starring Johnny Depp as Louis XV, played as the opening night film. The premiere marked Depp’s highest profile appearance since the conclusion of his explosive trial last year with ex-wife Amber Heard.
The selection of ‘Jeanne du Barry’ added to criticisms of Cannes for being too hospitable to men accused of abusive behaviour.
Cannes, which requires films in competition to abide by France’s strict theatrical windowing rules, has remained at an impasse with Netflix in recent years. Yet, intriguingly, a Netflix release could feasibly win the Palme. After Todd Haynes’ ‘May December’, starring Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore, premiered in competition, Netflix acquired it for distribution in North America for a reported $11 million (Dh40.39 billion).