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The Cannes Film Festival 2022 Has Arrived: Here's a Look at What to Expect

The Cannes Film Festival 2022 Has Arrived: Here's a Look at What to Expect for the 75th Year

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May 17 2022, Published 12:45 p.m. ET

For 75 years, the Cannes Film Festival has been a gathering point for lovers of art and film.

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Created as an answer and challenge to Nazi propaganda in another widely-attended film festival, Cannes has long been known as the haunt of free spirits and lovers of unfettered creativity.

Now, for its 75th anniversary, the Cannes Film Festival has returned with a lineup that shows why it's one of the best festivals in the world. Here's a quick rundown of what you won't want to miss coming out of this year's festival.

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The 2022 Line-up

For the last two years, the Cannes Film Festival - the world's largest - has been dealing with the same disruptions that have plagued all live entertainment events. In 2020, the festival was canceled altogether. In 2021 it was moved to July and held under strict COVID restrictions. Now, it's back in full swing - and has returned to its traditional May dates.

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The parties and orbital events have returned, and Hollywood big-names are flocking to the beautiful French city to enjoy the world's favorite film festival and see what this year's creative minds have dreamed to life.

It all kicks off today with a zombie film titled, "Final Cut."

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At Cannes, feature films make up the official selection - 21 films this year - and among those are chosen a winner of the Palme d'Or. Alongside the 21 features will be a myriad of other films from small indie productions to big names that didn't make the selection cut. 50 films will screen this year, including some with Hollywood heavyweights. Here are some of the films you won't want to miss coming out of Cannes:

  • "Top Gun: Maverick" The beloved film franchise starring Tom Cruise is back for its newest addition.
  • "Elvis": By enigmatic director and producer Baz Luhrmann, this sparkly retelling of Elvis' life comes with Austin Butler as the titular role and Tom Hanks as manager Colonel Tom Parker.
  • "Crimes of the Future": Returning Cannes feature director David Cronenberg tells the story of a future where mankind is something more - or less? - than human.
  • "Showing Up": Starring Michelle Williams, this movie is directed by Kelly Reichardt and also includes Andre 3000, Judd Hirsch and Amanda Plummer.
  • "Broker": The first Korean-language film by Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda, "Broker" includes star actor Song Kang-Ho and tells the real-life story of babies abandoned in boxes.
  • "Silent Twins": From Polish director Agnieszka Smoczyńska comes the story of British twins June and Jennifer Gibbons who never spoke to anyone besides each other. Letitia Wright and Tamara Lawrance play the twins.
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Many more films will screen this week, so if you're a film lover - keep your eyes peeled. 2022 offers an extraordinary lineup.

Highlights and Things You Should Know

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Hollywood is sending some of her biggest names to France for the week. Per Reuters, "Actor Forest Whitaker will be on hand to receive the festival's Honorary Palme D'Or for lifetime achievement.

David Cronenberg will mark his return to horror films with 'Crimes of the Future,' featuring Viggo Mortensen, Kristen Stewart and Lea Seydoux.

Asia will have a strong showing, despite the absence of China, with films by Park Chan-wook and Hirokazu Kore-eda in competition and 'Squid Game' actor Lee Jung-jae premiering his new film 'Hunt.'"

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The impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is being felt heavily across Cannes and the world today. Even that inaugural film "Final Cut" was initially titled, "Z, like Z" but the name was changed because of the letter's association with the war. Russians with ties to the government are being banned from this year's festival.

Also being shown this week is a film by Russian exile Kirill Serebrennikov, who has been outspoken about his opposition to the war.

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Reuters writes, "Also screening is 'Mariupolis 2' by Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravicius, 45, who was killed in Mariupol, the Ukrainian city heavily bombarded by Russian forces, nearly a month ago while working on the film. His fiancée Hanna Bilobrova, who finished the project, will present it.

Another Ukrainian entry is a debut film from Maksim Nakonechnyi, 'Butterfly Vision,' the story of a young Ukrainian woman who returns to her country after being captured then released in a prisoner swap.

'We will be thinking a lot about film, but we will never stop thinking about what is happening in Ukraine as well,' said Fremaux who was peppered with questions about the festival's position on the war."

Cannes - a History

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Now that the festival is celebrating an extraordinary 75th year, it's worth looking back to see how the festival of rebellious art came to be in the first place.

"Cannes was created as a creative answer to the Venice Film Festival, which first debuted in 1932. Over the next 6 years, Venice would slowly become a vehicle for Nazi and fascist propaganda, and the film industry wanted to reclaim their creativity, so Cannes was imagined. The very first Cannes festival had been planned for 1939, but it was not to be. In June of ’39’, Cannes was announced to run from September 1st through 20th later that year; but on September 1st, Adolf Hitler Invaded Poland. The French government announced a plan to mobilize and the festival was – forgive the pun – canned.

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After the war, the French government wanted to revisit the idea of Cannes in order to lure tourists back to their sandy shores, and in 1946 Cannes came back from the ashes. Economic strife in the festival’s early years made it a touch-and-go annual event, but it slowly began picking up steam in the late ’50’s.

By 2019, over 170 countries were represented at the festival. Until 2003, it was known as the International Film Festival, and the name has always been apt. Created as an answer to propaganda and hate, Cannes has always been a beacon of creativity and forward-thinking."

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During the height of the pandemic, Cannes’ home base, Palais de Festivals, was lined with hospital beds and later became a vaccinodrome as a volley in the war against COVID.

Cannes 2021 was also one of the first large-scale entertainment events to re-open after lockdowns have lifted, and served as a beacon of hope and renewal.

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This year's lineup promises to be bigger and better than ever - but what makes it so special isn't just that Hollywood is involved up to its elbows this year.

It's the fact that Cannes is a gathering of hope, creativity, expression, and freedom - all things sorely needed in Europe and around the world these days.

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