Michael Douglas beamed all over his face in Cannes. The Hollywood star had every reason to. At the opening of the 76th Film Festival, the US actor accepted the Golden Palm of Honour. “It means so much to me,” said the 78-year-old on Tuesday night on stage. There are hundreds of festivals in the world, but only one Cannes. He is even older than the festival, he said, and in his speech looked back on his career and important companions.
Uma Thurman then found warm words. The actress, who was accompanied by her son, praised Douglas in her short speech as “unique – both as a producer and as an iconic movie star”.
Cannes Festival: “Invoking Our Freedom”
Actress Chiara Mastroianni led through the opening ceremony. “The purpose of this festival was and remains the evocation of our freedom,” she said. “The freedom to express the power and fragility of our existence.” Alongside Douglas, Mastroianni also welcomed this year’s jury onto the stage – headed by director Ruben Östlund.
After the gala, the opening film “Jeanne du Barry” was to be shown, which also meant the return of Johnny Depp to the screen. He embodies the French King Louis XV in the film by the French actress and director Maïwenn.
Depp’s performance in the opening film has drawn criticism from feminist groups. Depp had dealt with his ex-wife Amber Heard in an endless process in court, both had accused each other of domestic violence. Maïwenn admitted she was worried about Depp’s image at times.
More women than ever before represented in Cannes
This year there are more female directors in the competition than ever before. Festival director Thierry Frémaux said: “People congratulate me because we have seven women in the competition. But I refuse to take credit for that.” It’s just the times that have changed. “The growing importance of women directors in cinema is reflected here more than before.”
Basically, the selection committee always decides on the best film. “But when we’re hesitating between a man’s film and a woman’s film, we choose the woman’s film.”
A few German names are also represented in the competition this year. Frémaux said he was enthusiastic about actress Sandra Hüller, who plays roles in two competition films. “She is a fantastic actress and we are happy to see her again in Cannes.”
Also German films in the competition
He also has a special relationship with director Wim Wenders, whose feature film “Perfect Days” can be seen in the competition. His 3D documentary “Anselm” is also showing in Cannes. “Wim Wenders is someone I have a lot of admiration for,” said Frémaux. “Some of his films are among my favorites.”
President Iris Knobloch also said that she was very happy about the German participation in the competition. “I had nothing to do with it,” she added jokingly. Knobloch is the first non-French and accordingly the first German to lead the film festival.
I am an author and journalist who has worked in the entertainment industry for over a decade. I currently work as a news editor at a major news website, and my focus is on covering the latest trends in entertainment. I also write occasional pieces for other outlets, and have authored two books about the entertainment industry.