David Cronenberg’s return to body horror with his new sci-fi thriller ‘Crimes of the Future’ earns him gold next month at the Cannes Film Festival.
The acclaimed Toronto writer/director, who has made a name for himself with such visceral viewings as ‘The Fly’, ‘Videodrome’ and ‘The Brood’, is the only Canadian contender to compete for the Palme d’Or of the feature film. film during the 75th edition of the French Festival, which takes place from May 17 to 28. There are 18 films from around the world in the Palme competition.
Cannes world premiere eagerly awaited by critics and fans, “Crimes of the Future” stars Viggo Mortensen, Kristen Stewart and Léa Seydoux in a shocking future tale about extreme body modification by nature and surgery. (It has the same futuristic title and setting as a 1970 Cronenberg film, but an entirely different story.)
This will be the sixth time Cronenberg, 79, has competed at Cannes and his first time in eight years. His most recent Palme attempt dates back to 2014 for “Maps to the Stars”, a Hollywood satire. He can’t wait to leave.
“It’s a pleasure to return to Cannes for the premiere of ‘Crimes of the Future’, a film that grapples with universal questions, concerns and fears about our bodies, evolution and what some would consider the threat what technology means to our humanity,” Cronenberg said in a press release.
“I believe it is a film of our time and I look forward to its unveiling in one of the most prestigious theaters in the world.”
“Crimes of the Future” is one of the 47 films in the 2022 Cannes Official Selection unveiled Thursday morning during a Parisian press conference. (Festival director Thierry Frémaux said a few more titles, along with the Palme d’Or jury and president, will be announced in the coming days.)
Several of the other films in the Palme competition are new works by former Palme winners: “Triangle of Sadness”, a social satire by Swedish director Ruben Östlund (“The Square”); “Broker,” a drama about child abandonment by Japanese director Kore-eda Hirokazu (“Shoplifters”); “Tori and Lokita,” a drama about refugees from Belgians Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (“Rosetta,” “The Child”); and “RMN,” a mystery drama by Cristian Mungiu (“4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days”).
Other notable Palm contenders include: American filmmaker James Gray’s ‘Armageddon Time’, a coming-of-age film set in 1980s New York, starring Anne Hathaway, Anthony Hopkins and Jeremy Strong (“Succession” on television); “Stars at Noon”, a romantic thriller by Frenchwoman Claire Denis, with Margaret Qualley and Joe Alwyn; “Showing Up,” a comedy about life as art by American filmmaker Kelly Reichardt, starring Michelle Williams; and “Decision to Leave,” a crime thriller from South Korean director Park Chan-wook, starring Tang Wei from Bi Gan’s critically acclaimed film noir “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.”
Hollywood is making a big comeback to Cannes, as are festival-goers, after a canceled festival in 2020 and a delayed and cautious festival in 2021 caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Frémaux said it’s too early to say what COVID protocols will be this year, but he expects “almost a return to normalcy” for movies and parties.
“The scope is wide, the red carpets will be sumptuous! added the president of the Cannes festival, Pierre Lescure, who joined Frémaux to announce the titles of the Official Selection.
The blockbuster ‘Top Gun: Maverick’, starring Tom Cruise in the long-awaited sequel to his hit 1986 action film ‘Top Gun’, will have its world premiere on the Croisette.
It will screen out of competition, as will Baz Luhrmann’s musical biopic “Elvis,” starring Austin Butler as Elvis Presley and Tom Hanks as his manager, Col. Tom Parker. Both films had already been announced for Cannes. Elvis fans will also be delighted to hear that Presley’s granddaughter, actor Riley Keough (“Zola”), is making her directorial debut at Cannes 2022 with “Beast,” co-directed by Gina Gammell, an intertwined story of three Lakota men that will premiere in the Un Certain Regard section that highlights new talent.
It’s a big year for rock star movies at Cannes. There will also be a midnight screening of “Moonage Daydream,” a David Bowie documentary by Brett Morgen (“Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck”) that includes plenty of never-before-seen concert footage, and a special screening of “Jerry Lee Lewis : Trouble In Mind,” a documentary about the 1950s rock pioneer, aka “The Killer,” directed by Ethan Coen of Coen Bros. fame.
The festival will open on May 17 with “Z,” a zombie comedy from Frenchman Michel Hazanavicius, whose 2011 Cannes nominee “The Artist” won Best Picture at the Oscars. Opening out of competition, it features Romain Duris and Bérénice Bejo (“The Artist”).
“Z” has a provocative title, given that the letter stands for “zombie” and is also a symbol used by supporters of Russia’s current invasion of Ukraine. This was not lost on Frémaux, who urged people to watch Hazanavicius’ 2014 Palme d’Or contender ‘The Search’, which is set on the front lines of Russia’s 1999 invasion of Chechnya. (The Cannes Film Festival banned films with official Russian films). of the screening at the 2022 festival, as a sign of solidarity with Ukraine.)
We thought ‘Three Thousand Years of Nostalgia’, an epic romantic fantasy by Australian George Miller starring Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton, might have been the pick for the Cannes opening gala. Miller’s previous film, “Mad Max: Fury Road,” opened the 2015 festival.
“Three Thousand Years of Longing” also figured in critical speculation about possible contenders for the Palme. Instead, he will be thrown out of competition.
But at least it will be in Cannes, contrary to a rumored new David Lynch movie, which many film industry insiders thought was a Palme shoo-in until Lynch shot down the rumor mill earlier this week.
Also MIA, at least for now, is “Women Talking,” a drama about female empowerment from Canadian Sarah Polley that stars Frances McDormand, Jessie Buckley, Rooney Mara, Claire Foy and Ben Whishaw.
Considered a Palme competition prospect, it’s possible “Women Talking” will instead be set for the fall festival circuit, including TIFF.
Polley’s film could still land a Cannes premiere, as the official selection grows and the Directors’ Fortnight and International Critics’ Week side sections announce their films in the coming days.
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