Paul Verhoeven, Oliver Stone, Sean Baker, Asghar Farhadi, Tom McCarthy and Sean Penn are among the directors who will be represented in the official selection of the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, which will take place from July 6-17 in the south of France.
Verhoeven’s “Benedetta,” Baker’s “Red Rocket” and Farhadi “A Hero” will be represented in the main competition. “Spotlight” director McCarthy will screen his Matt Damon film “Stillwater” out of competition, while Stone will present the first two hours of his four-hour documentary about the John F. Kennedy assassination, “JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass.”
As previously announced, the festival will open with Leos Carax’s musical “Annette,” with music by the band Sparks, and will also include Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch,” which was originally scheduled to premiere in Cannes last year.
After the Cannes press release had been sent out and general delegate Thierry Fremaux and festival president Pierre Lescure had unveiled the lineup at a press conference on Thursday morning in Paris, Fremaux added that a 24th film had been added to the main competition: Sean Penn’s “Flag Day.” It is Penn’s first directorial effort since “The Last Face,” which premiered at the festival in 2016 to withering reviews.
The lineup contains a relatively small number of American films — which, in addition to the McCarthy, Baker, Penn and Stone films, also include Todd Haynes’ music documentary “The Velvet Underground.”
Other veteran directors frequently represented in Cannes include Emmanuelle Bercot (“De Son Vivant”), Andrea Arnold (“Cow”), Hong Sang-soo (“In Front of Your Face”), Apichatpong Weerasethakul (“Memoria”), Jacques Audiard (“Paris, 13th District”), Francois Ozon (“Tout S’est Bien Passe”) and Nanni Moretti (“Tre Piani”).
Four of the 24 films in the main competition were directed by women: Mia Hansen-Love’s “Bergman Island,” Catherine Corsini’s “La Fracture,” Ildiko Enyedi’s “The Story of My Life” and Julia Ducournau’s “Titane.”
In the press conference, Fremaux said that no Netflix films were in the selection because the company refused to screen its films outside the main competition, and it refused to abide by French rules that films must be shown theatrically in France to be part of that competition.
Netflix has one film this year that would have been a natural fit for Cannes: “The Power of the Dog” by Jane Campion, the only female director to ever win the Palme d’Or, which she did for “The Piano” in 1993.
Although the continuing pandemic caused Cannes organizers to postpone this year’s festival from its usual mid-May slot to early July, the festival was determined to take place physically, with attendees required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within the last 48 hours. (Testing centers will be provided in Cannes.) Masks will also be required in the theaters, which under French law are permitted to operate at 100% capacity.
It will be the first full-scale Cannes since May 2019, when the event ended with “Parasite” winning the Palme d’Or. Last year’s festival was canceled completely, though Cannes did release a “Cannes 2020” list of films that it would have booked if it could have. A scaled-down festival took place in October, with largely outdoor screenings of four films from the official selection and a competition section of shorts.
This year’s lineup also included a new section, Cannes Premiere, where new films will be presented out of competition in the Salle Debussy, a smaller theater adjacent to the festival’s showcase venue, the Grand Theatre Lumiere.
The official selection
“Annette,” Leos Carax (opening film)
“A Felesegem Tortenete” (“The Story of My Wife”), Ildiko Enyedi
“Benedetta,” Paul Verhoeven
“Bergman Island,” Mia Hansen-Love
“Casablanca Beats,” Nabil Ayouch
“Drive My Car,” Ryusuke Hamaguchi
“Flag Day,” Sean Penn
“The French Dispatch,” Wes Anderson
“Ha’Berech” (“Ahed’s Knee”), Nadav Lapid
“A Heros,” Asghar Farhadi
“Hytti Nro 6” (“Compartment No. 6”), Juho Kuosmanen
“La Fracture,” Catherine Corsini
“Lingiu,” Mahamat-Saleh Haron
“Memoria,” Apichatpong Weerasethakul
“Nitram,” Justin Kurzel
“France,” Bruno Dumont
“Paris 13th District,” Jacques Audiard
“Petrov’s Flu,” Kirill Serebrennikov
“Red Rocket,” Sean Baker
“The Restless,” Joachim Lafosse
“Tre Piani,” Nanni Moretti
“Titane,” Julia Ducournau
“Tout S’est Bien Passe,” Francois Ozon
“The Worst Person in the World,” Joachim Trier
UN CERTAIN REGARD
“After Yang,” Kogonada
“Blue Bayou,” Justin Chon
“Bonne Mere,” Hafsia Herzi
“Commitment Hasan,” Hasan Semih Kaplanoglu
“Delo” (“House Arrest”), Alexey German Jr.
“Freda,” Gessica Geneus
“Gaey Wa’r,” Na Jiazou
“Great Freedom” Sebastian Meise
“The Innocents,” Eskil Vogt
“La Civil,” Teodora Ana Mihai
“Lamb,” Valdimar Johansson
“Let There Be Morning,” Eran Kolirin
“Moneyboys,” C.B. Yi
“Noche de Fuego,” Tatiana Huezo
“Rehana Maryam Noor,” Abdullah Mohammed Saad
“Un Monde,” Laura Wandel
“Unclenching the Fists,” Kira Kovalenko
“Women Do Cry,” Mina Mileva, Vesela Kazakova
“Babi Yar. Context,” Sergei Loznitsa
“Black Notebooks,” Shlomi Elkabetz
“O Marinheiro das Montanhas” (“Mariner of the Mountains”), Karim Ainouz
“H6,” Ye Ye
“The Year of the Everlasting Storm,” Jafar Panahi, Anthony Chen, Malik Vitthal, Laura Poitras, Dominga Sotomayor, David Lowery, Apichatpong Weerasethakul
OUT OF COMPETITION
“Aline, The Voice of Love,” Valerie Lemercier
“Bac Nord,” Cedric Jimenez
“De Son Vivant,” Emmanuelle Bercot
“Emergency Declaration,” Han Jae-Rim
“Stillwater,” Tom McCarthy
“The Velvet Underground,” Todd Haynes “Stillwater,” Tom McCarthy
“Bloody Oranges,” Jean-Christophe Meurisse
“Cow,” Andrea Arnold
“Deception,” Arnaud Desplechin
“Evolution,” Kornel Mundruczo
“Hold Me Tight,” Mathieu Amalric
“In Front of Your Face,” Hong Sang-soo
“Jane by Charlotte,” Charlotte Gainsbourgh
“JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass,” Oliver Stone
“Love Songs for Tough Guys,” Samuel Benchetrit
“Mothering Sunday,” Eva Husson
“Val,” Ting Poo, Leo Scott