Cannes Report, Day 1: ‘Everybody Knows’ Premieres, Cate Blanchett Shines on the Croisette

The 2018 festival is in full swing: Some distributors have already been quick to pounce on films

Last Updated: May 11, 2018 @ 5:52 AM

The 2018 Cannes Film Festival is officially in full swing: “Everybody Knows” premiered Tuesday night to open the festival, where everyone had eyes for jury president Cate Blanchett.

Asghar Farhadi’s “Everybody Knows,” or “Todos Lo Saben,” wasn’t on the market long after the film premiered to somewhat mixed reviews — Focus Features nabbed the U.S. and international rights faster than anyone could say, “Croisette.”

Blanchett and the rest of the jury took on issues of #TimesUp and the lack of female directors during a press conference on Tuesday, with Blanchett assuring audiences that all films will be regarded equally in terms of the “quality” of the work, and not whether they have a female director or not.

Wednesday will see the premiere of two competition titles, “Yommedine” and “Leto,” the former having a first-time director — a rarity for the Cannes competition. The latter is by a director under house arrest in Russia.

All in all, a continued pattern of caution will reign when it comes to deals at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, numerous industry insiders told TheWrap. In general, festival titles have been selling at a snail’s pace since last September’s Toronto International Film Festival.

Some things to watch out for during the festival: Amazon and Netflix’s spending spree — or lack thereof — this year. And distributors buying content packages with big movie stars attached.

See what everyone has been talking about on the first day of Cannes below.

Everybody Knows Penelope Cruz Javier Bardem

“Everybody Knows” Premieres

On Tuesday, Asghar Farhadi’s new film, “Everybody Knows,” or “Todos Lo Saben,” premiered at Cannes — to somewhat mixed reviews.

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw called it an “intimately painful and powerful drama,” while IndieWire’s David Ehrlich described the film starring Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem as “a layered, absorbing kidnapping drama…. Bardem rules. Farhadi’s best since ‘A Separation.'”

However, other critics weren’t too kind. One early viewer said it was “kind of empty, low key and not at all interesting,” while Alex Billington wrote, “Just wanted it to be over, and now it thankfully is.”

Critics reviews skewed more positive than negative — on MetaCritic, the drama holds a score of 73 percent.

Regardless of the reviews, Focus Features pounced on “Everybody Knows,” acquiring the film for U.S. and key international territories early Wednesday morning.

Directed by Oscar-winning Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, the film follows Laura (Cruz) on her travels from Argentina to her small home town in Spain for her sister’s wedding, bringing her two children along for the occasion.  Amid the joyful reunion and festivities, the eldest daughter is abducted. In the tense days that follow, various family and community tensions surface and deeply hidden secrets are revealed.

See more reviews below.

Cate Blanchett Cannes

Cate Blanchett

It’s clear that the best reviews out of Cannes haven’t been about movies so far — instead, everyone can’t stop raving about Queen Cate Blanchett.

As president of the Cannes jury, Blanchett was front and center during the first day of Cannes, giving opening remarks and posing with the rest of the jury that included Ava DuVernay and Kristen Stewart (who also couldn’t stop ogling at Blanchett).

In fact, the hashtag #Cannes2018 was filled with pictures of Blanchett in her stunning pink suit and matching sunnies.

The jury faced questions of #TimesUp and the number of films directed by women during a press conference on the first day of the festival. According to IndieWire, Blanchett insisted she will look at each film with an open mind, since three films under Palme d’Or consideration are directed by women.

The films in consideration directed by women “are not there because of their gender but because of the quality of their work. We will be assessing them as filmmakers, as we should be.”

“Would I like to see more women in competition?” Blanchett asked. “Absolutely.”

According to TheWrap’s Steve Pond, the Cannes Film Festival has had a dismal record of showcasing the work of female directors for decades.  Over the first 71 years of Cannes, a paltry 4.3 percent of the competition films have been directed by women.

Only one, Jane Campion’s “The Piano,” has won Cannes’ top prize, the Palme d’Or, though actresses Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seudoux were given honorary Palmes alongside “Blue Is the Warmest Color” director Abdellatif Kechiche’s real one in 2013.

Admittedly, things are getting better. Of the 11 times that three or more women have placed films in competition, eight have come in the last 13 years. Three women made the cut in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 — and four did so in 2011.

Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter Are Back for Third ‘Bill & Ted’ Film

On Tuesday, “Bill & Ted” was trending on Twitter in the United States because it was announced that Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter would reprise their roles as “Ted” Theodore Logan and “Bill” S. Preston Esq. in “Bill & Ted Face the Music,” the third film in the franchise.

The first film, “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” was released in 1989. The sequel “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey” came out in 1991.

MGM is set to release the film domestically under its Orion Pictures banner. Endeavor Content negotiated the deal. Bloom will be handling the international sales in Cannes this week and will be introducing the films to buyers.

Julianne Moore

Getty Images

Screen Media Sings for Julianne Moore’s ‘Bel Canto’

Screen Media picked up the North American rights to Paul Weitz’s “Bel Canto,” the company announced Tuesday.

The film, which Weitz and Anthony Weintraub adapted from the best-selling 2001 novel by Ann Patchett, stars Julianne Moore as a famous American soprano who travels to South America in the 1990s to give a private concert at the birthday party of a wealthy Japanese industrialist (Ken Watanabe) — and then gets caught in a hostage situation.

The cast also includes Sebastian Koch, Christopher Lambert, Ryo Kase, Tenoch Huerta, and María Mercedes Coroy.

Cannes red carpet selfies

Still No Selfies Allowed

Everyone can’t seem to stop talking about how adamant the festival is this year about not allowing selfies and photographs on the red carpet.

On Monday, TheWrap’s Steve Pond reported that The Cannes Film Festival has laid down some new, or at least updated, rules this year. No selfies on the red carpet. No Netflix films. No press screenings in advance of premieres.

The Los Angeles Times’ Amy Kaufman tweeted, “Everyone abiding by selfie rule. I got reprimanded for even having my phone camera on.”