Cannes Report Day 6: ‘Holy Spider’ Red Carpet Begins With Smoke Bomb Demonstration Against Domestic Violence

Plus, a “Holy Spider” actress will lead a film executive produced by Cate Blanchett

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Days after a topless protester stormed the Cannes red carpet donned in body paint to disrupt the “Three Thousand Years of Longing” premiere, a new protest erupted at the start of the red carpet for competition title “Holy Spider,” in which a group of women held smoke bombs and a massive poster — though this time the demonstration appears to have been pre-planned.

The group involved in the demonstration is Les Colleuses, a guerilla feminist movement in France. Roughly a dozen women from the group dressed in formal wear unfurled a large banner that contained the names of 129 women who died in France as a result of domestic violence. They then held smoke bombs that cast off dark plumes of smoke into the air while others thrust their fists into the air. Security did not intervene.

Though the demonstration took place on the steps of the Grand Palais ahead of the “Holy Spider” premiere, the demonstration was tied to a documentary film playing in the special screenings section of Cannes also on Sunday, a film called “Riposte Feminist.” The film is directed by Marie Perennes and Simon Depardon, and as the broadcasters of the live feed of the red carpet explained, the photographer of the event was the father of the filmmaker Depardon.

Just as was seen in the demonstration, “Riposte Feminist” explores the new wave of French feminism in the fight against “femicide” and the erosion of women’s rights in which protesters display in black letters on white posters the names of murdered women across every town and city in France. Some 200 groups in France have taken part in the movement as well as those in Berlin, London, New York, Madrid and beyond.

The whole demonstration could be seen on the live feed of the red carpet via Cannes’ official page.

TheWrap has reached out to a rep for the Cannes Film Festival for more information about the protest.

“Holy Spider,” however, also speaks to the trend of violence against women. Director Ali Abbasi’s film is based on true events in Iran about a serial killer who specifically targeted women, and the thriller film shows how the efforts of a woman to investigate the killer consistently hit a wall from misogynistic institutions not inclined to help. The film premieres in competition on Sunday, and you can check out the trailer for the film released earlier this week here.

“Holy Spider” Actress to Star in “Shayda” From Cate Blanchett’s Dirty Films

One of the stars of Abbasi’s “Holy Spider,” Iranian actress Zar Amir-Ebrahimi, will star in a new film that Cate Blanchett’s production banner Dirty Films will back.

Amir-Ebrahimi will star in “Shayda,” the directorial feature debut of writer and director Noora Niasari, a Melbourne-based director known for the short film “Waterfall.”

“Shayda” follows a young Iranian mother (Amir-Ebrahimi) and her six-year-old daughter who find refuge in an Australian women’s shelter during the two weeks of the Iranian New Year (Nowrooz), which is celebrated as a time of renewal and re-birth. Aided by the strong community of women at the refuge, they seek their freedom in this new world of possibilities, only to find themselves facing the violence they tried so hard to escape.

Production will begin on July 11 in Australia.

“Shayda” is produced by Vincent Sheehan through his new production venture Origma 45. Cate Blanchett, Andrew Upton and Coco Francini at Dirty Films are executive producers. “Shayda” received major production investment from Screen Australia in association with The 51 Fund and financed with support from VicScreen and the MIFF Premiere Fund, while local distribution in Australia and New Zealand will be handled by Madman Entertainment. Caitlin Gold, Lindsay Lanzillotta, Naomi McDougall Jones, Lois Scott, and Nivedita Kulkarni also serve as executive producers on behalf of 51. 

HanWay Films has come on board to handle international sales and distribution, UTA Independent Film Group is representing the U.S. sale.

Lea Thompson to Direct Rom-Com “Manville” for BuzzFeed Studios and Highland Film Group Partnership

BuzzFeed Studios and Highland Film Group have agreed to a partnership in which the companies will develop, produce, acquire and distribute three to five feature films per year in the $5-12 million range. The first project under the partnership will be “Manville,” a romantic comedy directed by Lea Thompson.

BuzzFeed Studios will lead film production and creative, internally developing properties stemming from their IP, brands and audience data. All films will be released in the U.S. by HFG’s The Avenue, with BuzzFeed Studios building marketing campaigns via their digital network. Highland Film Group will handle foreign distribution rights on select titles, and BuzzFeed will leverage its international editions to drive awareness to those titles locally.

The deal was negotiated by Arianne Fraser, Highland Film Group CEO, JJ Caruth President of Domestic Marketing and Distribution for The Avenue and Richard Alan Reid, Head of Studio at BuzzFeed, Inc.         

“Manville” tells the story of Alice, a selective woman who swipes left on her 1,000,000th potential match and receives an invitation to Manville: a matchmaking retreat guaranteed to end in marriage. But when she arrives, Alice realizes that nothing is really as it seems.

Delaney Buffett and Katie Corwin wrote the script for “Manville.” The feature film will be produced by Richard Alan Reid, Kia Jam and Dean Altit.

The film is scheduled to start principal photography this fall.   

Also included in the partnership is the romance “One True Loves,” targeted for release in Q1 2023. The film is an adaptation of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novel by the same name, directed by Andy Fickman and starring Simu Liu, Phillipa Soo and Luke Bracey.

In “One True Loves,” high school sweethearts Emma (Soo) and Jesse (Bracey) have built an exciting life together traveling the world. But when Jesse disappears in a helicopter crash, a heartbroken Emma returns home to pick up the pieces of her life. After four years, Emma is newly engaged to her childhood best friend, Sam (Liu). However, when Emma suddenly learns that Jesse is alive, she is unexpectedly forced to choose between the husband she has long thought dead and the fiancé who has brought her back to life.

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Reviews from Day 6

Triangle of Sadness,” dir. Ruben Ostlund (Main Competition) – by Ben Croll

After his 2017 art-world satire “The Square” scored the Palme d’Or at Cannes, Swedish provocateur Ruben Östlund swaggers back to competition with “Triangle of Sadness,” a mixed-bag of social commentary and gross-out comedy that could only come from a filmmaker with a secured reputation and zero f—s to give. Taking aim at the 1% and shouting “Eat the rich!” with the anger of a sea storm and the subtlety of an exploding toilet, the film is both over-long and under-stuffed, but it nevertheless left Cannes’ notoriously tough crowd doubled over in laughter.

Running just under two-and-a-half hours and split up into three chapters, the film lifts as much from Noam Chomsky as from John Waters as it hoses down beauty standards and luxury culture with gallons of projectile vomit. A repeat Palme d’Or performance is probably not in the cards, and that’s just as well for the social satirist, who seems emboldened by his previous honor to bite the hand that fêtes him.

War Pony,” dir. Riley Keough and Gina Gammell (Un Certain Regard) – by Steve Pond

Riley Keough and Gina Gammell are part of a surprisingly large number of female directors, 11, with films in the Un Certain Regard section at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. But the takeaway from “War Pony,” which premiered at Cannes on Saturday afternoon, isn’t that it’s the work of female voices; it’s that the female voices who directed this quiet drama are letting indigenous voices tell their own stories.

Set on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and co-written, co-produced and starring members of the Native American community, “War Pony” is unhurried, naturalistic and heartbreaking, taking its rhythms from the lives of characters in a situation where the lack of options can lead to desperation or to resignation. The movie sometimes feels as aimless as moments in the lives of the characters it depicts, but that helps give it the intimacy of a story told from the inside, not the outside.