The 74th Cannes Film Festival will open with an English language work, Annette, helmed by Leo Carax, whose Holy Motors nine years ago created a big buzz there. Annette will be Frenchman Carax’s first English movie.
Unfolding in today’s Los Angeles, Annette narrates the story of Henry, a stand-up comedian with a fierce sense of humour, and Ann, a singer of international repute. The couple are glamorous and happy, but the birth of their first child, Annette, a mysterious girl with exceptional destiny, will change their lives in an unbelievable way.
Annette will be the director’s sixth work, starring Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver, supported by Simon Helberg. It will premiere in Cannes Competition, and will open simultaneously in French cinemas.
A Festival Press Note avers: “Visionary and enigmatic, Leo Carax has authored some of the most beautiful moments of French cinema in the past 35 years, with a filmography that has never ceased to display his mastery over directing. A poetic genius with an overflowing imagination, the “enfant terrible” of French cinema has consistently transcended filmic codes and genres to create a world full of visions and ghosts.”
He was only 24 when directed Boy Meets Girl (1984), the first in a trilogy set in magical Paris. Shot in black and white, it was a wonderful tribute to silent cinema and even Godard’s canvas.
Two years later he came out with Bad Blood, an ode to rhythm and romance with Juliette Binoche, Denis Lavant and Michel Piccoli. The film was hard-hitting, stylistic and emotional, and became an international rage.
The French auteur’s most ambitious project, The Lovers on the Bridge in 1991, was also set in Paris, and it took him three years to shoot what was celebrated as an ode to passionate love.
After directing Pola X (1999) and a few other movies, Leo Carax presented Holy Motors, a study of fantasy and magic realism.
All indications today are Cannes will happen this July after being cancelled last year because of the Coronavirus. There were two more occasions in the past when the Festival, often called the Queen of All, had to be stopped: in 1968 because of the student-workers protests and in 1939, when the first edition had to be called off when Hitler’s army walked into Poland, signalling the start of World War II.
(Movies critic and author Gautaman Bhaskaran has covered the Cannes Film Festival close to 30 years)