The Palais des Festivals, the central hub of the Cannes Film Festival, a massive bulwark of filmmaker-named halls and pristine movie screens, is about as close as you can get to a cinema temple. To enter, you must ascend red-carpeted steps. But in the past 16 months, Cannes’ Palais hasn’t been home to the movie frenzy it hosts annually. Last year’s festival was postponed, then canceled. The Palais, instead, was lined with hospital beds in the early months of the pandemic. Earlier this year, it was turned into a mass-vaccination “Vaccinodrome.”
On Tuesday, the Cannes Film Festival, delayed from May to July, will finally open its doors for its 74th and maybe most critical edition. Its famed red carpet will again flood with stars. The screens will be relit. And, maybe, the movies will rekindle some of the romance and grandeur that went dormant this past pandemic year.
“It’s a kind of pilgrimage or Mecca, and even more so this year,” says Mark Cousins, the Scotland-based filmmaker whose “The Story of Film: a New Generation” will premiere opening day on the Cannes beach. In the Palais, Leos Carax, a director whose freewheeling fictions reflect real movie dreams, will debut his anticipated “Annette,” a musical with Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard.