The 75th Cannes International Film Festival: Glamor in Times of War

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The Cannes Film Festival is back, Corona is no longer an issue. That's why the Russia boycott was declared. Difficult topics for the red carpet on the Croisette.

  • Cannes 2022: Films in the Shadow of War

    Solidarity with Ukraine

    The Cannes Film Festival is also showing solidarity with Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine. The festival management excluded official Russian representatives and Russian filmmakers. Only director Kirill Serebrennikov, who lives in Germany, was admitted to the competition.

  • Cannes 2022: Films in the Shadow of War

    Russian film contribution: “Tchaikovsky's Wife”

    Serebrennikov's film “Tchaikovsky's Wife” was admitted to the competition on the grounds that no Russian funding had been paid, the director was under house arrest in Russia and has lived in exile in Germany since his release. The film is about the famous composer Tchaikovsky, who marries a young woman to hide his homosexuality.

  • Cannes 2022: films in the shadow of war

    Sergei Loznitsa: director from Ukraine

    Sergei Loznitsa (pictured) is probably the most renowned filmmaker in Ukraine. His film The Natural History of Destruction is screened out of competition at Cannes. A young colleague of his is also represented: In “Butterfly Vision” Maksim Nakonechnyi tells a surrealistic story of a fighter, the pilot Lilja. Meanwhile, Nakonechnyj is at the front.

  • Cannes 2022: Movies in the shadow of war

    War in Film

    Director Mathieu Vadepied's film “Father & Soldier” focuses on a historic war: a Senegalese father enlists in the army in 1917 after his 17-year-old son is conscripted to serve in France in World War I battle. The role of the father is taken on by the French film star Omar Sy, known worldwide for the Netflix series “Lupin”.

  • Cannes 2022: Films in the shadow of war

    Rock 'n' roll legend returns

    Australian director Baz Luhrmann, known for box office hits like 'Moulin Rouge' and 'William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet', shot a biopic about Elvis Presley. The rock'n'roll legend is played by US actor Austin Butler, the film is out of competition.

  • Cannes 2022: Films in the Shadow of War

    Jury President Vincent Lindon

    After US director Spike Lee chaired the jury last year, this year the honor goes to a Frenchman: actor Vincent Lindon. Last year he played the male lead in 'Titane,' which won the Palme d'Or. Lindon himself won Best Actor at the 2015 Film Festival for his role in The Value of Man.

  • Cannes 2022: Films in the Shadow of War

    Humorous opening film

    This year's festival will open with the zombie comedy “Coupez!” (“Cut!”) by French director Michel Hazanavicius. This film is also out of competition. The director also involved his family in the film: In addition to Lyes Salem (left), Raika Hazanavicius (middle) and Simone Hazanavicius (right) can also be seen in this excerpt.

  • Cannes 2022: Films in the Shadow of War

    Familiar Faces

    The directors competing for the Palme d'Or in Cannes are well known: Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda (pictured) previously won a Palme d'Or in 2018 for his film Shoplifters. His South Korean colleague Park Chan-wook, as well as US legend David Cronenberg and Swedish director Ruben Östlund are also taking part in the competition.

  • Cannes 2022: Films in the Shadow of War

    A shameful few women

    21 films were admitted to the main competition, only four of which were made by women. Bruni Tedeschi (pictured) is applying with her film “Forever Young” (“Forever Young”), Léonor Serraille is presenting a migration story between the Ivory Coast and Paris with “Mother and Son” (“Mother and Son”) and Claire Denis is telling in “Stars at Noon” by a couple in Nicaragua.

  • Cannes 2022: Films in the Shadow of War

    “Showing Up”

    The American director Kelly Reichardt is the fourth in the league of female directors in the competition: her comedy “Showing Up” (in German about “Aufkreuzen”, “Kommen”, “Da sein”) is about a sculptor who, in addition to opening an exhibition, also has all the other madness of life must master. Michelle Williams (pictured) stars.

  • Cannes 2022: Films in the Shadow of War

    A slightly different Empress Elisabeth

    In the side program “Un Certain Regard” (“A Special View”), Austria's Marie Kreutzer can hope for an award. She sends her film “Corsage” into the running. In 1877, Empress Elisabeth rebels against the corset of the imperial court, which demands that she always look young, thin and beautiful. The 17 other competition entries are from men.

  • Cannes 2022: Films in the Shadow of War

    No Germans in the competition, but…

    … the Berlin-born German-French-Iranian director Emily Atef is represented in the “Un Certain Regard” section with “More than Ever”. The film is dedicated to a woman in her thirties who lives happily in Bourdeaux until she is unexpectedly diagnosed with a lung disease.

    Author: Julia Hitz, Christine Lehnen


  • Cannes 2022: films in the shadow of war

    Solidarity with Ukraine

    The Cannes Film Festival is also showing solidarity with Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine. The festival management excluded official Russian representatives and Russian filmmakers. Only director Kirill Serebrennikov, who lives in Germany, was admitted to the competition.

  • Cannes 2022: Films in the Shadow of War

    Russian film contribution: “Tchaikovsky's Wife”

    Serebrennikov's film “Tchaikovsky's Wife” was admitted to the competition on the grounds that no Russian funding had been paid, the director was under house arrest in Russia and has lived in exile in Germany since his release. The film is about the famous composer Tchaikovsky, who marries a young woman to hide his homosexuality.

  • Cannes 2022: films in the shadow of war

    Sergei Loznitsa: director from Ukraine

    Sergei Loznitsa (pictured) is probably the most renowned filmmaker in Ukraine. His film The Natural History of Destruction is screened out of competition at Cannes. A young colleague of his is also represented: In “Butterfly Vision” Maksim Nakonechnyi tells a surrealistic story of a fighter, the pilot Lilja. Meanwhile, Nakonechnyj is at the front.

  • Cannes 2022: Films in the Shadow of War

    War in Movies

    Director Mathieu Vadepied's film “Father & Soldier” focuses on a historic war: a Senegalese father enlists in the army in 1917 after his 17-year-old son is conscripted to serve in France in World War I battle. The role of the father is taken on by the French film star Omar Sy, known worldwide for the Netflix series “Lupin”.

  • Cannes 2022: Films in the Shadow of War

    Rock 'n' roll legend returns

    Australian director Baz Luhrmann, known for box office hits like 'Moulin Rouge' and 'William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet', has directed a biopic about Elvis Presley. The rock'n'roll legend is played by US actor Austin Butler, the film is out of competition.

  • Cannes 2022: Films in the Shadow of War

    Jury President Vincent Lindon

    After US director Spike Lee chaired the jury last year, this year the honor goes to a Frenchman: actor Vincent Lindon. Last year he played the male lead in 'Titane,' which won the Palme d'Or. Lindon himself won Best Actor at the 2015 Film Festival for his role in The Value of Man.

  • Cannes 2022: Films in the Shadow of War

    Humorous opening film

    This year's festival will open with the zombie comedy “Coupez!” (“Cut!”) by French director Michel Hazanavicius. This film is also out of competition. The director also involved his family in the film: In addition to Lyes Salem (left), Raika Hazanavicius (middle) and Simone Hazanavicius (right) can also be seen in this excerpt.

  • Cannes 2022: Films in the Shadow of War

    Familiar Faces

    The directors competing for the Palme d'Or at Cannes are well known: Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda (pictured) won one in 2018 Golden Palm for his film “Shoplifters” (“Shoplifters”). His South Korean colleague Park Chan-wook, as well as US legend David Cronenberg and Swedish director Ruben Östlund are also taking part in the competition.

  • Cannes 2022: Films in the shadow of war

    A shameful few women

    21 films were admitted to the main competition, only four of which were made by women. Bruni Tedeschi (pictured) is applying with her film “Forever Young” (“Forever Young”), Léonor Serraille is presenting a migration story between the Ivory Coast and Paris with “Mother and Son” (“Mother and Son”) and Claire Denis is telling in “Stars at Noon” by a couple in Nicaragua.

  • Cannes 2022: Films in the Shadow of War

    “Showing Up”

    The American director Kelly Reichardt is the fourth in the league of female directors in the competition: her comedy “Showing Up” (in German about “Aufkreuzen”, “Kommen”, “Da sein”) is about a sculptor who, in addition to opening an exhibition, also has all the other madness of life must master. Michelle Williams (pictured) stars.

  • Cannes 2022: Films in the shadow of war

    A slightly different Empress Elisabeth

    In the side program “Un Certain Regard” (“A Special View”), Austria's Marie Kreutzer can hope for an award. She sends her film “Corsage” into the running. In 1877, Empress Elisabeth rebels against the corset of the imperial court, which demands that she always look young, thin and beautiful. The 17 other competition entries are by men.

  • Cannes 2022: Films in the shadow of war

    No Germans in the competition, but…

    … the Berlin-born German-French-Iranian director Emily Atef is represented in the “Un Certain Regard” section with “More than Ever”. The film is dedicated to a woman in her thirties who lives happily in Bourdeaux until she is unexpectedly diagnosed with a lung disease.

    Author: Julia Hitz, Christine Lehnen


Provide glamor and still be political, that has always been the claim of the most important European film festival in Cannes. But in times of war in Europe, the connection creates potential for conflict. The artistic director Thierry Frémaux had announced early on that he did not want to receive any official Russian delegations at the 75th anniversary edition. However, Frémaux reserved the right to include Russian filmmakers in the programme.

The Russian filmmaker Kirill Serebrennikov has now been invited to the competition with his film “Tchaikovsky's Wife”. Frémaux argued that he had not received any Russian state funding. Serebrennikov is in Cannes for the third time. The Russian, who was under house arrest in his home country for two years, now lives in Germany. The film tells a biographical episode from the life of the world-famous Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky, who for fear of coming out as homosexual, a married a young woman in love with him – and dragged her into a tragedy.

Film scene from “Tchaikovsky's Wife ” by Kirill Serebrennikov

David Cronenberg, the Dardenne brothers, Ruben Östlund – the winners return to Cannes

In competition at the 75th Film Festival, “Tchaikovsky's Wife” competes with 20 other films, only four of them directed by women. There are many revenants at the start who already have a Golden Palm in their trophy cabinet: Canadian veteran David Cronenberg, for example, is making his eagerly awaited comeback with “Crimes of the Future”. Léa Seydoux, Viggo Mortensen and Kristen are in the lead roles to see Stewart. The science fiction horror film “Crimes of the Future” is set in a future world where the biological makeup of humans can be altered by advanced technologies. 

Other previous winners are the Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, the Swedish director Ruben Östlund, the Japanese Hirokazu Kore-Eda, who received the Palme d'Or for “Shoplifters” in 2018, and the Romanian Cristian Mungiu. South Korean director Park Chan-wook has also received the Jury Prize twice in Cannes. His in-competition work is called “Decision to Leave” and is a mystery thriller.

“Armageddon Time” has a star cast: The film by the American James Gray takes place during Ronald Reagan's election period, in which the Trump family also has a hand. Anne Hathaway and Anthony Hopkins star. The director has already been invited to Cannes five times, but so far has always come away empty-handed.

Scary and glamor in Cannes

There's all sorts of spooky things to see this year: already the (out of competition) opening film “Coupez!” by “The Artist” director Michel Hazanavicius is a zombie comedy. “Cut!” is the title translated, a play on words with filmcraft and vampirism. Actually, the film “Z (comme Z)” should be called. However, since this name is reminiscent of the Z symbol used by Russia in the Ukraine war, the film was renamed. 

The thriller “Holy Spider”, the competition entry by Iranian director Ali Abbasi, is also spooky : A man described as a “spider killer” is up to mischief in the holy Iranian city of Mashhad, he himself sees his murders of street prostitutes as a divine mission.

Star guest in Cannes: US actor Tom Cruise in the “Top Gun” sequel

Glamor is provided by a few premiere films that run out of competition, above all the sequel to the action film “Top Gun”, a cult film from 1986. Tom Cruise plays the leading role – even 36 years later – and is at the Cote d'Azur expected. Also out of competition is the film “Elvis” by Australian director Baz Luhrmann. The anticipation of the biopic of the Kings of Rock'n'Roll is great. In it, US actor Austin Butler mimics the young Elvis, his manager, who is also legendary, is played by Tom Hanks.

Europe and its migration history

You can't help but notice that the African continent isn't represented with exactly zero competition entries. After all, some directors devote themselves to topics related to colonialism, migration and racism. With “Tori and Lokita”, the Belgian Dardenne brothers are showing a drama about two young migrants from the African continent. Joely Mbundu and Pablo Schils took on the leading roles.

In “Mother and Son”, French director Lèonor Serraille tells the story of Rose and her two sons, Ernest and Jean, who emigrate from the Ivory Coast to Paris in 1986. The film follows the family into 2010. It shows them growing together but also threatening to break up. The work of the Catalan video artist Albert Serra “Pacification – Tourment sur les iles” takes place in French Polynesia and focuses on the conflicts between the French establishment and the local population.

Film still from “The Stars At Noon” by Claire Denis

Christian Mungiu's competition entry could be instructive for understanding racism: his drama “RMN” unfolds in a village community in Transylvania. After the arrival of foreign factory workers, she is overcome by racist prejudices. A disturbing mélange of fears, frustrations, conflicts and passions unfold.

Ukrainian films and a boycott of Russia

At the beginning of March, the film festival announced that it would bar Russian delegations from participating unless the Russian attack was halted under conditions that satisfied the Ukrainian people. And in fact, no official Russian representatives, no Russian filmmakers and no Russian film critics or journalists have been invited this year. The fact that Kirill Serebrennikov, who lives in Germany, is now represented in the competition, gives way to this tough position only imperceptibly on.

The most famous Russian film critic, Andrej Plakhov from Lviv, fell victim to her. However, he reacted confidently: “Perhaps we really need to understand what it is like to be citizens of an aggressor country,” he wrote in a public statement on his Facebook page.

However, not everyone in Ukraine shares the “zero tolerance” policy towards everything Russian: For example, Sergei Loznitsa, probably the most renowned filmmaker in Ukraine, commented in March against the blanket boycott of Russian films: “Whatever is terrible,” he said in an interview for industry magazine Variety. “But I appeal to everyone not to fall into madness. We don't have to judge people by their passports, but by their actions.” This position brought Loznitsa an expulsion from the National Film Academy of Ukraine, which was founded in 2017. His film “The Natural History of Destruction” is screened in Cannes as a special out-of-competition screening.

Director Mantas Kvedaravičius shot a documentary about Mariupol in 2014, but he was unable to finish the continuation of the documentary. He was killed by the Russian army in Ukraine in 2022.

Filming at the front

The film “Mariupolis 2” by Mantas Kvedaravičius will also be shown in Cannes. The Lithuanian director was murdered by the Russian army in Mariupol in April. His fiancee Hanna Bilobrova, who was there with him, was able to secure the material that had already been shot. Together with Mantas Kvedaravičius' cutter Dounia Sichov, a harrowing, highly topical testimony was created. The festival announced that it was absolutely essential to present “Mariupolis 2” in Cannes. That is why the film was subsequently added to the programme. Its premiere is on May 19.

In one of the side programs of the festival, “Un Certain Regard” (“A Special View”), another film attracts attention: “Butterfly Visions” by the young Ukrainian Director Maksim Nakonechnyi. The film, completed before the war, tells a “harsh, surrealistic story of a fighter, the pilot Lilja, who, after the experience of captivity, is desperately trying to return to her normal life,” according to the director. “Unfortunately, my film was probably a premonition of war,” says Maksim Nakonechnyi. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion he has been at the front – with gun and camera. “We want to make a documentary out of this,” he says.