Opening the 2017 Festival is French director Arnaud Desplechin’s Ismael’s Ghosts
The red carpet has been rolled out and the stars are taking their photo calls as the aristocracy of the film industry gathers at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes for the 70th annual film festival. From Afghanistan to Zambia, film makers, buyers, screenwriters, distributors, critics, academics and cineastes bunker down together for 12 days of communal cinematic consumption in dark rooms interspersed with heady business and critical discussion in the glare of the Mediterranean sunlight.
Opening the 2017 Festival is French director Arnaud Desplechin’s Ismael’s Ghosts, which is screening out of competition and kicks off a line up that includes 49 films from 29 countries, 12 of them by female directors.
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The festival groups its selection (invited from more than 1,000 submitted films) into a number of strands: “the Competition”; “Un Certain Regard”; “Director’s Fortnight” and “Critic’s Week” all of which have their own programme of films. Complementing these strands are special events such as “Midnight Screenings”, “Cannes at 70” screenings, “Cannes Classics” and “Out of Competition” screenings – including, this year, a new thriller from Roman Polanski.
Thierry Frémaux, the Festival’s artistic director, is in charge of selection – and this year his choice is characterised by a lower number of Hollywood films than usual. He has also gone for a more pronounced political tone in the films, on themes such as migration, sex trafficking and the refugee crisis. Another feature of this year’s selection is the screening of films financed by media streaming platforms, including Netflix and Amazon, and the inclusion of “cinematic” television dramas.