71st Cannes opens with Farhadi’s drama

Iran Daily – The 71st Cannes Film Festival opened with the premiere of Asghar Farhadi’s ‘Everybody Knows’, starring Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem.

The shadow of disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein is looming over this year’s Cannes. For two decades, Weinstein had been an omnipresent figure at the festival, where several of his crimes took place, AP reported.

This year, Cannes has established a hotline for victims of mistreatment against women at the festival.

Thierry Fremaux, the festival’s director, has said the Weinstein revelations came as a shock to Cannes, forcing the festival to examine its own practices and do more to improve gender equality.
“What emerged in Cannes must be fought in Cannes,” Marlene Schiappa, France’s secretary of state in charge of gender equality, told French television on Tuesday.

This year’s jury also includes a number of prominent members of the Time’s Up movement, including jury president Cate Blanchett. Also on the panel of jury that will decide this year’s Palme d’Or top prize are Ava DuVernay, Kristen Stewart and Lea Seydoux, who said Weinstein had made unwelcome advances on her.

The panel of jury also includes Burundian songwriter Khadja Nin, Russian filmmaker Andrey Zvyagintsev, Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, French director Robert Guediguian and Chinese actor Chang Chen.

Over the next two weeks, they will watch the 21 films competing for the Palme, including new releases from Spike Lee, Pawel Pawlikowski and Jean-Luc Godard. Three of the 21 films are directed by women: Nadine Labaki, Eva Husson and Alice Rohrwacher.

Cannes has come under criticism for years for not selecting more women directors. Only one female filmmaker, Jane Campion, has won the Palme.

Controversy has characterized much of the lead-up to this year’s festival.

After two Netflix films played in competition as last year’s Cannes festival — prompting protests from French exhibitors — the Cannes board of directors ruled that a film in competition at Cannes must have French distribution. French law prevents a film that plays in theaters to appear on streaming services for three years.

Faced with only showing its films out of competition, Netflix withdrew its films from Cannes. Several Netflix titles, including Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Roma’ and the recently completed Orson Welles film ‘The Other Side of the Wind’, had been expected to premiere this year. Since then, both sides have expressed some regret over their disagreement.

Hishow acquires distribution rights for China

The Beijing-based film company Hishow Entertainment has acquired Middle Kingdom distribution rights to the Iranian Oscar winner Farhadi’s ‘Everybody Knows’.

Starring Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, the psychological thriller is the opening title of this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Shot entirely in Spanish on the Iberian Peninsula, the film follows the journey of Laura (Cruz), who travels with her family from Buenos Aires to her hometown in Spain for a celebration — before the family reunion gets ‘disrupted’.

Hishow, which previously acquired Ridley Scott’s ‘All the Money in the World for China’ and took stakes in two upcoming features from Nu Image/Millennium, says it plans to release the film theatrically in China this year. The pickup could be particularly well-timed: China’s theatrical market has recently come to embrace more diversified international filmmaking, with titles such as the Spanish thriller ‘The Invisible Guest’ ($25.9 million) and the Thai heist film ‘Bad Genius’ ($41 million) pulling in substantial revenue in 2017, hollywoodreporter.com reported.

Hishow acquired the China rights from Memento Films. Memento and UTA Independent Film Group are also representing the rights to the film in North America.

Earlier, Cannes featured two Farhadi films in competition — ‘The Past’ in 2013 and ‘The Salesman’ in 2016. The latter pic won best screenplay honors at the fest, and followed that up with the best foreign-language film Oscar in 2017. It was Farhadi’s second foreign-language film Oscar, following his win for ‘A Separation’ in 2012.