Developed and financed by Element alone, The Killing of a Sacred Deer advances to the festival as a fully fledged domestic operation. Fremaux will be content to unveil quite a few big hitters for the 70th anniversary. Even Fremaux could not resist joking that, from this famously gloomy film-maker, the title was surely meant ironically. Kidman is set to become the 70th edition’s most unavoidable personality. The picture stars Isabelle Huppert as a middle-class woman in Calais during the recent refugee crisis. “Yorgos is undoubtedly one of the most visionary and talented filmmakers working today and I can’t wait for audiences to see Deer and Cannes is the best place to unveil it.”
Farrell and Kidman appear together in two films competing for the Palme d’Or. Lynch won the Palme d’Or in 1990 for Wild at Heart. The Cannes Film Festival opens with Arnaud Desplechin’s Ismael’s Ghosts on May 17th. There will be 12 films by women in the wider official selection, but only three will be among the 18 currently competing for the Palme. In 2002, he advanced up the red steps with Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love. Speaking at the press conference in Paris, Thierry Frémaux, director of the festival, stressed that The Beguiled was “not a remake of the Don Siegel film”. Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer, an Irish production by Element Pictures, has made it into the main competition for the 70th Cannes Film Festival. They are also in Sofia Coppola’s gothic Civil War tale The Beguiled. Cannes-watchers will see this year’s tentative embrace of television and streaming as the most significant news of the morning. The film sounds topical. The festival announced no Hollywood studio pictures in the initial line-up – at least one blockbuster normally plays out of competition – but such releases are often added after the formal announcement. Lanthimos’s previous film The Lobster, shot largely in Kerry, won the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2015. Todd Haynes, the acclaimed director of Carol and Far From Heaven, returns with the family saga Wonderstruck. Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman star in the oblique drama concerning a surgeon who forms an uneasy bond with a teenage boy. No wonder it is ante-post favourite. Were Haneke to take the Palme, the Austrian would become the first director ever to win on three occasions. The film’s producer, Ed Guiney, spoke to The Irish Times from the set of The Favourite, Element’s third collaboration with the Greek film-maker. Naomi Kawase’s Radiance and Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here join The Beguiled in that race. It is, however, adapted from the same source novel by Thomas Cullinan. Somewhat amazingly, The Meyerowitz Stories brings Sandler to the Cannes competition for the second time. She will also appear “out of competition” in John Cameron Mitchell’s How to Talk to Girls at Parties and in a special screening of new episodes from Jane Campion’s TV series Top of the Lake. “That is a cinema movie,” Frémaux said of Okja. It will arrive after an already fractious French presidential election. “Even series are now using the classic arcs of movie making and of cinema narration.”
The advance screening of the first two episodes from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks revamp may attract more mainstream attention than any other premiere at the event. Much premature betting action will be directed at Michael Haneke’s Happy End. Bong Joon-ho’s Korean epic Okja, starring Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal, and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories, featuring Adam Sandler and Dustin Hoffman, become the first Netflix productions to play in the main competition. As ever, Cannes is under pressure to include more female directors.