Cannes, May 17 (AP): The Cannes Film Festival red carpet sprang to life with the premiere of the Louis XV period drama “Jeanne du Barry”, with Johnny Depp, as the French Riviera movie pageant launched a star-studded and potentially controversy-rife 76th edition.
Throngs of onlookers shouted “Johnny!” as Depp, in purple-hued sunglasses signed autographs and edged back into the spotlight following his explosive trial last year with ex-wife Amber Heard. “Jeanne du Barry”, directed and co-starring Maiwenn, has been billed as Depp’s comeback — though his prominent presence at Cannes has been hotly debated.
A coterie of stars streamed down Cannes’ famous red carpet for the opening night ceremony on Tuesday, including Brie Larson, Uma Thurman, Gong Li, Elle Fanning, Naomi Campbell, Catherine Deneuve (who graces this year’s festival poster) and a blue-haired Helen Mirren, who carried a fan labeled #worthit.
During the opening ceremony, Michael Douglas received an honorary Palme d’Or, with his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones and their daughter, Carys Zeta Douglas, looking on from the audience.
“I’m even older than the festival,” said Douglas, 78, after receiving a warm standing ovation.
Douglas and Deneuve officially declared open a festival that promises a Cote d’Azur buffet of spectacle, scandal and cinema set to be served over the next 12 days.
It’s unspooling against the backdrop of labour unrest. Protests that have roiled France in recent months over changes to its pension system are planned to run during the festival, albeit at a distance from the festival’s main hub.
Meanwhile, an ongoing strike by screenwriters in Hollywood could have unpredictable effects on the French Riviera festival.
“My wife is currently picketing with my six-month-old, strapped to her chest,” Paul Dano, a juror, said Tuesday, referencing Zoe Kazan. “I will be there on the picket line when I get back home.”
But with a festival lined with some much-anticipated big-budget films, including James Mangold’s “Indiana Jones and the Dial of the Destiny” and Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon”, the party is sure to go on, regardless.
Stars set to hit Cannes’ red carpet in the next week and a half include Natalie Portman, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Sean Penn, Alicia Vikander, Scarlett Johansson and Abel Tesfaye — also known as the Weeknd.
Earlier Tuesday, the jury that will decide the festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or, was introduced.
Swedish filmmaker Ruben Ostlund, a two-time Palme winner who last year won for the social satire “The Triangle of Sadness”, is presiding over a jury including Dano, Larson, Argentine filmmaker Damian Szifron, Afghan director Atiq Rahimi, French actor Denis Menochet, Moroccan filmmaker Maryam Tourzani, Zambian-Welsh director Rungano Nyoni and French director Julia Ducournau, who in 2019 became the second female filmmaker to win the Palme d’Or for “Titane”.
Ostlund, 49, wondered whether he might have been handed the opportunity a decade too soon. But while addressing the press,