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Interview with Thierry Fremaux, head of the Cannes Film Festival, with Deadline – Deadline

After Covid put an end to the 2020 Cannes edition, festival director Thierry Frémaux was finally able to announce yesterday a program of films that will be shown to the public on the Côte d’Azur. We spoke to the veteran curator about the ongoing Covid challenge, this year’s strong lineup, those who have escaped, and the surprises ahead.

From July 6 to 17, it will be what he invents a film “meeting”. Above all, he notes that this is an international event that comes with its share of responsibility given its global nature and the current state of the pandemic, “especially the responsibility that all goes well”, he told Deadline. “The epidemic is not yet over, so it is going to be important that we show that we are responsible, reasonable and cheerful.”

Cannes: Festival expects more clarity on travel restrictions in the next 48 hours

Here is our interview with Frémaux.

DEADLINE: This is a very strong lineup. It’s interesting that there are a lot of French films in Competition…

FREMAUX: Yes, but it has already happened. It had been almost two years of film selection and French cinema was strong; Israeli cinema, Chinese cinema, Russian cinema were strong. We almost at some point added more movies – there may even be more movies. It is a Cannes of reunion. It will be a Cannes where it will be possible for everyone to feel the joy of seeing each other again.

DEADLINE: I wondered given the current context and the uncertainties surrounding travel if it was a deliberate decision to include a lot of French titles, knowing that their filmmakers would be sure to attend …

FREMAUX: I think that the people who showed us their films did not ask themselves any other question than to present their films. And now the films have been accepted and we will try to make it possible for them to come.

DEADLINE: In your opinion, which film from the competition could surprise the public?

Annette
Cannes

FREMAUX: Ahh, don’t count on me to tell one movie from another. It wouldn’t be very courteous and it’s just that every movie is there, and not just in Competition – everywhere (in Official Selection) – because they deserve to be there. The only thing I can say, because this is the opening film, is that Leos Carax’s film (Annette) is a good symbol: it is Franco-American, it is produced by the French also with American money, it is shot in the USA and it fits exactly in the spirit of Cannes: We are going to Cannes to see works of art and Annette is a work of art by one of the most important filmmakers of his generation.

DEADLINE: Are there any other films that you would have liked to have seen on the Croisette?

FREMAUX: Our tradition is not to talk about films that we did not have, but I know that there are films that were not ready and that if they are ready, we will see in the fall in the festivals of my colleagues in Venice, San Sebastian, Telluride, New York, London and it will be with great happiness. I think cinematic creativity is at a very high level right now.

DEADLINE: Did you try to bring Jane Campion and Paolo Sorrentino’s Netflix movies to the festival this year?

FREMAUX: Sorrentino’s film is not ready at all. Jane Campion movie could have been ready, Andrew Dominik movie [Blonde] could have been ready – it’s beautiful, I saw it – and I invited these Out of Competition films. Netflix does not want to come to Cannes, but I invited them all the same and alas… It is important, it is not us who refuse the Netflix films, it is Netflix which does not want or cannot… They want come in Competition but films which are part of the Competition must be released (in theaters) in France.

DEADLINE: Do you think this may change at some point?

Netflix

Netflix
Netflix

FREMAUX: Overall, I think so, that will change one day. I think all over the world, the issue of showcases, the protection of theaters, the appearance of stands – all of this is a fundamental phenomenon in the world of the moving image and we want Cannes to be in some way at the heart of it. But, I would like Netflix to be at the heart of this as well. However, Netflix protects its system, its subscribers, its customers. I would have liked them to go out of Competition also to show the quality of their work, the quality of their productions. But to see the quality of their productions, you have to go to Netflix. Fortunately, I am a subscriber and love Netflix, but my job is to show movies. I would also like to show Netflix movies.

DEADLINE: What can you tell us about the Hollywood movie on the beach? When are you going to announce it?

FREMAUX: Soon soon. We didn’t want to announce it today because we knew people would be particularly interested in competing etc. It is a movie of fun and entertainment for people on the beach, it is popular cinema. And you will see that it is going to be pretty cool.

DEADLINE: Okay, do you regret the remarks you made recently about calling it a “planetary” movie?

FREMAUX: No, because a blockbuster is at the heart of American cinema and American cinema is global.

DEADLINE: Everyone immediately thought what a sci-fi movie this could be…

FREMAUX: Because of the planets? Is that so? No it’s not that.

DEADLINE: Are you satisfied with the number of female directors in Competition?

Julia ducournau

Julia ducournau
Michael Buckner / Deadline

FREMAUX: It is not only necessary to calculate the competition, it is all the official selection. For example, there are only four in competition, but there are eight in Un Certain Regard and that’s young cinema. This means that the future is open to young female directors. And, if you watch French films in competition, there are three women and three men. It may be a sign of the future.

DEADLINE: Since this edition takes place in July, there are going to be a lot of people on vacation and you mentioned inviting some of the audience to screenings. Do you know what it will look like?

FREMAUX: We are going to get to work on this. It’s a special Cannes because we’re going to do it in July and there will already be people on vacation. We hope, as far as possible, that the festival can also benefit from it – and without disturbing the professionals, but since there will be fewer professionals, we believe that it is now or never that holidaymakers and the people of Cannes will be able to enjoy it. .

DEADLINE: What do you hear about the likely quarantine and entry requirements for those in the UK? At the moment it does not seem possible that British nationals could enter France to attend the festival, do you think that will improve?

THIERRY FREMAUX: Yes Yes of course. We must not talk about today at all, we must project ourselves into the month of July. The information we receive is positive and a little more positive every week. We calmly await the government’s position on the UK and other countries and even countries considered to be red zones.

DEADLINE: Covid restrictions are lifted across France on June 30, so Cannes screenings may be 100% complete, right?

FREMAUX: Yes absolutely. It’s 100%, but there will be masks. This summer, we may be able to remove the masks outside. On the red carpet, artists and film crews, if socially distanced from photographers, will be able to remove their masks. We will see how we progress little by little. Either way, the epidemic is not over and everyone must be responsible and reasonable.

DEADLINE: Do you have any idea of ​​the percentage of filmmakers who may or may not succeed? Or do you expect most people to be there?

The French dispatch

The French dispatch
Projector photos

FREMAUX: I think the majority of filmmakers will be there. You know, we also invited everyone who was part of last year’s selection to come. And, except for those with planning issues, everything looks good at the moment.

DEADLINE: Are you waiting for the main cast of the Wes Anderson film?

FREMAUX: Not everyone because everyone has their schedule, there are other film shoots, but yes, yes, from what I understood a large part of the cast will be there – not just the French.

DEADLINE: Are there coordinated screenings of the films in major cities? We had heard that there could be screenings on the sidelines of Cannes in Paris, London, New York etc …

FREMAUX: We will work on this. Since it’s a special year and there are journalists who cannot travel, yes, I would like us to be able to work on it.

DEADLINE: What is the status of your contract with Cannes? Do you have a multi-year mandate?

FREMAUX: In France it’s a bit special. I don’t have a warrant. I am an employee. It is the president who has a mandate.

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