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Iranian film Everybody Knows to open Cannes 2018

Malti Sahai

The 2018 Cannes Film Festival will see Oscar-winning director Asgard Farhadi accompanied by Oscar-winning couple and Cannes regulars Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem grace the red carpet on opening night with their film Everybody Knows. It is the second-ever Spanish-language film to open the festival. The first was Pedro Almodóvar’s Bad Education in 2004. 
The film Everybody Knows follows the journey of Laura (played by Penelope Cruz), who travels with her family from Buenos Aires to her native village in Spain for a celebration. The family reunion gets disrupted by events that change the course of the characters’ lives.
Asgard Farhadi previously directed two competition films at Cannes, 2016’s The Salesman, which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and 2013’s The Past, which earned Oscar nominee Berenice Bejo the Best Actress prize at the festival. 
Thierry Fremaux’s (Artistic Director) choice of opening night films in recent years have included  films by women directors. La Tate Haute (Standing Tall) by Emmanuelle Bercot) screened in 2015 was only the second film by a woman director to open the festival since 1987 when Diane Kury premiered her film A man in love. This year however in-spite of the ‘Me Too’ movement, Thierry has stuck to his guns and his earlier statement to the press that ‘there will never be a selection with a positive discrimination for women’. He had however also indicated that, ‘the festival would look to change some of its policies in regard to gender equality etc. “We want to question our own process about the parity of the juries,” he promised. True to his word this year’s festival jury headed by Cate Blanchett is the festival’s first female-majority jury since 2014. Pride of place on the red carpet will be given to the distinguished jury comprising of five women and four men. 
Writer, director, producer Ava DuVernay, whose features include Disney sci-fi A Wrinkle In Time, Selma, for which she was the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award.
Activist filmmaker Robert Guédiguian, whose Cannes titles include Marie-Jo And Her Two Lovers – which screened in competition in 2002 – and The Snows Of Kilimanjaro, selected for Un Certain Regard in 2011.
Burundian songwriter, composer, singer Khadja Nin, who has gained wide recognition for her music and was awarded the Prix de l’Action Feminine by the African Women’s League in 2016. US actress Kristen Stewart has appeared at Cannes previously with Olivier Assayas films Clouds Of Sils Maria and Personal – both of which screened in competition at Cannes.
Canadian director, writer Denis Villeneuve, whose debut August 32nd On Earth premiered in Un Certain Regard in 1998. He returned to Cannes with Directors’ Fortnight title Polytechnique in 2009 and Sicario, which screened in competition in 2015. His last film was Blade Runner 2049.
It is more than two decades since an Indian film screened in the competition section at Cannes. The Indian delegation of actors and filmmakers, led by Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Smriti Irani along with our L’Oréal brand ambassadors like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Sonam Kapoor and some of our filmmakers will add some Indian presence to the red carpet.

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Ankur Kalita