“Did you fall in love while you were there?” seemed to be the first question everyone asked when I came home from the French Riviera. Every year, cinema darlings religiously converge to celebrate worldwide industry giants at the Festival de Cannes. But this year, for the 71st edition, something felt different. The return of bona fide legends and personae non gratae stirred excitement, but a greater, quieter trepidation for new names and unfamiliar faces was brewing. And for good reason too – finally, love was in the air on the Croisette.
From the off, everybody wants to know whether you saw the new Lars Von Trier film. What was Spike Lee’s latest like? Why was Jean-Luc Godard on FaceTime, and how did he win a prize that the Jury literally invented just for him? As long-awaited films premiere to a small, elite audience, newsworthy stunts often take precedence over the praise of slow-burn emotion. And it’ll come as no surprise to anyone that the news ain’t always nice. So raw violence, archival terror, and formal experimentation thrive in an environment that prima facie showcases new talent, but is more often remembered for its provocative veterans. However, fresh names are now challenging the status quo with love stories of a different breed. And judging by the response, it seems that resident artists of the festival could start taking note.
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