Cannes 2024: How Cannes Film Festival Is Sitting On Combustible Controversies Of #MeToo, Israel-Hamas War, Protests And Strikes

Cannes Film Festival is all set to begin from today at the French Riviera. What’s intriguing that it sits at the wake of numerous controversies, protests, strikes, etc at the film festival. Will these prophecies turn to reality and change the course of the biggest film festival of the world?

Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival Photo: Instagram

The Cannes Film Festival is rarely quiet, but this year’s edition may be the most loud and unsettling in recent memory. As the red carpet rolls out at the Palais des Festivals on the 77th Cannes Film Festival, rest assured that it will take place against a backdrop of war, protest, prospective strikes, and growing #MeToo upheaval in France, which has long been averse to the movement.

Festival workers have threatened to strike. The Israel-Hamas conflict, which is deeply felt in France, home to Europe’s greatest Jewish and Arab communities, is bound to cause protests. Many people continue to be concerned about Russia’s conflict in Ukraine. Add in the types of fears that may be expected at Cannes — the ever-changing future of film, the emergence of artificial intelligence — and this year’s festival should be dramatic.

Being prepared for everything has traditionally been a valuable trait in Cannes. The film selection is full of mystery, curiosity, and question marks, as one would expect given the turbulent times.

The Islamic Revolutionary Court condemned Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof to eight years in prison just days before his newest film, ‘The Seed Of The Sacred Fig’, premieres in competition at Cannes. Despite the personal matter, the movie stays on the Cannes 2024 program list.

Even the approaching US presidential election will not be far away. Ali Abbasi’s ‘The Apprentice’, featuring Sebastian Stan as a teenage Donald Trump, will get its competition premiere.

As Cannes will officially start today, it will begin with ‘The Second Act’, a French comedy directed by Quentin Dupieux and starring Léa Seydoux, Louis Garrel, and Vincent Lindon. During the opening ceremony, Meryl Streep will receive an honorary Palme d’Or. George Lucas will also get one during the closing ceremony.

However, Judith Godrèche may receive the most of the attention at first. The French director and performer claimed earlier this year that directors Benoît Jacquot and Jacques Doillon sexually raped her when she was a teenager, in charges that shook French cinema. Benoît Jacquot and Jacques Doillon both disputed the allegations.

Though most of the French film industry has traditionally been hesitant to embrace the #MeToo movement, Judith Godrèche has sparked a more widespread response. She has spoken strongly about the need for reform at the Cesars, France’s equivalent of the Oscars, and in front of a French Senate panel.

While all of this was happening in her personal front, Judith Godrèche created the short film ‘Moi Aussi’ during a Paris meeting of hundreds who emailed her with their own accounts of sexual assault. It starts the Un Certain Regard segment at Cannes.

‘Moi Aussi’ is the latest episode in how #MeToo has echoed at the world’s largest film festival, following an 82-woman protest on the Palais steps in 2018 and a vow to promote gender equality in 2019. Cannes has frequently been chastised for not asking enough female directors to compete, but the festival is backing Judith Godrèche wholeheartedly while bracing for further #MeToo disclosures throughout the event.

Despite all the brewing controversies, protests, strikes, etc, what actually is going to define this year’s Cannes Film Festival are the new-age filmmakers and how they decide to take the legacy of cinema ahead.