Questions and snafus on eve of Cannes Film Festival

May 15, 2022, 10:33 PM | Updated: May 16, 2022, 10:40 am

A cyclist rides past the Palais des Festivals prior to the 75th international film festival, Cannes...

A cyclist rides past the Palais des Festivals prior to the 75th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 16, 2022. The Cannes film festival runs from May 17 until May 28. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

(Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

              Festival workers pull the official poster into place during preparations for the 75th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Sunday, May 15, 2022. The Cannes film festival runs from May 17th until May 28th 2022. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
              A cyclist rides past the Palais des Festivals prior to the 75th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 16, 2022. The Cannes film festival runs from May 17 until May 28. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

CANNES, France (AP) — After two years of pandemic, the 75th Cannes Film Festival is getting going with a familiar dose of controversy and some new snafus as it readies for its largest gathering on the French Riviera since the 2019 edition.

Preparations were in full swing up and down the Croisette on Monday ahead of the festival’s opening. The festival is set to open Tuesday with “The Artist” director Michel Hazanavicius’ zombie film “Z.”

But before things even kicked off, the festival had already found plenty of commotion. Just hours before Thierry Frémaux, the festival’s artistic director, addressed the media Monday, the Hollywood trade Deadline posted an article about how it couldn’t publish an interview with Frémaux after he requested alterations to his answers on subjects including women filmmakers and whether Cannes would ever again host a Roman Polanski film.

“The festival has not only been demanding copy approval as a condition for interviews with Frémaux (something no other festival or organization has asked of us), but after pledging not to make any changes to copy, it has been removing content including potentially uncomfortable answers from Frémaux relating to diversity and controversial filmmakers,” read the Deadline story.

For a festival that prides itself as a celebration of free speech, it was an awkward beginning to what Cannes is hoping to be a back-to-normal festival. Some 35,000 film professionals are expected from May 17-28, along with a few glitzy Hollywood titles including “Top Gun: Maverick” and Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis.” Frémaux, however, didn’t see it as an issue.

“There’s no self-censorship and certainly no censorship whatsoever,” he told reporters. “Of course, I try to keep a check on myself speaking to journalists.”

“If I want to change something, I change it,” he added. “I can reread the way I’ve been reported and I can change my views if I want.”

Frémaux, though, said he didn’t want to be the story.

“This is a Cannes Film Festival press conference, it’s not a school for journalists,” he said. “Ask any questions you want of me. Fire them at me.”

A journalist then promptly asked Frémaux about Cannes’ record with female filmmakers, a long-simmering issue of contention. Last year, French filmmaker Julia Ducournau, with the body horror thriller “Titane,” became only the second female director to ever win the festival’s prestigious top prize, the Palme d’Or.

This year, there are five women in Cannes’ competition lineup of 21 films. That equals Cannes’ previous high but lags behind the percentages found as some other international festivals that have made diversity more of a central priority.

“I don’t think there are very few women in competition,” said Frémaux. “There are 25% of women in competition and there are 25% of women who applied.”

Frémaux suggested the discussion around gender equality in film is often framed unfairly, and that the festival selects films based only on their quality. He described advances for women in film as an important evolution in filmmaking but one that is still unfolding.

“Should we decide today to give preference to women directors? What answer would you give to that?” he posed to the journalist. “What kind of dogma, what kind of rule should there be? There is no quota.”

The festival eve was otherwise characterized by ticketing issues for festivalgoers. Cannes last year began implementing a digital system but there were far fewer attendees in 2021. The system crashed Tuesday. Frémaux said the problem has been made worse by hacking robots trying to purchase up to 1,000 tickets a second.

“We have a much better system this year,” Frémaux said, pausing for ironic cheers. “I mean: supposed to have a much better system.”


Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP


For more Cannes Film Festival coverage, visit: https://apnews.com/hub/cannes-film-festival

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


tupac shakur...

Rio Yamat and Ken Ritter

Man tied to suspected shooter in Tupac Shakur’s 1996 killing arrested

Tupac Shakur was gunned down when he was 25. He was in a BMW driven by Death Row Records founder Marion “Suge” Knight.

1 day ago

Former NFL football player Michael Oher, whose story became the inspiration for the Oscar-nominated...

Associated Press

Judge to end conservatorship between ex-NFL player Michael Oher, Tenn. couple

A Tennessee judge said Friday she is ending a conservatorship agreement between former NFL player Michael Oher and a Memphis couple who took him in when he was in high school.

1 day ago

BRAZIL - 2023/09/26: In this photo illustration, the Microsoft Bing logo is displayed on a laptop s...

Associated Press

Apple leverages idea of switching to Bing to pry more money out of Google, Microsoft exec says

Apple was never serious about replacing Google with Microsoft’s Bing as the default search engine in Macs and iPhones, but kept the possibility open as a "bargaining chip'' to extract bigger payments from Google

1 day ago

climate change...

Associated Press

2 lawsuits blame utility for eastern Washington fire that killed man and burned hundreds of homes

Two lawsuits have been filed against an electric utility for allegedly sparking a fire in eastern Washington that killed a man and burned approximately 240 homes.

2 days ago

Seattle non-profits...

Associated Press

Oregon man convicted of murder in fatal shooting of sheriff’s deputy in Washington state

A jury has convicted an Oregon man of murder in the fatal shooting of a sheriff’s deputy in Washington state.

3 days ago

Image: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd during a campaign rally on Monday, Sept...

Associated Press

Judge rules Donald Trump defrauded banks, insurers while building real estate empire

A judge ruled Tuesday that Donald Trump committed fraud for years while building the real estate empire that catapulted him to fame and the White House.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Questions and snafus on eve of Cannes Film Festival