Festival General Delegate Thierry Fremaux holds a press conference to announce the official selection of the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, at the UGC Normandie cinema in Paris.—AFP
Festival General Delegate Thierry Fremaux holds a press conference to announce the official selection of the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, at the UGC Normandie cinema in Paris.—AFP

Coppola’s ‘Megalopolis’ among entries for Cannes Film Festival

Legendary director Francis Ford Coppola will return to the Cannes Film Festival with his long-awaited epic “Megalopolis”, 45 years after winning a Palme d’Or for “Apocalypse Now”, organizers said, announcing a line-up that includes major names of world cinema.

The 77th edition of the festival on the French Cote d’Azur, considered the most prestigious in the film industry, runs from May 14 to 25. This year’s competition for the Palme d’Or, the festival’s top prize, includes another team-up between Emma Stone and Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos - “Kinds of Kindness” - just weeks after Stone’s Oscar win for their Frankenstein-style satire “Poor Things”.

“The Apprentice”, a biopic about the early years of Donald Trump by Iran-born director Ali Abbasi, is also expected to draw attention. But all eyes are likely to be on Coppola’s “Megalopolis”, marking the return of “The Godfather” director to Cannes at the age of 85. He has twice won the Palme d’Or - for “The Conversation” (1974) and, controversially, for “Apocalypse Now” (1979), which was not even finished when it premiered at the festival. He has self-funded “Megalopolis”, said to be a Roman political drama transplanted to modern-day New York, starring Adam Driver, Forest Whitaker and other stars. “We are overjoyed that he has done us the honour of coming to present this film,” festival director Thierry Fremaux told reporters.

Gerwig’s choice

This year’s jury is led by “Barbie” director Greta Gerwig, who “embodies perfectly the soul of the festival”, said Cannes president Iris Knobloch.

Only 19 entries of the main competition were announced Thursday - there are usually around 22 - though more may be added.

Among the more intriguing entries is “Emilia Perez”, a musical comedy about a Mexican cartel boss undergoing a sex-change operation, with popstar-actor Selena Gomez in a supporting role. It is the latest unlikely creation from Palme-winning French director Jacques Audiard.

Writer-director Paul Schrader reunites with his “American Gigolo” star Richard Gere for “Oh Canada”, and Oscar-winner Paolo Sorrentino pens another love letter to his native Naples with “Parthenope”, starring Gary Oldman.

Canadian horror maestro David Cronenberg returns with what is billed as his most personal film yet, “The Shrouds”, with Vincent Cassel.

Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov is to tell the true story of a radical Soviet poet “who became a bum in New York, a sensation in France, and a political antihero in Russia” in “Liminov: The Ballad of Eddie”.

Honorary Palme d’Or

It was already known that “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga”, the latest instalment of the post-apocalyptic franchise, would get its world premiere at the festival, playing out of competition.

So will Kevin Costner’s new opus, “Horizon, An American Saga”, in which the veteran star plays alongside Sienna Miller in the first of a planned series about the American West.

Meanwhile, George Lucas -- the man behind “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” -- will receive an honorary Palme d’Or at the closing ceremony.

A film about women’s rights in China will also play out of competition. “She Has No Name” stars two of the country’s biggest stars, Lei Jiayin and Zhang Ziyi.

Success at Cannes can give a major boost to arthouse films such as last year’s winner, “Anatomy of a Fall”, which went on to win an avalanche of awards, including an Oscar.—AFP

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