The Cannes film festival will open next month with Iranian master Asghar Farhadi’s new film Everybody Knows (in Spanish: Todos lo Saben), starring Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Argentine legend Ricardo Darín, the event’s organisers announced on Thursday.
The selection of the psychological thriller, shot in Spanish, means that the star-studded event will kick off with a movie that’s not in English or French for the first time since 2004, following on from Pedro Almodóvar’s Bad Education, which was also in Spanish.
Organisers also confirmed that Farhadi’s latest film will also compete for the Palme d’Or – the first time in six years that an opening film will be in the running for the festival’s top prize.
Although Farhadi won an Oscar and the Golden Bear at Berlin for his 2011 breakthrough film, A Separation, he has never won the Palme d’Or, although two of his later films – The Past (2013) and The Salesman (2016) – won best screenplay and best actor and actress prizes.
Cruz and Bardem are the golden couple of Spanish-language cinema, and have starred in several films together including last year’s Loving Pablo, about a journalist who falls in love with the notorious Colombian drug-lord, Pablo Escobar.
Darín needs no introduction to Argentines. An actor, screenwriter and director, Darín was a TV star in his youth, before growing into the key leading man on both stage and screen, starring in some of Argentina’s most successful and well-loved films, including Nueve Reinas (2000), El Hijo de la Novia (2001), the Oscar-winning El Secreto de Sus Ojos (2009) and Relatos Salvajes (2014).
Farhadi, 45, is one Iran’s most renowned directors, who has made a name for himself with tense and carefully crafted stories both inside and outside his homeland. He reportedly wrote the script for his latest work in Farsi, before having it translated into Spanish.
Everybody Knows is a tale of family intrigue and moral dilemma. It tells the story of Carolina, a Spanish woman played by Cruz who returns from Buenos Aires to her native village outside Madrid, accompanied by her Argentine husband and children, for a celebration. “However, the trip is upset by unexpected events that bring secrets into the open,” the film’s synopsis reads.
Hinting at the potential plot, Farhadi recently revealed at an event that the origin of the story goes back 12 years to the south of Spain, when he saw posters showing the face of a missing girl who had been kidnapped plastered across the streets.
A trailer for the movie, which highlights the dramatic turn of events things take after a wedding, was released online on Thursday. The film, which is produced by France’s Memento Films Production and Spain’s Morena Films and had a budget of US$11.8 million, will be released in France on May 9, the day after the 11-day festival begins.
Cate Blanchett is leading the jury of this year’s festival, which comes as the industry is under upheaval over revelations of sexual misconduct.
Hollywood star Benicio Del Toro is to preside over the Certain Regard section of the Cannes film festival, organisers said Wednesday. The Puerto Rican-Spanish actor won best actor at Cannes in 2008 for playing Che Guevara in Steven Soderbergh’s two Che films.
Meanwhile, French producers have lent their support to Cannes director Thierry Fremaux over his controversial shake-up of the world’s top film festival.
He had incurred the wrath of hundreds of French and international critics for changing the timings of press screenings which they said would play havoc with the festival. They argued that critics would now have to wait until the day after gala red carpet premières to see many of the films in the competition.
But the French producers’ union said it backed Fremaux’s changes which did away with the tradition of having press previews before the gala premières. It said they supported the idea of showing “their films in real world premières before the public and film professionals at the same time.”