The 71st edition of world's most renowned film festival at Cannes will open on May 8 with the Iranian auteur, Asghar Farhadi's Spanish work, Everybody Knows (Todos Lo Saben). It will be part of the Cannes Film Festival Competition, which usually has about 20 titles.
All these years, the huge contingent of journalists at Cannes had the privilege of watching the opening movie at 10 in the morning of the inaugural day – with others (including the public and moviemakers) seeing it at 7 the same evening. But with the Festival chief, Thierry Fremaux's new diktat to make the Press watch the Competition movies only with the public and the industry, journalists will have to, this year, wait till the evening of the opening day to watch Everybody Knows.
Farhadi's 8th feature, Everybody Knows, shot entirely in Spanish on the Iberian Peninsula, tells the story of Laura, who lives with her husband and children in Buenos Aires. When they return to her native village in Spain for a family celebration, an unexpected event changes the course of their lives. The family, its ties and the moral choices imposed on it lie, as in every one of Farhadi’s scripts, at the heart of the plot.
The Festival has invariably opened with either a French work or one in English – the only exception being 2004, when the Spanish master, Pedro Almodovar's Bad Educator, got Cannes rolling on its 12-day sojourn.
Everybody Knows is a psychological thriller, which stars the husband-wife duo, Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem from Spain, and Ricardo Darín from Argentina.
As usual, Farhadi has an excellent technical team for his film: José Luis Alcaine for photography (a regular collaborator of Pedro Almodóvar, Carlos Saura and Bigas Luna), costume designer Sonia Grande (Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen, The Others by Alejandro Amenábar), and Iranian editor Hayedeh Safiyari. These people have assisted Farhadi on four of his features, including two Oscar clinchers for foreign language picture.
Farhadi has had an exceptionally illustrious career. In 2011, his A Separation walked away with the Berlin Film Festival's top Golden Bear. Later, it got an Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Picture. Farhadi has been a Cannes regular: The Past in 2013 won a Best Actress Award for Berenice Bejo (who first came to international limelight with her romantic drama made in the style of a black and white silent work, The Artist, whose director Michel Hazanavicius she married), and The Salesman, which earned in 2016 the Best Screenplay trophy and the Best Actor Prize for Shahab Hosseini.
Of all his movies, the one that I consider to be Farhadi's best is A Separation (in Persian about a squabbling couple on the verge of divorce), the worst being The Past, set in Paris and mostly in French. It is not difficult to guess why the director went wrong. One may answer this question with why Satyajit Ray went wrong with Shatranj Ke Khiladi – made in Hindi.
The Festival will run from May 8 to May 19, and the main Competition jury will be chaired by the Australian actress, Cate Blanchett. The full list of the Festival titles will be announced in Paris on April 12.
You can watch the trailer below:
(Author, commentator and movie critic Gautaman Bhaskaran has covered the Cannes Film Festival for 28 years, and may be emailed at email@example.com )