Cannes unveils a golden poster as rumors fly about the 2016 slate

Spielberg and Allen on the croisette?
Cannes 2016 poster

The 69th Festival de Cannes is less than eight weeks away and word is starting to leak about what films will make their debut at, arguably, the world’s most famous film festival. But before we ponder the rumored selections some business is at order.

The festival has already announced that George Miller will preside over the festival jury and today it revealed a poster. Like most of the festival’s recent key art images it harkens back to a classic moment or, in this case, film. This year’s poster uses an image from Jean-Luc Goddard’s classic film “Contempt.” As the festival’s press release notes,

“It’s all there. The steps, the sea, the horizon: a man’s ascent towards his dream, in a warm Mediterranean light that turns to gold. As an image it is reminiscent of a timeless quote used at the beginning of Contempt: ‘Cinema replaces our gaze with a world in harmony with our desires.’”

The white font may be a tad hard to read over the gold background, but it’s striking for sure. And considering the color scheme for Miller’s last opus, “Mad Max: Fury Road,” potentially appropriate. Miller’s “Fury Road” made a huge splash with the global press last year at Cannes screening an out of competition slot. At the time many of us on hand believed it could have won the Palme d’Or if it was in competition. What it did, however, was frame “Mad Max” as a prestige enough picture for members of The Academy to truly embrace even though many pundits believed “Carol” left la croisette as a best picture frontrunner (well, except me…). Who will make early awards season waves at this year’s fest?

The big out of competition fish this year appears to be Jodie Foster’s “Money Monster.” The Sony Pictures economically themed dramatic thriller stars George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Jack O’Connell will likely screen the day before it opens in theaters in the U.S. on May 13th. Basically, it’s a last wave of major publicity in a very competitive summer frame and it helps the picture’s international release especially in Europe where it rolls out over the following three weeks.

Woody Allen famously stays out of the competition and he’s expected to return with “Café Society” which features another red carpet friendly cast including Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively, Steve Carell and Jesse Eisenberg. Allen’s last film, “Irrational Man,” got off to a deservedly rocky start at least year’s festival and distributor Amazon Studios has not yet announced a U.S. release date.

Another rumored title is Steven Spielberg’s “The BFG.”  Spielberg has only appeared in competition three times over the past 40 years and an out of competition slot could be a nice PR win for the Disney fantasy spectacle.  Mark this one as a big “maybe,” however.

As for competition, Pedro Almodovar’s “Julieta” is expected even though it will open in Spain on April 8 (a concession the Festival has allowed for Almodovar in the past). Sony Classics is expected to release the drama later this year.

In terms of American filmmakers, the most exciting prospect is Jeff Nichols’ “Loving” which Focus Features has already slotted for a Nov. 4 awards season release. The fact Focus would let “Loving” debut almost six months before its theatrical release shows extreme confidence in the quality of the picture. Nichols’ second film this year after “Midnight Special,” “Loving” tells the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga), a Virgina interracial couple who were sentenced to prison in 1958 and their battle to overturn their convictions.

Also rumored to be heading to France is none other than outspoken actor, filmmaker, humanitarian and, cough, “journalist” Sean Penn. The two-time Oscar winner screened “The Pledge” at Cannes in 2001 and returns with “The Last Face” featuring Javier Bardem, Adèle Exarchopoulos (“Blue is the Warmest Color”), Jean Reno and his ex-lover Charlize Theron. And, yes, that will be a fun press conference to say the least. “Last Face” is currently without distribution but centers on two international aid works dealing civil unrest in Africa.

It’s unclear if any other domestic filmmakers will make the Cannes cut, but Nate Parker’s Sundance marvel “Birth of a Nation” is expected to screen for the international press following in the footsteps of fellow Park City hits “Whiplash,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and “Fruitvale Station.”

Look for more on the upcoming Cannes Film Festival on Awards Campaign in the weeks to come. In the meantime, check out the official poster below.

69th Cannes Film Festival poster

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With over a decade of experience in the movie industry, Ellwood survived working for two major studios, has written for Variety, MSN and the LA Times and co-founded HitFix, Inc. serving as its first Editor-in-Chief and President. Ellwood spends his time relaxing hitting 3’s on the basketball court and following his beloved Clippers.

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