Entertainment

70th Cannes Film Festival opens amid heavy security

The 70th Cannes Film Festival is opening Wednesday under sunny Cote D'Azur skies, heavy security and widespread unease in the movie industry.

Tension over festival's decision to premiere TV, Netflix films

A police officer patrols in front of the Palais des Festivals along the top end of The Croisette on May 17, 2017 in Cannes. Heavy security is planned for this year's festival. (Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images)

The 70th Cannes Film Festival is opening Wednesday under sunny Cote D'Azur skies, heavy security and widespread unease in the movie industry.

Security was greater than ever at the French festival, with stepped up efforts to restrict access and even an anti-drone system. France remains under a state of emergency since the November 2015 Paris attacks. This is also the first festival held since the nearby Nice attack last year that killed 86 people.

Festival organizers have said everything has been done to maintain a balance of safety and the celebratory atmosphere of the world's most prestigious film festival.

Director Pedro Almodovar, centre, jury president of the 70th Cannes Film Festival and jury members, from left to right, Maren Ade, Park Chan-wook, Gabriel Yared, Paolo Sorrentino, Will Smith, Jessica Chastain, Fan Bingbing and Agnes Jaoui. (Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters)

This year's festival has its own anxieties. Television, virtual reality and Netflix are a larger presence than ever before in the program.

While a fight between American streaming giant Netflix and French movie theaters has overshadowed the opening, fans of auteur cinema are excited to see the latest works by the likes of Noah Baumbach, Francois Ozon and Lynne Ramsay.

Todd Haynes, director of acclaimed lesbian drama Carol, has the first film in the main competition, Wonderstruck, based on a half-text, half-graphic novel about the inter-connected stories of two troubled children, set decades apart.

 

Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled, one of two films screening at Cannes starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell, is a remake of the 1971 Clint Eastwood American Civil War tale of sexual tension. This time, it's seen through the lens of a woman rather than the famously macho Dirty Harry director Don Siegel.

Austrian director Michael Haneke could make it a record third Palme d'Or with Happy End, starring the queen of art-house cinema, Isabelle Huppert.

Outside the main competition, many films have a political edge, including An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power which follows up on Al Gore's 2006 climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

Arnaud Desplechin's Ismael's Ghosts will open the festival Wednesday.

Red carpet being rolled out during the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 17, 2017. (Matthias Nareyek/Getty Images)

With files from Reuters

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