The emotion was palpable in the Grand Théâtre Lumière for the return of the Festival to Cannes after its cancellation last year due to the global pandemic.
The French actress and scriptwriter Doria Tillier evoked a sense of magic at the opening: “To be a good spectator, you have to abandon yourself, and that’s what we’re going to do here. For 11 days, we won’t be able to help ourselves. We will laugh, share and maybe even leave as different people because cinema offers us a vision – one of sweet, violent, and impossible things… Maybe that’s what we mean when we talk of the magic of cinema.”
Jodie Foster, the Festival’s guest of honour, joined her on stage to recall the importance of cinema and its evolution: “During this year of lockdown, cinema has been my lifeline. I will never lose my wonder and gratitude for cinema.”
The American actress and director was moved to receive an honourary Palme d’or from Pedro Almodóvar, who had come to honour her career.
The Feature Film Jury, composed of Mati Diop, Mylène Farmer, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jessica Hausner, Mélanie Laurent, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Tahar Rahim and Song Kang Ho, was invited onto the stage before the screening of a montage of the filmography of its President: Spike Lee, who met with a standing ovation.
The teams of the 2020 Selection films present in the room were applauded in turn before the montage of the 2021 Official Selection films was screened.
The first film in the Competition to compete for the Palme d’or, Leos Carax’s Annette, was screened at the end of the Ceremony in the presence of its director and its main actors, Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver.