After a canceled 2020 edition and a scaled back gathering last year, the Cannes Film Festival kicked off Tuesday with an eye turned to Russia’s war in Ukraine and a live satellite video address from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Formally attired stars including Eva Longoria, Julianne Moore, Bérénice Bejo and “No Time to Die” star Lashana Lynch were among those who streamed down Cannes’ famous red carpet Tuesday for the opening of the 75th Cannes Film Festival and the premiere of Michel Hazanavicius’ zombie comedy “Final Cut.”
More star-studded premieres — “Top Gun: Maverick!” “Elvis!” — await over the next 12 days, during which 21 films will vie for the festival’s prestigious top award, the Palme d’Or. But Tuesday’s opening and the carefully choreographed red-carpet parade leading up the steps to the Grand Théâtre Lumiére again restored one of the movies’ grandest pageants after two years of pandemic that have challenged the exalted stature Cannes annually showers on cinema.
But the war in Ukraine was in Cannes’ spotlight Tuesday. During the festival’s opening ceremony, Zelenskyy spoke at length about the connection between cinema and reality, referencing films like Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” and Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” as not unlike Ukraine’s present circumstances.