Cannes 2021: Jodie Foster and Marco Bellocchio Palmes d’Or of Honor – Film Review

In two weeks, on Tuesday July 6, the curtain will rise on the 74th edition of the Cannes Film Festival. As this first major world cinema event approaches after the coronavirus health crisis, the announcements tend to be crowded. Allow us to group together here those of the Palmes d’or d’honneur, which will be awarded respectively to the American actress and director Jodie Foster and to the Italian director Marco Bellocchio. While the press release of the honorary award to Foster had been published on June 2, just hours before the announcement of the official selection, that of Bellocchio dates from today.

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Announced as the guest of honor who will receive her Palme d’Or of honor during the opening ceremony on the stage of the Palais des Festivals, Jodie Foster (* 1962) was able to weave very early and over time a close link with the Cannes Film Festival. Thus, while she is on the verge of freeing herself from her status as a child star at Disney, the young actress presented no less than three of her films in competition in the mid-1970s: Alice is no longer here by Martin Scorsese, Bugsy malone by Alan Parker and especially the legendary Taxi Driver by Martin Scorsese, still him, who ended up winning the Palme d’Or in 1976 from the jury chaired by Tennessee Williams.

In 2001, she had first accepted the post of president of the jury, before withdrawing in favor of her colleague Liv Ullmann, because of the filming of Panic Room by David Fincher. Two of her films as a director were also screened out of competition on the Croisette: The Beaver Complex in 2011 and Money Monster five years later.

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Winner of two Academy Awards in the Best Actress category for The accused by Jonathan Kaplan in 1989 and for Thesilenceofthelambs by Jonathan Demme in 1992, Jodie Foster has led a most demanding career in front of the camera for nearly fifty years. Over the years, she has collaborated with Adrian Lyne (Girls are high), Claude Chabrol (Blood of others), Tony Richardson (The New Hampshire Hotel), Woody Allen (Shadows and fog), Michael Apted (Nell), Robert Zemeckis (Contact), the president of the jury this year Spike Lee (Inside Man The Inside Man), Neil Jordan (Alive), Roman Polanski (Carnage), Neill Blomkap (Elysium) and Kevin Macdonald (Designated guilty which will be released in France during the festival, on Wednesday July 14).

As a director, we owe her four feature films so far. In addition to the two films mentioned above, it is about The Little Man in 1991 and Family weekend in 1996. More recently, Jodie Foster has also directed episodes for successful series like “House of Cards”, “Orange is the new Black” and “Black Mirror”.


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The shared history between Marco Bellocchio (* 1939) and the Cannes Film Festival is perhaps even richer than that of his winning colleague. It certainly begins slightly later, with the selection in competition of The leap into the void, double acting prize in 1980 for Anouk Aimée and Michel Piccoli. But it has remained more regular over time, with no less than six additional participations in competition. Selections which unfortunately did not result in any subsequent prize, despite the undeniable quality of Henry IV The Mad King, The Prince of Homburg by Heinrich von Kleist, Nanny, My mother’s smile, Vincere and lately The traitor in 2019.

Two other films by Marco Bellocchio had been part of the parallel section Un Certain Regard: Butterfly dream and The Wedding Director. The Directors’ Fortnight had also invited him twice, for The Devil in the Body and Sweet Dreams.

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Selected twice at the Berlin Film Festival, the Italian director had nevertheless received a Silver Bear Special Jury Prize for Around desire in 1991. In his own country, the Venice Film Festival was more generous towards him, through five selections in competition, a special jury prize in 1967 for China is near and even an honorary Golden Lion in 2011. The Locarno Festival awarded him its Honorary Leopard four years later. Finally, in Cannes, he sat on the jury in 2007 under the chairmanship of Stephen Frears, who voted his Palme d’Or at 4 months 3 weeks and 2 days by Cristian Mungiu.

The old master of Italian cinema will not be satisfied with receiving his Palme d’Or of honor during the closing ceremony on Saturday, July 17. The two previous days, he will first meet the public during a masterclass, then present the documentary Marx can wait, selected for Cannes Première. The director will return to the intimate drama of the suicide of his twin brother at the age of 29.

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Cannes 2021: Jodie Foster and Marco Bellocchio Palmes d’Or of Honor – Film Review

Hank Gilbert