Cannes Film Festival 2021: Sean Penn's Flag Day among line-up

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image captionSean Penn has directed Flag Day, which he will also star in alongside Josh Brolin and Miles Teller

A new film directed by Sean Penn is among the movies set to premiere at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.

The event will take place in person next month, but with strict Covid safety measures in place for attendees.

Flag Day, which Penn also stars in alongside Josh Brolin, is an adaptation of the book by Jennifer Vogel.

It tells the story of a father who lives a double life as a counterfeiter, bank robber and conman in order to provide for his daughter.

Penn's previous directing efforts have included Into The Wild, The Pledge and The Crossing Guard.

Flag Day will also star Miles Teller and Eddie Marsan, alongside Penn's daughter Dylan.

It's one of several films organisers announced on Thursday for this year's festival, which will run from 6 to 17 July.

Other Cannes highlights

image copyrightEPA
image captionJodie Foster will receive an honorary Palme d'Or, organisers announced earlier this week
  • French director Mia Hansen-Love will premiere Bergman Island, about an American filmmaking couple who retreat to an island for the summer to each write screenplays for their upcoming films. It stars Tim Roth, Mia Wasikowska and Vicky Krieps, who was previously seen in Phantom Thread
  • Tom McCarthy will return with his first dramatic film since winning the best picture Oscar for Spotlight. Still Water will see Matt Damon star as a father trying to exonerate his estranged daughter of a murder she never committed
  • Director Oliver Stone will premiere JFK Revisited: Through The Looking Glass. No further details beyond the title have yet been announced
  • Actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, the daughter of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg, will make her directorial debut with Jane Par Charlotte
  • Other directors debuting their films include Andrea Arnold, who will premiere Cow, and Todd Haynes, who will unveil The Velvet Underground
  • Previous Palme d'Or winners Jacques Audiard and Apichatpong Weerasethakul will debut their new films Les Olympiades and Memoria respectively
  • Eva Husson's Mothering Sunday and Red Rocket by The Florida Project's Sean Baker have also been announced

It was previously confirmed that the opening night film will be Annette from director Leos Carax and starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard.

Wes Anderson's new film The French Dispatch, starring Timothee Chalamet, Elisabeth Moss, Tilda Swinton and Frances McDormand, and Paul Verhoeven's Benedetta, were also confirmed to be running in competition.

Organisers announced earlier this week that Jodie Foster will receive an honorary Palme d'Or at the 2021 festival.

image copyrightReuters
image captionDirector Spike Lee will chair the jury this year

Spike Lee will head up the jury that hands out the festival's official awards. The Oscar-winning filmmaker was set to be jury president for the 2020 festival, but that was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Cinema is not dead," said Cannes artistic director Thierry Frémaux on Thursday. "The return of audiences to movie theatres around the world was the first good news. And the festival will be the second good news."

The closing night film has not yet been confirmed, however Frémaux indicated that he has a major blockbuster premiere still to reveal.

Four of the 24 films in competition this year have female directors, which Variety said matched the event's previous record, set in 2019.

They are Hansen-Love, Catherine Corsini, Julia Ducournau and Ildikó Enyedi. Female directors elsewhere in the line-up include Eva Husson, Hafsia Herzi, Gainsbourg and Arnold.

The festival previously announced that it will require attendees to be tested for Covid-19 every 48 hours if they have not been fully vaccinated, or show proof of immunity.

France's audience limit in cinemas is set to lift on 1 July, which means all films should, in theory, be able to screen to full-capacity crowds.

However, masks will still need to be worn during screenings. It is not yet clear whether they will also be required on the red carpet.

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