Cannes Film Festival Opens With Michael Douglas Honor, Catherine Deneuve’s Tribute to Ukraine
CANNES — The Cannes Film Festival opened with words of both exuberance and reverence, as the festival returned to form while keeping its political point of view.
“I wanted to talk about the unique aspect of cinema and that is that we are all watching together. We are sitting in one room together, and watching one content,” said jury president Ruben Östlund in his opening remarks. The Swedish director recalled gathering around a TV screen with his parents as a child, and joked that the only TV show any nation — or any family — still watches together is the Eurovision Song Contest. “All we are doing is scrolling and alone in our rooms.”
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Östlund said constant scrolling is causing people to abandon critical thinking to the algorithm, and that the billions of cameras in the world have changed our behaviors. “You have to make a standpoint when you are watching cinema,” he said.
He’ll be watching 21 films over the next 12 days with his fellow jurors, including Paul Dano, Brie Larson and Julia Ducournau.
Uma Thurman took to the stage to honor Michael Douglas, who received an honorary Palme d’Or. “Unique as both a producer and an iconic movie star, this dueling legacy has indelibly marked the canon of American cinema itself. A forever star, and an illuminating artist,” said Thurman as she welcomed Douglas to the stage to a standing ovation.
“This means so much to me, because there are hundreds of film festivals around the world, but there is only one Cannes. Seventy-six years old? I’m even older than the festival,” he joked, recalling the many times he has attended during his 50-plus years as an actor. “And after the years of COVID[-19] and this terrible war that has been going on, experiencing this festival is a reminder of what a positive world it is…and how film can be transcendent.”
This year’s official poster features Catherine Deneuve, and she took to the stage to give Douglas his award. In a poignant moment, she cited lines from Ukranian poet Lessia Oukrainka’s work, “Hope.”
“I no longer have either happiness or freedom. Only one hope remains in me, to return one day to my beautiful Ukraine,” she said, expressing solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
Deneuve’s daughter, actress Chiara Mastroianni, served as host of the evening and echoed her mother’s sentiments as she spoke of the strength of cinema. “The reason this festival was created was and remains the exaltation of our freedom. Freedom to dare, to imagine, to create,” said Mastroianni.
Douglas walked the red carpet flanked by wife Catherine Zeta-Jones and daughter Carys Douglas. The mother-daughter duo were twinning of sorts, in Elie Saab dresses, Sarah Flint shoes and Chopard jewels.
Zeta-Jones wore a flowing red silk chiffon gown, while Carys had a long white lace dress with flower appliqués.
It was a family affair for Thurman as well, as she was accompanied by son Levon Thurman-Hawke on the red carpet. Thurman was clad in a blush satin gown and dramatic red cape from Dior, with Chopard jewels.
Saab also dressed Alessandra Ambrosio in a hooded gown, who completed the look with Pomellato jewels.
Juror Larson pulled her first look of the festival fresh from the Chanel resort 2024 show, sporting a high-neck, long-sleeve gold and beige dress topped with a beaded jacket. The ensemble made its debut on the runway in L.A. just last week.
Naomi Campbell wore a slinky Celine column, with Chopard jewels. Stylist Jenke Ahmed Tailly was proudly showing those seated near him in the Grand Lumiere theater photos of the supermodel on the red carpet.
“It’s simplicity, but it’s Old Hollywood — she’s divine,” he told WWD, noting that Campbell added white sunglasses to the ensemble halfway through the red carpet. “So chic.”
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