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Cannes Film Fest Doubles Down on Depps, Wim Wenders and Wang Bing



The 76th Cannes Film Festival unveiled its 2023 official selection Thursday morning in Paris, delivering the usual mix of festival regulars and exciting new filmmaking voices. The latest films from Cannes mainstays like Ken Loach, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Todd Haynes, Nanni Moretti and Wes Anderson were included in the selection, as expected. But Cannes also maintained its reputation as the preeminent discoverer of new cinematic talent with the inclusion of newcomers like Senegalese director Ramata Toulaye Sy, whose debut feature Banel & Adama landed in the main competition, and the very first Mongolian film to be invited to the festival, If Only I Could Hibernateby Zoljargal Purevdash, screening in Un Certain Regard.

There was one less familiar aspect to the 2023 program announcement, though: A couple of filmmakers were included twice.

German filmmaking legend Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire, Paris, Texas), still going strong at the age of 77, will be doing double duty at Cannes’ Palais in 2023. His Tokyo-set drama Perfect Daysstarring the great Japanese actor Koji Yakusho, will feature in the festival’s main competition, while his latest documentary, Anselm, a 3D profile of the German painter and sculptor Anselm Kiefer, will also premiere in a special screening slot. Cannes festival director Thierry Frémaux noted that Wenders, upon hearing the news of his dual honor, joked that he wasn’t sure he had the energy to defend two films at the same time from Cannes’ notoriously fierce critics, but that he would do his best

Wenders won’t be facing this unique honor alone, however. Chinese documentarian Wang Bing (Fengming, a Chinese Memoir2007; The Ditch, 2010) will also get the Cannes double-bill treatment next month. Wang, widely considered one of the greatest documentary filmmakers China has ever produced, will premiere Youtha portrait of Chinese young people, in competition (the only doc in the festival’s top tier this year), while another of his much-anticipated new docs, Man in Blackdescribed by Fremaux as “the story of a witness of the cultural revolution and its wrongdoings,” gets a special screening.

There was arguably one other doubling to be discerned in the 2023 Cannes lineup — a double dip of Depp. As previously revealed, Johnny Depp’s latest star vehicle Jeanne du Barry, in which he plays French King Louis XV for French director Mäiwenn, will open the festival. Meanwhile, the actor’s daughter, Lily-Rose Depp, will later walk the Cannes red carpet for the out-of-competition premiere of the HBO series. The Idol from Sam Levinson and Canadian pop star The Weeknd. Apparently there’s a recession coming, so perhaps the Depps should share one yacht in Cannes this year.

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