Bérénice Bejo and Romain Duris all smiles on the red carpet.

The 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival officially kicked off on Tuesday May 17 with the out-of-competition screening of "Cut!", a wacky parody of zombie movies.  

✨ Rise of the Steps of CUT!

by Michel HAZANAVICIUS - Opening film of the 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival #HorsCompetition



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✨#RedSteps CUT!

(FINAL CUT) by Michel HAZANAVICIUS - Opening film #Cannes2022 #OutOfCompetition pic.twitter.com/quDWsEMzxx

— Cannes Film Festival (@Festival_Cannes) May 17, 2022

The new feature film by director Michel Hazanavicius, Oscar winner in 2012 for “The Artist”, was originally scheduled to be screened at the American festival in Sundance, Utah, last January.

But the production had finally withdrawn the film, the organizers of the festival having been forced to organize a virtual edition due to an upsurge in cases of Covid-19.

A pitfall avoided by the Cannes Film Festival, four months later, to the great relief of hotel and cinema professionals, who are delighted to see the city reconnect with the festive spirit.  

A season that “looks good” 

"We are in full swing! Very, very happy to return to normal, that is to say with a festival and a face-to-face film market", explains Christine Welter, director of the Cavendish hotel, and president of the union. Cannes hoteliers.

"The situation according to the regions of the world is uneven, but we are on attendance rates which are, for the first week, higher than those of 2019".  

Confirming his statements, an uninterrupted stream of onlookers of all nationalities circulates on the Croisette, a few hours before the opening.

On the other side of the street, Guillaume, manager of the Casino brasserie, is busy at the counter as lunchtime approaches.

"Last year, the Festival was held in July, it was really not ideal because it is this event which launches the season, and allows us to work over time", explains the young man.

"This year, the season is looking good. The foreign audience of the Festival has returned well. For two days, we have had a lot more people".

A few meters further, a long queue borders a white barrier along the Palais des Festivals.

Film industry professionals, wearing badges, line up to go to the film market, which has just opened inside the building.

Queue in front of the entrance to the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, May 17, 2022. © David Rich / France 24

The Asian market "still reluctant"  

At the entrance, a series of booths from Asian countries display their latest film productions, hoping to find buyers.

Away, alone in an alley, the office of the CFCC (China film co-production corp), the main producer and exporter of Chinese films, pales in comparison.

Its two employees confirm that no professional in the sector has been able to make the trip this year, while the pandemic is raging in several major cities including Beijing and Shanghai.

"Before the Covid-19 crisis, there were around fifteen Asian stands here. Today, we are three times fewer", underlines Caroline Artus, project manager at Jetro, the Japanese foreign trade promotion agency. .

"In many of our countries, with the exception of China, health restrictions have been lifted but companies remain reluctant to send their employees abroad. This is even more true when it comes to major events. like canes". 

The stand of Jetro, the Japanese foreign trade promotion agency, at the film market in Cannes, May 17, 2022. © David Rich / France 24

Americans "twice as many"

According to the organizers of the Festival, 35,000 accreditations were issued for the 75th edition, i.e. 5,000 less than in 2019, due in particular to lower demand from Asian countries.

Despite everything, compared to the year 2021, when only 20,000 accreditations were distributed, Cannes is now experiencing a spectacular recovery.  

This year, 12,000 professionals from more than 110 countries are present at the film market.

Figures higher than expected, according to the organizers, with the United States in first place, the most represented country ahead of France, the United Kingdom and Germany.  

"We are twice as numerous as last year", explains Steven Isbock, president of the company California Pictures Inc., located in the middle of the American stands.

For 18 years, this Los Angeles-based producer has not missed any edition of the film market, reputed to be the largest in the world.

"The first year of Covid-19 was horrible for us, it caused us to lose 80% of our (business) turnover", he underlines, bitterly.  

"Today, the professionals are back, of course, but what you see around you are above all exhibitors... what we need now is business, therefore buyers!" , he asserts fervently.

Under the amused gaze of visitors, the Californian producer takes the latest edition of the Hollywood Reporter, the American magazine of reference on cinema.

"Do you see that? That's the key word!" he laughs, his finger on the cover of the magazine where the word "hope" appears. 

Steven Istock, president of California Pictures, at the Cannes film market, May 17, 2022. © David Rich / France 24

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