Cannes film-makers celebrate musical heroes

Paris (AFP) –


It will be a feast for the ears as well as the eyes on the Croisette this year with a string of films celebrating musical heroes across different eras and cultures.

- Opening Sparks -

Wild film-maker meets legendary band in the opening film of the festival on July 6.

"Annette" by French director Leos Carax features Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver, but the real stars may prove to be the US band Sparks.

Cult favourites since the 1970s, the duo provided not just the soundtrack but the script to this otherworldly musical about a celebrity couple whose lives are turned upside down by the arrival of their first child.

"'Annette' is a much-anticipated gift for lovers of cinema, music and culture," promised festival president Pierre Lescure.

- Velvet Underground and Jane Birkin -

There is more from the annals of rock lore in the form of Todd Haynes's new documentary, "The Velvet Underground", about the hugely influential New York band led by Lou Reed.

It's familiar territory for the US director, who made a fictional film inspired by David Bowie, "Velvet Goldmine", and a fictionalised account of Bob Dylan's life, "I'm Not There".

The new doc promises a mix of interviews and exclusive footage from the time.

Meanwhile, actor Charlotte Gainsbourg is premiering an intimate documentary about her mother Jane Birkin.

"Jane" is her first outing as a director and has been in the works for several years, with scenes shot in the famous Parisian home she shared with husband Serge Gainsbourg.

- Multi-generational rap -

The sounds of Moroccan hip-hop form the basis for the country's first Palme d'Or nomination in 60 years.

Nabil Ayouch's "Casablanca Beats" follows a rapper working in a cultural centre in a working class area, where hip-hop culture runs up against the social constraints of the neighbourhood.

Meanwhile, one of the godfathers of French rap, JoeyStarr, features in two films at the festival.

Already a familiar face on French TV screens, he stars alongside Vanessa Paradis in competition entry "Love Songs for Tough Guys", while a film about his early rap collective NTM, "Supremes", is premiering on the same night out of competition.

- Bill Murray to Celine Dion -

Among the other musical options featuring on the Croisette is an unofficial biopic about Celine Dion, "Aline" by director Valerie Lemercier, whose release has been pushed back several times due to the pandemic.

It gets odder with a concert film featuring legendary US comedian Bill Murray reciting contemporary numbers in collaboration with a German cellist and piano trio.

The film, "New Worlds, the Cradle of a Civilization", has Murray reciting songs from West Side Story to Van Morrison in what promises to be one of the more random out-of-competition screenings.

Another intriguing entry in the programme is "Tralala" from French film-makers the Larrieu brothers, in which a middle-aged songwriter goes searching for the Virgin Mary.

If nothing else, it features the spectacle of former Bond villain Mathieu Amalric looking like a hobo and playing a ukulele.