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Poor Sarah White

PARIS (Reuters) – Sean Penn and Wes Anderson will be among the dignitaries vying for the top prize at the Cannes International Film Festival in July, when the seventh art fair hopes world stars can interact again at parties on the French Riviera.

Organizers of the world’s largest film festival said Thursday they believe they can hold dinners and shows on the beach in parallel with the main competition, as some measures against Covid-19 have been suspended in France.

Usually held in May, last year’s magic event was canceled due to the pandemic, and this year it will take place between July 6-17. Festival director Thierry Frémaux said there will be no “kisses on the red carpet”, but the restrictions should not be too onerous.

Travelers from other countries, such as the UK, are still subject to quarantine measures in France for now, but there will be no more nighttime curfews.

After a 2019 release filled with Hollywood’s big names, this year’s list of artists includes fewer stars from the United States.

The selection of nominees for the Palme d’Or includes some films focusing on the era of Covid-19, in which characters appear in masks.

“The cinema will also feature this,” Frémaux said at a press conference.

La Fracture, directed by Catherine Corsini, takes place in a modern hospital.

Highlights include “The French Dispatch” by Wes Anderson, known for “The Eccentric Tenenbaums” and “The Grand Hotel Budapest.”

Flag Day, a drama directed by Sean Penn, will be among 24 films vying for the jury’s attention, led by American director Spike Lee.

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Italian Nani Moretti, who won in 2001 with “Tre Piani”, returns, and Paul Verhoeven will present “Benedetta”, which is about a love story in a monastery.

Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard star in “Annette,” a musical from Leos Carax that will premiere on opening night.

The first films will also be screened by French directors Francois Ozon and Jacques Audiard, as well as Iranian Asghar Farhadi, Russia’s Kirill Serebnikov and Thailand’s Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2010 Palme d’Or winners.

Out of competition, Oliver Stone will show a modified version of 1991’s “JFK – The Question That Won’t Be Silent” with new material.

(by Sarah White and Michaela Cabrera)