The 75th edition of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in France opened on Tuesday, with four Belgian films set to premiere. In a first for Belgium, three are contenders for the top Golden Palm prize.
For the first time since 2019, the nearly two-week-long international festival is taking place in its pre-pandemic format, without any Covid-19 restrictions.
This year is unprecedented for Belgium, with three of the country's productions entered for the official competition. In total, 21 films are in the running for the Palme D'Or, out of some 2,500 submissions are selected.
For the first time since the 1980s, Flemish productions feature among Belgium's three shortlisted films.
"The eight mountains" ("Le otto montagne"), directed by couple Felix van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch, is the film adaptation of the book of the same name by Paolo Cognetti. The couple also wrote the screenplay for their film.
While this is Vandermeersch's directorial debut, it is the second time that Van Groeningen has presented a film in Cannes. In 2009, "De Helaasheid der dingen" ("The Misfortunates") was also screened at the festival, albeit in a side competition.
Previously, Van Groeningen found international success with "The Broken Circle Breakdown," which received an Oscar nomination in 2012. In 2018, he directed the movie "Beautiful Boy" in the US, starring Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carrell.
Lukas Dhont, who won the debut prize at Cannes for the much-discussed and acclaimed "Girl" in 2018 is now returning to present his follow-up "Close" in the official competition. The film tells the story of two 13-year-old boys whose intense friendship is abruptly cut short.
Walloon brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne are regulars at Cannes and have previously won the Golden Palm for their movies "Rosetta" and "L'enfant." Now, they are presenting the movie "Tori et Lokita," which focuses on the friendship between two young people who have come to Belgium from Africa by themselves.
Screened outside of competition
The only Belgian movie that will be screened outside the official competition is "Rebel" by directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah.
The Belgian duo directed 'Bad Boys for Life' starring Will Smith, which became the highest-grossing film in the 'Bad Boys' franchise and the third-highest-grossing January release of all time.
Their entry to Cannes this year, however, is a rather more sombre affair. It tells the story of a man from the Brussels municipality of Molenbeek who goes to Syria. El Arbi's younger brother Amir plays a role in the film and will be present at the big premiere in Cannes.
The winners of the awards will be decided by a jury of nine, chaired by the French actor, screenwriter and filmmaker Vincent Lindon.