Monday morning, the Palais des festivals opened its doors, welcoming journalists in dribs and drabs. Aficionados, equipped with stepladders, have already taken their places so as not to miss anything from the parade of stars.

On the famous steps, not yet covered with the red carpet, police officers repeated in uniform the securing of the opening night on Tuesday. Indifferent to the hustle and bustle of handlers carrying boxes in the International Village, tourists were already enjoying the sun and the sea on the beach.

“We are coming to the end, for us, after three weeks of editing”, welcomes José Will, head of the exhibition department at the Palais des Festivals, to AFPTV.

For this anniversary edition, more than 35,000 film lovers and professionals are preparing to join the seaside town of the Côte d’Azur. In an atmosphere swinging between stars, cream of auteur cinema and echoes of the war in Ukraine through several selected films.

– Return of Tom Cruise –

Few Russian professionals are expected, the Festival having announced since the invasion of Ukraine that it would not welcome official “delegations” or structures linked to the government.

And some countries like China could be less present than usual, due to the health situation there. But in Cannes, the page of the Covid epidemic, which forced the cancellation in 2020 and an edition in July last year, seems turned: the Festival has returned to its usual dates and there will be no mandatory masks, no health pass this year.

From Tuesday evening, the party and the 7th art will regain their rights, after the arrival of the jury, chaired by the French actor Vincent Lindon, who succeeds Spike Lee.

One of the first international stars to climb the steps will be actor Forest Whitaker (“Ghost dog”, “The Last King of Scotland”). An honorary Palme d’Or will be awarded to him at the opening ceremony on Tuesday evening, presented by actress Virginie Efira.

Many other stars will follow: Kristen Stewart, who will climb the steps alongside Léa Seydoux and Viggo Mortensen for the latest David Cronenberg film, the promising Austin Butler and the veteran Tom Hanks, who interpret Elvis and his manager in an event biopic , and of course Tom Cruise, for “Top Gun: Maverick”.

In front of the Grand Hotel, a video of the new opus of Cruise’s adventures as an aviator was already broadcast in a giant pilot’s helmet to promote the film, presented to festival-goers on Wednesday.

On the competition side, 21 films — and 5 female directors — are in the running to succeed “Titane”, the gory and uncompromising Palme d’Or by Frenchwoman Julia Ducournau, the 2nd crowned director in the history of the Festival.

– Posthumous film –

Among the filmmakers expected, David Cronenberg (“Crash”) once again promises to shake the public with “The crimes of the future”, Park Chan-wook (“Old boy”) returns with a sulphurous investigation (“Decision to leave”) , and James Gray presents “Armageddon Time”, with Anthony Hopkins and Anne Hathaway.

Several already crowned filmmakers are in the running, including the Dardenne brothers (“Rosetta”) with “Tori and Lokita”, Ruben Östlund, the most grating of Swedish filmmakers (“The Square”), with “Without filter”, or the Japanese Kore -eda (“A Family Affair”), who this time filmed “Broker” with South Korean “Parasite” star Song Kang-ho. As well as promising young talents, such as Lukas Dhont or Leonor Serraille, both in competition for their second film.

The Festival also promised not to forget Ukraine and last week added to the selection the posthumous film by Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravi?ius, who was killed in early April in Mariupol. His fiancée who accompanied him was able to bring back the images shot there and put them together.

The competition will open on Wednesday with the latest film by Kirill Serebrennikov, who has become a symbol of Russian artists breaking with the regime since he was able to legally reach Europe after the outbreak of war.