×

Cannes: Emmanuelle Bercot’s ‘La Tete haute’ to Open 68th Film Festival (EXCLUSIVE)

French actress-director Emmanuelle Bercot’s “La Tete haute,” starring Catherine Deneuve, has been selected to open the Cannes Film Festival on May 13, Variety has learned from industry sources.

The film, which is being sold by Elle Driver and distributed in France by Wild Bunch, follows the experience of a juvenile delinquent named Malony from ages 6 to 18, with Deneuve playing a judge trying to intervene. It’s Deneuve’s second collaboration with Bercot after “On My Way,” which premiered in competition at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival.

It hasn’t yet been decided whether “La Tete haute” will premiere in or out of competition. The film is co-written by Bercot and Marcia Romano, and also stars Benoit Magimel and Sara Forestier.

Bercot will be the first female director to open the festival since 1987, when Cannes kicked off with Diane Kurys’ “A Man in Love.” Although she began her career as an actress (with credits including “Class Trip,” “A tout de suite” and “Carlos”), Bercot has become better known in recent years as a writer-director. She made her helming debut in 2001 with “Clement,” which premiered at Cannes in Un Certain Regard.

Bercot may be doing double duty at this year’s Cannes: She’s also starring in Maiwenn’s “Mon roi,” a French film widely expected to premiere in the official selection.

Observers close to the festival noted that, after a run of splashy, star-powered opening entries (“Midnight in Paris,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” “The Great Gatsby,” “Grace of Monaco”), festival topper Thierry Fremaux had been looking specifically for a French entry to kick off the festivities, especially in a year when the main competition jury is being presided over by two American directors, Joel and Ethan Coen. The last time a solely French-produced film opened Cannes was in 2005, with Dominik Moll’s “Lemming.”

With the official selection due to be announced this Thursday, April 16, Cannes programmers waited a bit longer than usual to unveil this year’s curtain-raiser, given that “Grace of Monaco” (2014) was announced as the opening-night film in January, while “The Great Gatsby” (2013) and “Moonrise Kingdom” (2012) were both announced in early March. Still, it’s hardly the first time this decision has gone down to the wire: The festival waited until as late as April to announce past opening-night films such as “My Blueberry Nights” (2007) and “Blindness” (2008).

The Cannes Film Festival runs May 13-24.

(Guy Lodge contributed to this report.)

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • The Mandalorian

    'The Mandalorian': Watch the First Trailer for 'Star Wars' Series

    The gunslinging lone warrior — the Mandalorian, as they call him — calls the far reaches of the “Star Wars” galaxy home. Disney dropped the first trailer for the spinoff series during its biennial D23 convention on Friday, finally giving fans a closer look at the franchise’s newest character. “The Mandalorian” creator Jon Favreau, who [...]

  • Lady and the Tramp trailer

    'Lady and the Tramp': Disney's Live-Action Remake Gets First Trailer (Watch)

    Ready your dog-friendly bowl of spaghetti, Disney has debuted the first trailer for its live-action remake of “Lady and the Tramp,” starring Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux. The teaser was released during Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim at the Disney + presentation. In addition to Thompson and Theroux, who play the Lady and Tramp, respectively, [...]

  • Mickey Mouse waves to members of

    Spider-Man, Spicer and Splashy First-Looks: Everything We're Looking For at D23

    As if Disney hasn’t owned enough weekends this year at the box office, the biennial D23 Expo will light up Anaheim, Calif. over the next three days to celebrate the content monolith. From a new Netflix-competing streaming platform to scores of movie and series reveals — along with a few hot controversies to confront — [...]

  • Angel Has Fallen

    'Angel Has Fallen' to Dominate Modest Box Office With $20 Million Weekend

    Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman are leading the way at the North American box office with “Angel Has Fallen” on its way to about $20 million, early estimates showed Friday. Should forecasts hold, “Angel Has Fallen” will take in about double the next title, Universal’s second weekend of raunchy comedy “Good Boys” with about $10 [...]

  • Aracne

    Sanfic Standout ‘Aracne’ Filmmakers Discuss the State of Chilean Genre

    A key project at this year’s Santiago Lab, the Santiago Intl. Film Festival industry forum for promising Latin American projects, Florencia Dupont’s “Aracne” is representative of a push from the next generation of Chilean filmmakers into genre cinema and the themes it can explore. “Aracne” turns on Beatriz, a young journalist at a small Santiago [...]

  • Eduardo Machuca

    Chile’s Eduardo Machuca Unveils Machuca Films Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

    SANTIAGO, Chile – Eduardo Machuca, the former film co-ordinator of Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has launched his own production company, Machuca Films. “After 25 years at the ministry, I felt I needed to tap my creative side,” said Machuca, who is also tying the knot on Saturday (Aug. 24) with a former Sanfic staffer, [...]

  • Robert Downey Jr. Disney Legends Ceremony,

    Robert Downey Jr. Reveals He Was Busted for Smoking Pot at Disneyland

    Robert Downey Jr. celebrated his Disney Legend status by sharing the endearing tale of how the first time he visited Disneyland, he was arrested. The Iron Man actor was being honored in Anaheim at Disney’s biennial D23 convention. After a brief introduction by Disney chief executive officer Bob Iger, Downey felt he had to come [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content