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Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem’s ‘Everybody Knows’ to Open Cannes Film Festival (EXCLUSIVE)

Two-time Oscar-winning filmmaker Asghar Farhadi’s psychological thriller “Everybody Knows,” starring Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Ricardo Darin, is set to open the 71st Cannes Film Festival, Variety has learned.

Everybody Knows” (“Todos Lo Saben”) will mark only the second Spanish-language film to open Cannes, following Pedro Almodovar’s “Bad Education,” which kicked off the festival in 2004. It is also one of the few openers in recent memory not in either English or French.

The festival will likely make an official announcement about the selection of “Everybody Knows” as the opening night film either later Wednesday or in the coming days.

The choice clearly reflects the outlook of Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux, who has aimed in recent years at kicking off the festival with films that bring together a critically acclaimed auteur, including the likes of Wes Anderson and Arnaud Desplechin, with an attractive, glamorous cast.

Iranian director Farhadi has previously fielded two films in competition on the Croisette, “The Salesman” in 2016 and “The Past” in 2013. “Everybody Knows” is his first film in the prestigious opening-night slot. Written by Farhadi, it follows the journey of Laura (played by Cruz), who travels with her family from Buenos Aires to her native village in Spain for a celebration. The family reunion gets disrupted by events that change the course of the characters’ lives.

“Everybody Knows” is produced by Alexandre Mallet-Guy of Paris-based Memento Films Production and Alvaro Longoria of Spanish outfit Morena Films. Memento Films International is handling worldwide sales. The movie will be released by Memento in France on May 9 – the day after its red-carpet premiere in Cannes. UTA Independent Film Group is representing the rights to the sale of the film in North America along with Memento Films International.

The film is the third collaboration between Farhadi and Mallet-Guy after “The Salesman” and “The Past,” which Memento Films produced and distributed in France. “The Salesman” scooped two awards at Cannes – best script for Farhadi and best actor for Shahab Hosseini – before going on to win the Oscar for best foreign-language film. “The Past” earned Berenice Bejo a best actress award at Cannes.

Although he did not have a film in last year’s festival, Farhadi appeared onstage during the opening ceremony, lauding Cannes as “a place where people enthusiastically dialogue with each other about cinema and share memorable moments.”

He shot “Everybody Knows” in Torrelaguna, a small town north of Madrid, with a well-seasoned crew, including Jose-Luis Alcaine, a cinematographer who has worked with Almodovar, Carlos Saura and Bigas Luna; Sonia Grande, the costume designer on Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” and Alejandro Amenabar’s “The Others”; and Hayedeh Safiyari, the editor who worked with Farhadi on “A Separation” and “The Salesman.” The film is entirely in Spanish, a language Farhadi does not speak but which Mallet-Guy said was no impediment.

“He has a wonderful intuition and a talent for listening to the music of words,” Mallet-Guy said during shooting of the film last summer.

Lucky Red, France 3 Cinema, Rai Cinema and Untitled Films AIE co-produced “Everybody Knows,” in association with Memento Films Distribution, Cofinova and Indefilms.

The Cannes Film Festival runs May 8 to 19.

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