The coveted spot of the opening film for the 69th Annual Cannes Film Festival has been chosen. Previous years have seen major works such as Wes Anderson‘s miraculous Moonrise Kingdom, Peter Docter‘s Up, and Pedro Almodovar‘s brilliant Bad Education kick things off, and this year will see Woody Allen‘s latest, Cafe Society, getting the festival going on May 11th.
This will be the second time this decade that an Allen movie started the beloved festival, following 2011’s wonderful Midnight in Paris. By and large, however, the opening slot does not fall to a particularly good film, with those aforementioned picks being the best of the last ten years or so. My Blueberry Nights and Lemming are interesting and all, but films like The Da Vinci Code, Blindness, Grace of Monaco, The Great Gatsby, and Ridley Scott‘s unbearable Robin Hood have not made a great name for the opener.
Some might assume that the same will go for Cafe Society, as Allen has garnered less and less critical support for his late films, but I would actually argue the opposite. With a very few exceptions, the last 10 or so films that Allen has made have been just as insightful, well-made, and entertaining as 1980s and 90s material. His last film, Irrational Man, is one of his best films to date, in fact, and works as varied as Cassandra’s Dream, Blue Jasmine, To Rome with Love, Vicky Christina Barcelona, and the aforementioned Midnight in Paris have shed light on yet unexplored sides of Allen as a writer and a visual artist. Sure, Scoop and Whatever Works are not particularly memorable in any real way, but with the likes of Jesse Eisenberg, Steve Carrell, and Kristen Stewart heading up Cafe Society, there’s every reason to believe that this one will end up be in line with Allen’s more reasonant works, and one of the rare Cannes openers worth showing up for.