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On the eve of the Palme d’Or ceremony, scheduled for May 25, 2024, at 6:45 p.m., the Cannes Film Festival is brimming with captivating events.

This Friday, the Palme Dog will crown the most remarkable dog at the Cannes Film Festival, a kitsch prize that has become an event in its own right, especially after Messi, the four-legged star of Anatomie d’une chute, won the Palme d’Or last year.

This year, two favored dogs stand out in two feature films from the “Un Certain Regard” category: Kodi, a Griffon mix starring in Le procès du chien by Franco-Swiss director Laetitia Dosch, and Xin, a Jack Russell mix featured in Black Dog by Chinese director Guan Hu. This year, Messi has returned to the Cannes red carpet. He faced competition on Cannes steps from Pilaf, the Chihuahua of American star Demi Moore, a favorite of photographers.

Since the creation of this prize in 2001, its media coverage has been growing. This trophy was launched 23 years ago by British film critic Toby Rose. This year, the jury includes two film critics from UK publications, Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian) and Tim Robey (The Telegraph).

Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof is in Cannes to defend his film competing for the Palme d’Or, after successfully fleeing the Tehran regime clandestinely. “When I crossed the border, I turned around, took one last look at my homeland, and said to myself, ‘I will return,'” the director said during a television broadcast.

A prominent voice in Iranian cinema who has continuously defied censorship, Mohammad Rasoulof has not set foot in Cannes since 2017, when he received “Un Certain Regard” prize for Un Homme intègre, a film about corruption. In 2020, he was prevented from leaving Iran to receive his Ours d’Or in Berlin for Le Diable n’existe pas, a film about the death penalty. His new film, Les Graines du figuier sauvage, promises to disturb the authorities once again, telling the story of an investigating judge descending into paranoia amidst massive protests erupting in Tehran. By welcoming him in person, the 77th Festival sends a signal “to all artists around the world who suffer violence and reprisals for expressing their art,” emphasized the festival’s general delegate, Thierry Frémaux, to AFP. “I had to choose between prison and leaving Iran. With a heavy heart, I chose exile,” Rasoulof explained.

The documentary Nasty, screened at the 77th Cannes Film Festival, revisits the career of Romanian tennis player Ilie Năstase, as brilliant as he was uncontrollable. He mastered the trajectory of his shots but not his behavior. Winner of the US Open in 1972 and the first world No.1 in tennis history in 1973, the 77-year-old player forged his legend through his outbursts. Like when he sabotaged a match he was losing to American John McEnroe at the 1979 US Open with provocations and insults.

Hosted by Camille Cotin, the closing ceremony during which the Palme d’Or will be awarded will not take place at 8:30 p.m., but will be exceptionally broadcast at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday, May 25, and will last one hour and eleven minutes. This change is due to the French Cup final: the public channel will broadcast the football match between Olympique Lyonnais and PSG at 8:40 PM.