"The dark screen of my sleepless nights…" The stage of the Grand Théâtre Lumière opens to this refrain from "Le Cinéma" by Claude Nougaro, as actors Louane and Benjamin Biolay, hand in hand, mark the rhythm of the steps of the famous flamenco dancer Bianca Li, seen in Pedro Almodóvar's film Kika.
Majestic, Monica Belluci appears in a midnight blue dress: "Signore, signori. Ladies and gentlemen. Mesdames, messieurs. We might think of Cannes as the fruit of a very sane kind of madness!"
She, who has taken part in the Festival de Cannes so many times, makes a point of highlighting the role of women:
"Here, every voice can be heard. Cinema does not have a gender, or a flag, or a border. This year, twelve films were made by women and the president of the Jury is a man who loves women."
And the Italian wishes all festival-goers: "Enjoy the light!"
It is customary to present an anthology of the works of the president of the Feature Film Jury. The anthology of Pedro Almodóvar takes us back to his most memorable and greatest films: the emotion of Volver, the madness of Amants passagers (I'm so excited), the mythic Piensa en mi from Todo sobre mi madre (All About My Mother).
Resistiré (I Will Resist!), the theme song of Attache-moi! (Tie me up, Tie me down!!), accompanies the president's entrance on stage. "I promise to dedicate my body and soul to this endeavour." He also promises to be "subjective, passionate and flexible". End of speech. To audience applause, Pedro Almodóvar welcomes the jurors: Jessica Chastain, Gabriel Yared, Fan Bingbing, Paolo Sorrentino, Maren Ade, Park Chan-wook, Agnès Jaoui and Will Smith.
The Jury has to choose between the films In Competition, for which trailers are screened for the audience. For the time being, there is a festive atmosphere and Monica Bellucci and Alex Lutz set the tone with their off-beat dancing.
The last word belongs to Lily-Rose Depp and Asghar Farhadi. Two generations but one voice: "I declare the Festival de Cannes open."