German premieres in Cannes
A young woman from Hamburg makes her debut alongside Johnny Depp. Iris Knobloch is the festival’s first female president.
For 19-year-old Pauline Pollmann, a dream will be coming true at the Cannes International Film Festival: She plays French Queen Marie Antoinette in “Jeanne du Barry” alongside superstar Johnny Depp. This lavish historical drama by award-winning French filmmaker Maïwenn will open the 76th International Film Festival in Cannes.
For the upcoming German actress from Hamburg, who has only just left school, Cannes marks the high point of her young career. Pollmann, whose father is a television producer, already attended drama courses and workshops while still at primary school - despite her parents not really wanting her to. It was there that she caught the attention of an agency, she explains. The agency kept offering her minor TV roles that she was given time off school to take. Two years ago, the agency arranged for Pollmann to take part in a video casting for Maïwenn’s film, which was still under wraps at the time. Several castings and intensive language courses in Paris later, Pollmann found out from the director, co-author and female lead that she had landed the part. “I didn’t know what to say. It was really like a fairy-tale,” she recalls.
For the first time in the history of the International Film Festival, a woman is in charge of the festival, and for the first time the president is not a Frenchman: Iris Knobloch from Munich is to run the festival until 2025, according to a decision taken by the board of directors. Knobloch spent some 25 years working in senior positions at WarnerMedia, 15 years of which as president of Warner Bros. France. “As a staunch European, I have always been committed to cinema during the course of my career, both in France and on an international level, and I am delighted to have the chance to do my best to ensure that this global event remains influential,” said Knobloch.
Knobloch and Pollmann are not the only Germans on the Croisette, however: Festival director Thierry Frémaux has expressed his admiration for two German film professionals in this year’s competition. The actor Sandra Hüller is appearing in two films that are vying for the Palme d’Or. “She is a fantastic actor and we are happy to see her back in Cannes,” said Frémaux. Hüller is starring in “Zone of Interest”, a film that tells the story of Rudolf Höss, who was the commandant at Auschwitz concentration camp (directed by Jonathan Glazer). In “Anatomie d‘une chute” by the director Justine Triet, Hüller portrays a mother who is suspected of murder.
Festival director Frémaux also has a close relationship with the director Wim Wenders, whose feature film “Perfect Days” will be competing for the Palme d’Or. Wenders will also be presenting “Anselm”, a 3D documentary about the German artist Anselm Kiefer. “Wim Wenders is someone for whom I have great admiration,” said Frémaux. Wender’s documentary will premiere on 17 May and “Perfect Days” on 25 May.
Germany is also represented in the juries. The actor Paula Beer is a member of the jury for the section “Un Certain Regard”. “What I am most looking forward to is watching this special selection of 17 films and discussing them with my colleagues,” the 28-year-old told the dpa. At the Venice Film Festival in 2016, Beer won the award for best young performer for her role in the film “Frantz”, and in 2020 picked up the Silver Bear in Berlin and the European Film Award for her performance in “Undine”. (with dpa)