Cannes Festival Adds ‘Black Flies’ With Sean Penn, Catherine Corsini’s ‘Le Retour’ to 2023’s Official Selection

Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire’s “Black Flies,” starring Sean Penn, and Catherine Corsini’s “Le retour” have been added to the competition lineup of the upcoming 76th Cannes Film Festival. As many as 13 movies have been peppered across several sections, including the Competition, Special Screenings, Un Certain Regard and Out of Competition.

Robert Rodriguez’s “Hypnotic” and Kim Tae-gon’s “Project Silence” are joining the Midnight Screening roster, while Amat Escalante’s Mexican drama “Perdidos en la Noche” and Argentinian helmer Lisandro Alonso’s thriller “Eureka,” starring Viggo Mortensen and José María Yazpik, will bow in Cannes Premiere, a non-competitive section launched in 2021. (Alonso previously won Cannes’ Un Certain Regard with his 2014 movie “Jauja.”) Also slated for Cannes Premiere is Valerie Donzelli’s drama “L’Amour et les forets.”

This year, Un Certain Regard has expanded by two titles, including Chinese director Wei Shujun’s “Only the River Flows” and French director Alex Lutz’s “Une nuit.” Frédéric Tellier’s “L’Abbé Pierre — une vie de combats” will premiere out of competition, and three more films were added to the Special Screenings section: “Little Girl Blue” from Mona Achache, “Le theoreme de Marguerite” by Anna Novion and French-Afghan helmer Sahra Mani’s “Bread and Roses.”

Taking Corsini’s movie into account, Cannes will boast a record seven films from female directors in competition. Other female directors vying for the Palme d’Or are Alice Rohrwacher’s “La Chimera,” Jessica Hausner’s “Club Zero,” Catherine Breillat’s “Last Summer,” Justine Triet’s “Anatomie d’une chute,” Ramata-Toulaye Sy’s “Banel et Adama” and Kaouther Ben Hania’s documentary’s “Four Daughters.”

Corsini’s “Le retour” was supposed to be announced as part of the festival’s slate on April 13, but Cannes’ administration board decided to put it on hold after hearing of several alleged inappropriate incidents during the filming of the movie.

Corsini was allegedly accused of harassment by crew members, while other members of the crew had allegedly been accused of inappropriate acts against two female actors, according to French reports. Another issue arose, according to the National Film Center (CNC), after a scene of a sexual nature involving the 15-year-old female protagonist of the film was added to the script and allegedly filmed without the consent of the Commission des Enfants du Spectacle, a government-backed organization. In reaction to this specific incident, the CNC said it “has decided, considering the failure in respecting the social obligations of the production, to withdraw its subsidies” for the film.

As previously announced, this year’s festival is set to kick off on May 16 with Maïwenn’s period movie “Jeanne du Barry” starring Johnny Depp. The lineup includes many anticipated U.S. movies, notably Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” and “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” and will wrap with Pixar’s “Elemental.”