How the 2024 Cannes Film Festival played

How the 2024 Cannes Film Festival played

How did the seventy-seventh edition of the Cannes Film Festival sound? This round of films has established a great nostalgia for 90s dance, which has become the tool for recreating nostalgic atmospheres in films set in the last decade of the last century, exactly as happened for the dance music of the previous decade. At the same time, EDM, trap and pounding rap punctuate the films they try to tell the world (musical and emotional) of generation Z.

Italian music continues to make its appearance even in films that are not Italian, while an international pop star seems to have already placed his piece with which he will attempt to compete for the Oscars in 2025.

here are the musical moments who helped directors give us great moments of cinema and which will remain etched in the memory of the 2024 Cannes Film Festival.

Dance to tell the past, dance to interpret the present

The dancein its thousand derivations and contaminations, it was the absolute protagonist of the 2024 Cannes Film Festival. No other genre has appeared so frequently in the films presented in competition, both in those set in specific decades of the past and in those that tell the story of the contemporary.

It's not hard to understand why. Dance is catchy and danceable by definition, it lends itself very well as an “easy” sound carpet for rhythmic and energetic scenes. It is less demanding to harmonize with the images and dialogues of more “important” pop, rock or operatic pieces on a sound level. Also, when expressed in his most memorable commercial catchphrases (exactly as happened in this Cannes), allows the instant sound characterization of a film set in the past.

In “The Apprentice”, a film set in the 70s that tells the rise of a young Donald Trump, the cult disco songs “I'm your boogie man” by KC and the Sunshine Band and “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie” by the vocal duo Baccara, help recreate the glittering and opulent atmosphere of New York at the time.

From the 70s boogie we skip the 80s (whose popularity is a bit in decline), to arrive at the 90s dance. Cinematic nostalgia is colonizing this period, which has become the new 80s. It also happens in auteur cinema. China's Jia Zhangke fires at full volume “Butterfly” by Swedish bubblegum dance duo in a Chinese nightclub. The protagonist of the film engages in a game of glances with the man she will love for her whole life to the tune of the song. He will then run away and she will chase him, singing local hits at karaoke, continuing to dance and search for him for several decades.

It's the same plot as the poignant “Grand Tour” by the Portuguese Miguel Gomes. As the title suggests, we explore all of Asia, on the trail of a future husband who is perhaps also a spy for the British Empire. In theory we are in 1914, but the space-time continuum is so porous that in the jungle you can hear the chirps of cell phones and the notes of local dance hits from the end of the century. The film ends with a blow to the heart, to the tune of “Beyond the Sea” sung by Bobby Darin. There is also a Malay gentleman singing “My Way” by Frank Sinatra in a public karaoke, then he gets emotional and sits back at his table, drinking a beer.

It's set in the 90s too “L'Amour Ouf”, very tacky criminal and love epic by the Frenchman Gilles Lellouche in which François Civil and Adèle Exarchopoulos are lovers who chase each other for decades, incapable of staying apart but also of not hurting each other. It starts with a mixtape on cassette in which he records them “Nothing Compares to U” sung by Chirs Cornell. Years later, her husband will understand that his partner loves someone else by watching her listen to cassette tapes on an old walkman. In the disco, the protagonist on the verge of tears dances and throws out desperation to the tune of “Missing (I Miss You Like the Deserts Miss the Rain)”, a sad dance by No Mercy.

Emma Stone also dances to the tune of “Brand New Bitch” by COBRAH in Lanthimos' new film, which opens using “Sweet Dreams” to pace “Kinds of Kindness.” A very nice use of music and our familiarity with the rhythms of certain immortal hits, but it's a clever operation that works and makes your head move in time.

The musical present is made of mixtapes, wireless speakers and EDM

The present, musical and otherwise, is told by the film Palma d'Or “Anora” by Sean Baker, filled with club music: after all, the protagonist is a stripper and sex worker who works in a nightclub in New York also frequented by Russian oligarchs. It is dance that blends with trap and EDM that punctuates this soundtrack, which also tells the story of the new way in which young people experience music. No more mixtapes. Anora, the protagonist, complains because the DJ at the club where she works treated her badly after her asked him to put on his playlist and play it. It's a world of

wireless speaker that of Anora and her friends, where to do a sexy striptease you take out your cell phone, start your favorite song and the first sexy gesture of the dance is to place the speaker on the table in the private room, in front of the customer.

New music also plays in the musical “Emilia Pérez”the film by Jacques Audiard that probably will ferry Selena Gomez (in the photo) to her first Oscar nomination. Starring in the French director's incredible film, spoken in Spanish and set in the world of Mexican drug trafficking cartels, Gomez sings a sensual song in a karaoke, complete with superimposed subtitle, if you want to try your hand at it. It's called “El Camino” and we will definitely hear about it again, but also watch out for excellent performances by Zoe Saldana in the musical numbers of the film, which won many awards at Cannes, including the one for the soundtrack.

From the real pop stars who have reinvented themselves to the fictitious ones, how can we not mention Francis Ford Coppola's Dysnean Vestal Virgin? A little Miley Cyrus, a little Britney Spears: I've already told you about it in the dedicated in-depth article.

Cocciante, Gino Paoli: Italian music plays in Cannes thanks to Sorrentino

There was no shortage of Italian music, in Italian and non-Italian films. We start from highly sought after musical choices by Paolo Sorrentino, who for his “Parthenope” fuses the pieces of the Australian trumpeter musician Nadje Noordhuis (“I've wanted to use them all my life, and this seemed like the right film”) to music by Gino Paoli and Riccardo Cocciante. “It was all already planned” sounds in the two main scenes of the film and expresses all the melancholy for the protagonist's lost youth.

In “Marcello Mio” by the French Christophe Honoré Chiara Mastroianni faces her family's legendary past by disguising herself as her father Marcello. In the film we see her participate in a Rai program re-enacting a famous clip from Studio Uno in which the actor sang in 1965 “If you cry, if you laugh” accompanied by a dog. Also watch out for a nice musical number starring Catherine Deneuve.

Also surprising is the presence of “The Passacaglia of Life (Homo fugit velut umbra)”, religious song from 1657, which appears in a coming of age like Wild Diamond.

The most dazzling musical moment, however, is that of “Bird” by Andrea Arnold. At the end of the film an extraordinary Barry Kheoghan covered in insect tattoos, a suburban slut from the heart of gold, sings a version as out of tune as it is sweet of “The Universal” by Blur to his new bride. He is an imperfect dad but truly fond of his children, who falls in love with Coldplay's “daddy music” by listening to “Yellow” on repeat to try to convince a frog to secrete a hallucinogenic substance.

The moment that draws an ovation in the room however, it is a wink to the film that made him a star. At one point Kheoghan is talking to his friends about which song she could sing at her wedding and exclaims “There are! I'm going to sing 'Murder on the Dancefloor'.” It is impossible not to grasp the reference to the ending of “Saltburn”, where the interpreter danced naked around an English mansion to the tune of Sophie Ellis-Bextor's hit, whose production experienced a second youth after being discovered by generation Z thanks to the movie.