The Cannes Film Festival’s geriatric 2023 line-up risks a slide into irrelevance

When did filmmakers start getting so old? Look through the main programme of this month’s Cannes Film Festival and you will find new work from all over the world by directors so venerable that they make US politicians Joe Biden and Donald Trump look youthful by comparison.

Cinema used to be regarded as a young person’s medium, but Cannes director Thierry Fremaux has filled this year’s event with movies from silver-haired figures who wouldn’t look out of place playing shuffleboard in a remake of Ron Howard’s OAP comedy, Cocoon. (1985). In paying such extravagant homage to these older directors, he risks sapping the energy from the world’s biggest and most prestigious festival.

The revered Martin Scorsese, who is back at the festival with Killers of the Flower Moon, has just hit 80. The German director Wim Wenders, who has two new films in the festival, is 77. He was one of the faces of New German Cinema, but that was back in the 1970s. The UK’s Ken Loach, who is presenting his new film The Old Oak, the title seems strangely apt, is 87 next month.

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