There have been several additions to the Cannes line-up since Thierry Frémaux made his initial announcement on April 14th. Among them, a few titles from the MENA were added to Un Certain Regard, the opening film by French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius changed titles from Z (comme Z) to Coupez! (Final Cut) in solidarity with Ukraine... And Father & soldier by Mathieu Vadepied, starring Omar Sy, Alassane Diong and Jonas Bloquet has been set to open Un Certain Regard.
Just before the weekend, another two titles were added to the selection, with Rodrigo Sorogoyen's French/Spanish co-production As Bestas included in the Cannes Première and the Special Screening addition of French documentary Salam, co-directed by Mélanie "Diam’s" Georgiades, Houda Benyamina and Anne Cissé. Benyamina is the French-Moroccan filmmaker who won both the Cannes Film Festival Camera d'Or for first film, and the César Award for Best First Feature Film in 2016 for her film Divines.
Salam unveils, pardon the pun, the true story of Diam's who, at the height of her fame as a rapper in 2008, converted to Islam, after years of battling depression. In a 2019 interview with Arab News, Georgiades admitted: "It was a revelation. I became intimately convinced that God existed. The more I was reading, the more convinced I became. Up until then, I believed in one God, but I was Christian in my heart, or rather, did not know exactly what I was, except sad."
Diam's now wears a hijab and a jilbab, a kind of chador.
Born in the Greek Cypriot town of Nicosia, Georgiades spent her youth in the Parisian suburb of Orsay. She is one of a small handful of women who was able to infiltrate the male-dominated world of French hip-hop, a so-called "rappeuse." Diam's enjoyed significant commercial and critical success culminating with 2003's award-winning Brut de Femme. Her nickname "Diam's" comes from a dictionary entry defining diamonds, which Georgiades admires for both their opulence and their impenetrability.
Her album S.O.S. from which the track Peter Pan is sourced, came out in 2009, after her conversion to Islam and in the video, above, she is seen wearing modest fashions complete with a head covering.
For the full Festival de Cannes lineup and other information for attending the festival, which runs from May 17-28, check out their website.