It has been announced that the French environmental documentary Ice and the Sky, from Oscar-winning filmmaker Luc Jacquet, has been selected to close the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, as officially confirmed by festival organizers. The documentary focuses on the scientific career of 82-year-old glaciologist Claude Lorius. As far back as 1957, Lorius began studying the Antarctic and was one of the first to raise concerns about global warning. The feature, made with Lorius’s participation, is a reflection of his work and his continued hope for our planet. Jacquet is best known for directing the 2005 documentary smash March of the Penguins.
The film will screen out of competition on May 24, following the awards presentation. “Showing this film in the world’s largest film festival is contributing to this huge challenge facing humanity as quickly as possible to secure its future and the future of the planet,” Jacquet said in a statement. Jacquet’s filmography is certainly a testament to the filmmaker’s passion for the environment—aside from March (which won an Academy Award and is the second highest-grossing documentary of all time in North America), the French filmmaker has made such eco-friendly works as Once Upon a Forest (2013) and The Fox and the Child (2005).
Cannes sometimes receives criticism for the lack of non-fiction films represented at the prestigious film festival. No documentaries were selected to play in competition this year, which is somewhat par for the course. To date, only two non-fiction films have won the Palme d’Or (the top prize of the festival): Jacques Cousteau and Louis Malle’s The Silent World (1956) and Michael Moore’s incendiary 2004 film Fahrenheit 9/11. The inclusion of Ice and the Sky is especially notable, as in recent years other major festivals (including Sundance, Toronto, Venice, and Tribeca) have premiered handfuls of critically- and commercially-acclaimed docs. The closing night slot may be observed as a way for festival organizers to right a conceived wrong on their end, perhaps in a similar sense as the selection of this year’s opening night title—La Tête Haute—which is the first film directed by a woman (Emmanuelle Bercot) to open the festival in 28 years. The festival is often faced with criticism for the lack of female filmmakers in its program.
The 2015 Cannes Film Festival runs from May 13-24. Ice and the Sky will be distributed in France courtesy of Pathé with Wild Bunch handling international sales. Some of the most anticipated movies making their world premieres at Cannes this year include Todd Haynes’ Carol starring Cate Blanchett, Gus Van Sant’s The Sea of Trees starring Matthew McConaughey, and Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard.