Countdown in Cannes: The film festival will open in a few hours. 21 films are competing for the festival’s main prize this year.

The preparations before the official start of the Cannes Film Festival are largely complete: the red carpet was rolled out in front of the Festival Hall on Tuesday.

Signs were everywhere in the French city that one of the most important film festivals in the world is just around the corner. The walls of shops and streets are lined with film posters, and a large “Top Gun” installation has been set up in front of the Grand Hôtel: a giant aviator’s helmet indicates one of the most anticipated screenings of the festival. On Wednesday evening (May 18), Tom Cruise is scheduled to present “Top Gun: Maverick” on the Croisette – the continuation of the cult strip from 1986.

The British director and actress Rebecca Hall – this year part of the Cannes jury – does not yet see equality between the sexes and minorities in the film industry. “I think we’ve made progress,” said the 40-year-old on Tuesday in Cannes. “But it’s not done yet.” She believes that creating equality is “an ongoing process” – at the film festival in Cannes, but also in the scene as a whole.

Hall is one of nine jury members who select the Palme d’Or, the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Actor Vincent Lindon said of his work as this year’s jury president: The only way to successfully judge the films is to become a “normal viewer”. He wants to rely entirely on the emotions that the films leave behind in him.

The film festival was to open on Tuesday evening with a film by Michel Hazanavicius. “Coupé!” is a comedy set in a disused factory. A low-budget zombie film is to be shot there, which is getting out of hand.

The American Oscar winner Forest Whitaker (60) was also expected on Tuesday. This year he received the Golden Palm of Honour. Whitaker presents the film «For the Sake of Peace», which he produced, in Cannes. It is about people working for peace in South Sudan.