Cannes 2023: HBO’s New Series “The Idol” Shocks Audience with Sexual Scenes
HBO’s new TV series “The Idol” made its debut at the Cannes festival and shocked audience with its overtly sexual scenes. The festival, which has drawn Hollywood stars from all over, also saw the premiere of Wes Anderson’s new film “Asteroid City,” packed with celebrity cast.
The Plot of “The Idol”
“The Idol” follows the story of a pop star, played by Lily-Rose Depp, who is struggling to get back on track after a public breakdown. She is surrounded by heartless handlers and eventually meets the manipulative leader of a modern-day cult, played by musician Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye. A leaked revenge porn shot of Depp with semen on her face is seen as a pathway to more fame, while making a mention of reality star Kim Kardashian. The series also takes a significant nod to Britney Spears and the toxic fame that engulfed 90s female pop stars.
The Sexual Scenes and Critic Reviews
The series received a modest five-minute ovation, and while Depp’s performance was praised, most critics were put off by the excessive kink and graphic dirty talk, including two raunchy masturbation scenes and dozens of shots of her breasts. Variety slammed its “tawdry cliches” and said the show “plays like a sordid male fantasy,” with any effort to depict female sexuality in a revolutionary way going “too far.” Deadline said it was “hard to know what to say” about the show, adding one would need to see where it was going to make judgements about the male gaze.
Onset Turmoil and Complex Female Characters
“The Idol” had already been plagued by rumours of onset turmoil and graphic sex scenes before its release. Variety reported that the show needed major re-writes and re-shoots, and switched director midway through, bringing in “Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson. Despite this, “The Idol” adds yet another complex female character to Cannes, which has served up plenty of films exploring the dark side of women and making their stories the focus.
Competition for the Palme D’Or
The Cannes festival is entering its second and final week, and the competition for the main prize, the Palme D’Or, is heating up. Past winners, including Britain’s Ken Loach and Germany’s Wim Wenders, still have movies to come, but early front-runners from the first week include British director Jonathan Glazer’s “The Zone of Interest” and Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore’s “May December.” The festival has also seen major out-of-competition world premieres for “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” and Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon,” which received rave reviews over the weekend.
Johnny Depp’s Cannes Appearance
Lily-Rose’s controversial father, Johnny Depp, made a splash at the festival, appearing as French King Louis XV in the opening film “Jeanne du Barry.”
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