Screen can exclusively reveal the first English-language trailer for Claude Lelouch’s The Best Years Of A Life ahead of its Out of Competition premiere at Cannes this evening (May 18).

The film reunites Lelouch with legendary actors Anouk Aimée and Jean-Louis Trintignant in the follow-up to his Palme d’Or, Academy Award, Golden Globe-winning 1966 romantic drama A Man And A Woman.

Speaking to Screen in Cannes ahead of Saturday’s premiere, Lelouch revealed it had been a challenge to convince Aimée and Trintignant, who are both now in their late 80s, to come on board the project.

“It was very complicated because Jean-Louis is a bit tired. Anouk is very complicated. I’m the only who is relatively simply,” said 81-year-old Lelouch with a laugh.

“I managed to convince them with the fact that it’s the first time in the history of cinema that a director has reunited with his actors 53 years later,” said Lelouch.

“We shot the film very quickly in just 10 days to be able to keep it instinctive and spontaneous. I was very scared, we were all a bit scared. We said if we don’t like it, we won’t release it. and that’s what convinced them. When they finally saw the film, they were overjoyed with what we had achieved.”

Quizzed on whether it had been difficult to look back at their younger selves some 50 years later, Lelouch said: “Time is stronger than everything. For me, the best years of my life are the ones I’m living now. I am happier today than when I was 20 years old.

“The force of the present is extraordinary. I’ve put a phrase from Victor Hugo at the beginning of the film, The best years of one’s life are the ones we haven’t yet lived, and I believe that.”

“The present is magic. The past and the future are jealous of the present because everything is on its side. The past is like holding a dead person in your arms and the future is such a question mark it scares everyone. The present is simple. It’s like a meal or making love, you do it in the moment, not yesterday or tomorrow.”

Lelouch arrives in Cannes midway through completing his next feature La Vertu De L’Impondérable, a musical comedy taking inspiration from Damien Chazelle’s La La Land

The Best Years Of A Life was produced by the late Sammy Hadida and his brother Victor Hadida at Paris-based Metropolitan Filmexport with Lelouch.

Other Angle Pictures is handling sales on all territories apart from France where Metropolitan Filmexport will release the film theatrically on May 22.