The Cannes Film Festival returns in July with a rich official selection competing for the Palme d’Or after the Covid pandemic robbed the world’s leading film festival of its 2020 edition.
Here are the 24 films competing from July 5 to 17 for the prestigious prize awarded by a jury headed by US director Spike Lee.
– ‘Annette’ by Leos Carax, France –
Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard star as a glamourous celebrity couple whose lives are upended by the arrival of their first child.
The first film in a decade from auteur Carax is also the first in English from the eccentric French mind behind arthouse favourites “Holy Motors” and “The Lovers on the Bridge.”
– ‘The French Dispatch’ by Wes Anderson, US –
Film fans can never get enough of Wes Anderson, and his latest quirky bauble can be counted on for more obsessively curated sets and shots, 20th-century nostalgia, family disharmony and Bill Murray.
Plus yet more megastars in Anderson’s menagerie in the form of Timothee Chalamet and Benicio Del Toro, and the set-up — foreign correspondents in France — likely to play well with critics at Cannes.
– ‘Benedetta’ by Paul Verhoeven, Netherlands –
From “Robocop” to “Basic Instinct” to “Starship Troopers,” Dutch director Paul Verhoeven has always walked a fine line between gaudy schlock and cinematic genius. His latest tale recounts a lesbian affair in a 17th-century convent, starring Virginie Efira and Charlotte Rampling.
– ‘A Hero’ by Asghar Farhadi, Iran –
The new film shot in Iran and in the Farsi language by the Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, known for “The Salesman,” which won best Cannes screenplay in 2012, and “A Separation” — both of which also won Oscars.
– ‘Tout s’est Bien Passe’ (Everything Went Well) by Francois Ozon, France –
Featuring French stars Sophie Marceau and Charlotte Rampling, the film by Francois Ozon tells the story of a woman asked by her father to help him die.
– ‘Tre Piani’ (Three Floors) by Nanni Moretti, Italy –
Exactly 20 years after winning the Palme d’Or with “The Son’s Room” and nine years after heading the main jury at Cannes, Moretti is back with his first-ever adaptation of a novel, which looks at three families who live on three different floors, in three chapters.
– ‘Titane’ by Julia Ducournau, France –
Starring French veteran actor Vincent Lindon, “Titane” is the second feature film after “Grave” by horror film specialist Ducournau, which she reportedly wrote in six weeks between two episodes of France’s Covid-19 lockdowns.
– ‘Red Rocket’ by Sean Baker, US –
The comedy-drama by indie filmmaker Baker features Simon Rex as an over-the-hill porn star who returns to his hometown in Texas, where he is not very welcome.
– ‘Petrov’s Flu’ by Kirill Serebrennikov, Russia –
An alcohol-fuelled stroll by a cartoonist and his friend in post-Soviet Russia brings back childhood memories that get mixed up with the present.
– ‘Par un Demi Clair Matin’ (France) by Bruno Dumont, France –
Adapted from a work by French writer Charles Peguy, who was killed in battle in the first months of World War I, the film charts the fall from grace of a star TV reporter whose life crisis is shown against a backdrop of contemporary France.
– ‘Nitram’ by Justin Kurzel, Australia –
After his 2015 smash hit adaptation of “Macbeth” starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, and his take on the Assassin’s Creed video game in 2016, the Australian director looks at events leading up to the Port Arthur mass shooting in Tasmania, in which 35 died and led to reforms of Australian gun control laws.
– ‘Memoria’ by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand –
Tilda Swinton stars as a Scottish horticulturist in the Thai director’s first film since “Cemetery of Splendour,” and 11 years after he won the Palme d’Or for the dreamlike “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.” Shot in Colombia, “Memoria” explores the relationship of Swinton’s character with a French archaeologist and a musician as she tries to understand sudden strange sounds in the night.
– ‘Lingui’ by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, Chad –
Set in the outskirts of N’Djamena, “Lingui” tells the story of an adolescent whose unwanted pregnancy puts her in conflict with her country’s traditions and the law. Haroun lives in France, but most of his films have been produced in his birth country, which he left during unrest there in the 1980s.
– ‘Les Olympiades’ (Paris 13th District) by Jacques Audiard, France –
A film by the veteran Palme d’Or winner, based on three graphic novels by US author Adrian Tomine and set in a mixed neighbourhood of the French capital, about three young women and a young man who are sometimes friends, sometimes lovers, and sometimes both.
– ‘Les Intranquilles’ (The Restless) by Joachim Lafosse, Belgium –
Starring Leila Bekhti and Damien Bonnard, the film tells the story of a couple under stress due to Bonnard’s character suffering from bipolar disorder, and who do their best to protect their child.
– ‘La Fracture’ by Catherine Corsini, France –
Two decades after her film “Replay” entered the Cannes competition, Corsini returns with a drama about a couple stuck in a hospital that comes under siege during a violent Paris demonstration inspired by the Yellow Vests movement.
– ‘The Worst Person in the World’ by Joachim Trier, Norway –
A film about love and its complications, Trier’s “Worst Person” — the third of Trier’s Oslo trilogy — looks at Julie, who turns 30 and is looking for answers in a new relationship only to realise that the much-hoped-for new perspective on life is not really happening.
– ‘Compartment No 6’ by Juho Kuosmanen, Finland –
Two strangers — a Finnish woman and a gloomy Russian — share a compartment of a train winding its way up to the Arctic circle in a road movie set against the backdrop of the 1980s Soviet Union, by the Finnish director who claims that “the only way to be free is to accept the absurdity of life”.
– ‘Casablanca Beats’ by Nabil Ayouch, France-Morocco –
Ayouch rocks the suburbs of Casablanca with a film about young people seeking an outlet through hip hop in a neighbourhood that in 2003 became a target of Al Qaeda suicide attacks on hotels, restaurants and community centres.
– ‘Ahed’s Knee’ by Nadav Lapid, Israel –
After winning prizes in Locarno, Cannes and Berlin for his first three films, Lapid explores two battles waged by an Israeli director, one against the death of freedom and one against the death of a mother, both of which are doomed to failure.
– ‘Drive My Car’ by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Japan –
An aging, widowed actor looking for a chauffeur ends up hiring a 20-year-old woman. Things go wrong between them at first, but then a special relationship emerges.
– ‘Bergman Island’ by Mia Hansen-Love, France –
An American film-making couple spends a summer on Faro, the windswept Baltic island that inspired Ingmar Bergman. Reality and fiction start to blur as the weeks pass.
– ‘The Story of My Wife’ by Ildiko Enyedi, Hungary –
Featuring Lea Seydoux, who starred in “Blue Is The Warmest Colour” that won Cannes in 2013, Enyedi’s film kicks off with a bet by a sea captain that he’ll marry the first woman who walks in. The film is based on a novel by Milan Fust.
– ‘Flag Day’ by Sean Penn, US –
Star actor Penn again steps behind the camera — as well as in front of it — for “Flag Day,” also starring his daughter Dylan Penn as well as Josh Brolin, in which a father lives a double life as a con man, a fact his daughter, an investigative journalist, tries to come to terms with.