Claire Denis, Yorgos Lanthimos and Terrence Malick could be competing for this year’s Palme d’Or.
With the 71st edition of the world’s most prestigious film festival fast approaching, we thought we’d have a go at predicting who will be contending for the Palme d’Or when the festivities get underway a little under two months from now. The official line-up is set to be announced on 12 April, but until then, here’s what we’d like to see at this year’s festival.
Mike Leigh’s retelling of the 1819 Peterloo Massacre, where British forces attacked a peaceful pro-democracy rally in Manchester, looks a shoo-in for a Cannes competition berth, with production having wrapped towards the end of 2017. Timothy Spall picked up the Best Actor gong for Leigh’s 2014 biopic Mr Turner, and we’re tipping Maxine Peake to do the same in the Best Actress category this time around. Adam Woodward
Hot on the Converse-clad heels of his romantic masterpiece, Call Me by Your Name, Luca Guadagnino returns to the fray with his long-mooted retooling of Dario Argento’s seminal 1977 giallo, Suspiria. The original is a neon-hued explosion of ornate styling and sensory overload, making it difficult to see what the purpose would be of this new version. But we’re sure the director has a few tricks up his sleeve, and if not, at least we’ll get to see the likes of Dakota Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Mia Goth and Tilda Swinton up there as attendees of a macabre European ballet school. David Jenkins
It’s been seven years since Terrence Malick last debuted a film in Cannes. The Tree of Life bagged the Palme d’Or in 2011, of course, and given that Malick fave Cate Blanchett is presiding over the Jury this year, Radegund looks a safe horse to back at this point. Set during World War Two, the feted American director’s German-language epic tells the story of Austrian conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter, as played by August Diehl. The film also marks one of Michael Nyqvist’s final screen roles, the Swedish actor having passed away last June. AW
French auteur Claire Denis has a love-hate relationship with Cannes – her films sometimes considered a little too esoteric for the glitzy prestige of the main competition. Though it’s hard to see how festival top dog Thierry Frémaux could hold out on this cerebral sci-fi yarn starring Robert Pattison, Juliet Binoche and (that girl again!) Mia Goth. The log-line involves a team of intrepid explorers drifting towards a black hole and undergoing a series of “sexual experiments”, so one for the competition, but maybe not for the multiplexes. Either way, anticipation is off the grid. DJ
Yorgos Lanthimos looks poised to make a swift return to Cannes following the success of The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer, the latter of which earned Greece’s premier misanthrope the award for Best Screenplay at last year’s festival. He’ll be hoping that nominative determinism prevails in the case of his new one, The Favourite, which is being billed as an acerbic historical drama set in the court of Queen Anne in 18th century England. It stars Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone and Nicholas Hoult. AW
The spurious rumour mill has gone into overdrive with regard to the new film by Brian De Palma. His previous, 2012’s Passion, flew somewhat under the radar despite being taken to the bosom of the hardcore De Palma stans. A wicked whisper suggests that Domino was destined for the Berlinale, but the reaction at an early test screening was reportedly so positive that its course was diverted. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Carice van Houten and Guy Pearce star in a Copenhagen-set crime thriller which looks like it could be the director’s unique take on the “Scandi noir” genre. DJ
The world may be changing at an alarming rate, but thankfully Harmony Korine keeps on trucking. In The Beach Bum, the one-time enfant terrible’s first film since 2012’s Spring Breakers, Matthew McConaughey plays a Miami-based stoner named Moondog who “lives life by his own rules”, according to the official synopsis. Little else is known about the film at the time of writing, but we do know that McConaughey will be joined by Isla Fisher, Jonah Hill, Martin Lawrence, Snoop Dogg and fellow The Paperboy alum Zac Efron. Hot dang. AW
French director Mia Hansen-Løve only makes great movies, and so anticipation for her sixth, Maya, is sky high. The story is said to focus on a depressed war photographer returning to Paris from a stint working in Syria and who eventually finds strange solace in a young Indian girl. Hansen-Løve is known for her rich, detailed, philosophical dramas which tap directly into some of the more melancholic aspects of existence, and here’s hoping this new one offers more of the same. DJ
Since being declared persona non grata at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival following some rather unfortunate comments made during the press conference for his film Melancholia, Lars von Trier has done very little to restore his reputation as one of world cinema’s most vital voices. Accusations levelled against the Danish director in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal certainly haven’t helped his cause, but we’re fully expecting his star-studded serial killer drama to be at this year’s festival. AW
One of the world’s best actors working today, Zhao Tao, is a key player in this new film by her other half, the famed Chinese writer/director Jia Zhangke. As with Jia’s previous film, Mountains May Depart, this one again looks to be an era-spanning romantic melodrama set against a backdrop of crime and deprivation, and will no doubt contain penetrating insights into the current (sorry) state of China and the negative effects of globalisation. According to a Variety report, the film was set to wrap shooting in the Summer of 2018, so if this doesn’t make it for Cannes, look towards the autumn festivals for this one. DJ
A more grounded affair from Alfonso Cuarón, this. Roma sees the visionary director of Gravity return to his storytelling roots for a year-in-the-life drama centred around a middle-class family living in Mexico City circa the 1970s. Remarkably, this is Cuarón’s first Spanish-language effort since 2001’s Y Tu Mamá También. Newcomers Daniela Demesa and Marco Graf appear alongside established Mexican TV star Marina de Tavira. AW
The word on Loro, the new feature by Italian director Paolo Sorrentino, is that it’s too big for a single sitting and that it may be split into two parts. It sees the Oscar-winner returning to the broad subject area of his excellent 2008 film Il Divo, a collage-like biopic of domineering Italian premiere Giulio Andreotti, Loro takes as its subject the controversial figure of Silvio Berlusconi, the media mogul-cum-politico with a nice sideline in bunga-bunga parties. As with Il Divo, the central role will be played by the charismatic and chameleonic actor, Toni Servillo. DJ
Joaquin Phoenix and John C Reilly play assassin siblings named Sisters in this Oregon oater from the maker of A Prophet, Rust and Bone and Palme d’Or winner Dheepan. For his first English-language feature, Jacques Audiard has assembled a muscular cast that also includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Rutger Hauer and Riz Ahmed. Based on Canadian author Patrick DeWitt’s 2011 novel of the same name, The Sister Brothers has all the right ingredients for something very special. AW
There are odd occasions where supremely whackadoo films slip through the net and into the main competition, and 2012’s Post Tenebras Lux, by Mexican director Carlos Reygadas, marked such a moment. He returns with the cryptically-titled Where Life is Born, set among rural bullfighting ranches and seeing the director himself assume the role of a cuckolded husband whose wife has fallen in love with another man. Don’t be fooled by the humble log-line – expect ecstatic imagery, transcendent emotion and wildly personal flights of visual fancy. DJ
French filmmaker Olivier Assayas has earned high praise in recent years at Cannes for his pair of meditative English-language dramas Clouds of Sils Maria and Personal Shopper, both of which premiered in competition. Sadly there’s no sign of Kristen Stewart in his latest, Non Fiction, a comedy set in the Parisian publishing world. The film does, however, feature Cannes royalty in the still mightier form of Juliette Binoche. The festival’s most coveted award has thus far eluded Assayas, but with Binoche on board that could be about to change. AW
On occasion, the Cannes competition can throw a startling curveball by elevating a new name into its glorious pantheon. Son of Saul, by Hungarian helmer László Nemes, was such a spectacle, and now that the director has earned his spurs, it’s likely that he’ll have a lifetime pass to this extremely exclusive club. Sunset follows a young woman’s journey through pre-World War One Budapest as she searches for her estranged brother, and stars the actress Juli Jakab, who has a small role in Son of Saul. DJ
After delivering one of the most impressive debut features in recent memory, all eyes are on Australian writer/director Jennifer Kent to see if The Nightingale can hit the same giddy high notes as 2014’s The Babadook. A revenge drama set in 1820s Tasmania, the film follows a young Irish convict as she traverses the vast, desolate interior of the Australian Outback with an Aboriginal male tracker in tow. AW
When it came to Sicario, Denis Villeneuve’s spiky drug war saga from 2015, you were either on Team Emily Blunt or Team Benicio del Toro. This sequel, directed by Stefano Sollima, casts Blunt aside in favour of catching up with del Toro’s character, as he delves deeper into the squalid and violent world of the Mexican cartels. From the first trailer, this looks to be more standard issue crime thriller, but there’s an ace moment where del Toro empties an entire clip into a man by waggling his finger on the trigger. DJ
Even at this early stage, it seems a safe bet that Asghar Farhadi will walk away from this year’s Cannes with some silverware – his previous two films, 2013’s The Past and 2016’s The Salesman, both received awards at the festival. That being said, the Iranian writer/director looks to have served up something a bit different with his eighth feature. Okay, so Everybody Knows is another relationship drama… but it stars Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem as a couple whose marriage is tested by secrets that resurface while on a trip to Madrid. Colour us intrigued. AW
The prospect of Texas’s favourite son, Richard Linklater, teaming up with Cate Blanchett, is a tasty one indeed, and it’s not long now until Where’d You Go, Bernadette is released to the world – possibly/hopefully on the French Riviera. The film is an adaptation of Maria Semple’s 2012 comedy novel of the same name, and chronicles the life of an agoraphobic architect who goes missing ahead of a family trip to Antartica. This looks like something a little different from Linklater, and it will be his first literary adaptation since 2008’s Me and Orson Welles. DJ
There are two key takeaways from the first trailer for David Robert Mitchell’s Under the Silver Lake: 1) the director has levelled up to the big leagues for his eagerly anticipated follow-up to It Follows; and 2) A sleepy-eyed Andrew Garfield looks like he’s having an absolute ball as a man who sets himself the task of scouring the LA counter-culture circuit for his missing neighbour. This actually looks like it could be far too much fun to makes its way into the hallowed halls of the Cannes competition, but you never know? DJ
Don’t count on Embrace of the Serpent director Ciro Guerra graduating from the Directors’ Fortnight strand to the main competition just yet. Do expect Birds of Passage to feature in some capacity though – the Cannes programmers tend to slot more experimental fare into the festival’s various sidebars. Co-directed by actress Cristina Gallego, Birds of Passage takes place in 1970s Colombia – specifically in and around the Guajira desert – and concerns an indigenous family whose fate and fortunes are transformed by the region’s booming marijuana trade. AW
If Cannes has a problem, it’s that the main competition consistently features the same faces. And because of production schedules, a lot of the same people return to the fray at roughly the same time. And so it is with Turkey’s Nuri Bilge Ceylan, who returns to defend his crown having scooped the Palme d’Or in 2014 for his brooding, theatrical epic, Winter Sleep. The filmmaker’s interest in the anxieties of artists is at the fore in his new one, The Wild Pear, said to be about an author who returns to his hometown in order to scrape together the cash to get his latest tome published. DJ
Pawel Pawlikowski dominated the awards circuit in 2015 with Ida, his rueful tale of a Polish nun retracing her family roots. We’re very excited to see his follow-up, Cold War, which takes that ear of vague political tumult as its backdrop to tell a story about mis-matched lovers who appear caught in the crossfire of history. DJ
This one may well have been shifted to the ‘maybe’ pile in light of Terry Gilliam’s recent comments denouncing the #MeToo movement. We won’t be complaining should his decades-in-the-planning passion project be denied the honour of opening at a major festival – yet there remains a huge amount of interest around this Adam Driver-fronted time travel saga. Time well tell whether it has been worth the long wait. AW
For more on this year’s Cannes Film Festival head to festival-cannes.com
Published 22 Mar 2018
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