Charles Bramesco


A handful of pre-announcements foretell a robust Cannes slate

A handful of big names — Elvis! George Miller! Tom Cruise! — have been locked in prior to the official selection.

The next few weeks will bring a series of anticipation-goosing announcements from the Cannes Film Festival, its opening night a little under two short months away. We’ll soon get word on which world cinema titan will sit as the President of the Competition Jury, line-ups for the sidebar sections, and the grand unveiling of the official selection for this year’s full slate — though we’ve already gotten some dribs and drabs of news on that front.

The past week or so has brought a handful of pre-announcements for picks that will play on the Croisette this year, foretelling a robust slate in this post-COVID-production-bottleneck era. The public has gotten advance notice on a pair of big-ticket blockbusters likely to open the festivities as well as a couple auteur projects tipped for the main Competition section, compounding excitement as incoming press figure out their flights and lodging.

The opening night Gala slot has historically gone to a title with some star power behind it, putting Baz Luhrmann‘s already-confirmed Elvis biopic (it wasn’t so long ago that the Australian filmmaker set things off in style with his The Great Gatsby adaptation) in comfortable standing. Though festival director Thierry Fremaux has also reached out to the A list in inviting the long-delayed sequel Top Gun: Maverick, bringing Tom Cruise to the south of France. As is often the case with popcorn Hollywood imports, these will most likely screen out of Competition, and be ineligible for awards.

Not so with the new film from George Miller, Three Thousand Years of Longing, which casts Tilda Swinton as a scholar and Idris Elba as the djinn appearing in her Istanbul hotel room to offer her three wishes. That’s a smart-money bet for the main section, as is the latest from the Dardennes brothers, the immigrant drama Tori and Lokita. (The elderly white filmmakers’ take on the struggles faced by a pair of young African migrants living in Belgium will surely reignite the same race discourse the accompanied Young Ahmed, their film about a young Muslim fundamentalist.)

The main question remaining in light of this trickle of news is what else will play alongside these early-comers. New films from David Cronenberg, Park Chan-wook, Ruben Östlund, and Kelly Reichardt are all said to be in the can — will they be ready for the world come May?

Published 17 Mar 2022

Tags: Baz Luhrmann Cannes George Miller Joseph Kosinski The Dardenne Brothers

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