Cannes Predictions - Part 3: The Festival Mainstays
April 8, 2023
As one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world, the Cannes Film Festival always attracts the attention of cinephiles and industry professionals alike. Each year, the festival presents a diverse lineup of films that represent the best of international cinema, including both established and emerging filmmakers. With the 76th edition of the festival set to take place in May, film enthusiasts around the world are eagerly anticipating the announcement of the official selection on April 13th.
While the festival organizers keep their cards close to their chest, there are already some strong players emerging as likely contenders for the coveted Cannes spotlights. In this four-part series, I’ll take a closer look at some of the films that are generating buzz and predict which ones are likely to make it to the Croisette this year.
Each part will represent a category of films, which are:
The Festival Mainstays
The Irregulars and Up-and-Comers
The third part of my series reaches a little further down the pecking order. The filmmakers listed here may not have the pedigree of those from the first part, nor do their films command the headlines like the blockbusters. But many of them are in the process of being established as festival darlings and have projects that deserve attention on account of their immense potential.
Which of these films are you most interested in? I'll be keeping you all posted on my adventures and sharing my thoughts on the films that I see. Stay tuned for more updates!
Coup de Chance
With a legendary career that now spans fifty works as a director, it would seem fitting to bid farewell to filmmaking in the country that has always adored him. Allen has brought several films to the festival, all of them playing out of competition. His latest work will be entirely in French with a local all-star cast. Of course, any mention of Allen brings along controversy, so Fremeaux will have a hard decision to make about what to do.
Alice Rohrwacher’s film made waves at last year’s festival when Neon picked up the project’s North American distribution rights. The company had a great run last with Triangle of Sadness taking the Palme d’Or, so it seems likely they’ll be gunning for a repeat. The film stars Josh O’Connor and Isabella Rossellini in a story about 1980s tomb robbers set in Italy.
Bertrand Bonello has premiered nearly all of his films at the festival, so there’s no reason not to predict him to do the same this time around. Léa Seydoux and George MacKay lead the cast of this sci-fi romance revolving around a troubled young woman who decides to purify her DNA in a machine that will take her on a journey across a series of past lives.
Jeanne du Barry
Never one to shy away from controversy, writer/director Maïwenn has doubled down by casting Johnny Depp as King Louis XV in her palace drama. The casting itself will bring headlines, but not the kind the festival may want, especially with films by Woody Allen and Roman Polanski also in the mix. If selected, it’ll likely be placed in one of the sidebars. *UPDATE: CONFIRMED FOR OPENING SELECTION*
Along with Gaspar Noe, surrealist filmmaker Quentin Dupieux often is the provider of the strange and wild, which he did last year with the wacky Smoking Causes Coughing. His new movie will certainly be a more fun story about Salvador Dalí than Mary Harron’s Dalíland at last year's TIFF. The logline is as follows: “A French journalist meets the iconic surrealist artist Salvador Dalí on several occasions for a documentary project that never came to be.”
The Book of Solutions
Michel Gondry has always kept himself incredibly busy between feature films, music videos, television shows, and short films. He’s done a tour of the festival sidecars throughout his career, so there’s little doubt he’ll be invited back if he decides to premiere his new film on the Croisette. The premise sounds Charlie Kaufman-esque as it follows a director who tries to vanquish his demons which are oppressing his creativity.
While the Cannes leadership has ruled that they will not welcome any members of the Russian delegation or those linked to the government, that rule does not apply to Russian auteur Kirill Serebrennikov, who has had his problem with Putin’s government. Serebrennikov recently left the country after a three-year travel ban, which forced him to miss the premiere of Petrov's Flu in 2021. His next film will continue the biopic streak from Tchaikovsky’s Wife, this time in the English language and focusing on the life of Soviet poet Eduard Limonov. Serebrennikov co-wrote the screenplay with Cold War director Pawel Pawlikowski and Ben Hopkins, and Ben Whishaw will play the titular character.
While he doesn’t make as many regular appearances as Ken Loach, fellow Englishman Michael Winterbottom did make a name for himself at the turn of the millennium with a slew of rough-around-the-edges peeks into British life. His new film sounds like it might fit that description quite well, as it follows two Brit police officers in their hunt for charismatic poet and Zionist freedom fighter Avraham Stern, who was plotting to evict British authorities.
French provocateur Catherine Breillat looks to be coming out of her self-imposed retirement with her first film in almost a decade. The sexually charged auteur's new film may be her most squirm-inducing yet, as it follows the consequences on a family when a woman gets attracted to her underage stepson. The first image was released in December just as production wrapped. Given her pedigree within the French film industry and that this may be her last film, it seems highly likely Breillat makes her way into the competition.