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Cannes Predictions- Part 2: The Regulars

April 7, 2024
Hunter Friesen
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With Oscar season firmly behind us (although it never really ends), it’s time to set our sights on the next white whale barreling toward us: festival season! Sundance and SXSW have provided the appetizer with their concentration of indies and spring studio releases, opening the doors for Cannes to take center stage with glitzy red carpets and world-class talent. Last year’s edition proved to be one of its best, with Palme d’Or winner Anatomy of a Fall and Grand Prize winner The Zone of Interest being two of the most acclaimed and rewarded films of the year. Also featured were About Dry Grasses, Fallen Leaves, La Chimera, May December, and The Taste of Things.

Last year’s SAG and WGA strikes will likely put a damper on the presence of Hollywood on the Croisette (and potentially at the later fall festivals), but it shouldn’t prevent Delegate General Thierry Fremaux and his team from assembling some of the best that world cinema has to offer. The festival will announce its full lineup on April 11. Until then, I’ll take a closer look at some of the films that are generating buzz and predict which ones are likely to make it up the coveted steps this year.

This middle part of the series is where we find the directors with a decent Cannes and/or festival background. They may not have the ability to grab the headlines like some of their contemporaries, 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.

Preference will be given to directors who have displayed a commitment to Cannes before. So stuff like Luca Guadagnino’s Queer, Pablo Larraín’s Maria, and Paul Schrader’s Oh, Canada won’t be included on account of all three of them having heavy ties to Venice.


The Most Precious of Cargoes

Michel Hazanavicius took Cannes by storm in 2011 with The Artist, which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director. He’s had three films at the festival since (The Search, Godard Mon Amour, and Final Cut), all of which disappointed. He’s venturing into animation for his new film, an adaptation of a best-selling French book set during WWII. Production began just before the pandemic, with some footage and a 2024 release date being announced at the 2022 Annecy Intl. Animation Film Festival. Hazanavicius’s spotty record and the festival’s aversion to animation in the Official Selection hints that if this does show up, it’ll be out-of-competition or in the Cannes Premieres section.

Inside Out 2

It’s a partnership that may seem a little strange on paper, but the collaborations between Pixar and Cannes have always borne fruit (well, until last year’s Elemental). Up opened the festival in 2009, and Inside Out was one of the most acclaimed titles of the 2015 edition. Soul was even given the honorable laurels for the 2020 edition. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Inside Out 2 is taken overseas to generate buzz ahead of the film’s worldwide release in June.

Those Who Find Me

Georgian filmmaker Dea Kulumbegashvili made one of the most acclaimed debut films of 2020 with Beginnings. It was part of the honorary selection at that year’s canceled edition, instead premiering months later in Toronto. Her sophomore feature tells a timely story of a “gynecologist-obstetrician working in the only hospital in a provincial town, who is unconditionally committed to her Hippocratic Oath, even if it means carrying out illegal abortions.” Fremeaux and his selection committee might have sympathy for Kulumbegashvili not getting her time to shine in 2020, so an invite into the main competition could very well be in the cards.

Serpent's Path

Kiyoshi Kurosawa will likely be pulling double duty this year as he’s already debuted the 45-minute-long Chime at the Berlin International Film Festival. He’s been a Cannes regular over the past three decades, but recently won the Best Director prize at Venice for 2020’s Wife of a Spy. His latest is a French remake of his own 1998 Japanese film that stars Matthieu Almaric.


Despite his Italian heritage, Paolo Sorrentino has opted to debut nearly all of his feature films on French soil His previous film, The Hand of God, was forced to skip Cannes because of its distribution by Netflix. No such worries are present for his new film, set within his native Naples. Gary Oldman is part of the sprawling cast that will travel through different eras in a dreamlike state, all (at least based on the first images) captured in crisp black and white.

C'est Pas Moi

Cannes is a party, and you can’t have a party without Leos Carax. He started the 2021 festival off with a bang with Annette, netting him the Best Director prize. His latest escapade is a short film that reunites him with Holy Motors frontman Denis Lavant for a self-portrait of Carax’s life and filmography. Expect something wholly strange and out-of-this-world.

The End

Despite only having two films to his name, director Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence have made him a marquee name on the festival circuit. He’s stepping outside the documentary structure for his third feature, which has been described as “a Golden Age-style musical about the last human family. Festival favorite Tilda Swinton leads the cast along with Michael Shannon and George MacKay. Neon holds distribution rights, giving the company a chance to nab their fifth consecutive Palme d’Or.

Furiosa (*CONFIRMED*)

The speed bump that was Three Thousand Years of Longing won’t be able to slow down George Miller from storming the Croisette with another story set in the world of Mad Max. He’ll be bringing along Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth for this origin story of the titular character.

The Second Act (*CONFIRMED*)

Along with Gaspar Noe, surrealist filmmaker Quentin Dupieux often is the provider of the strange and wild, most notably with Smoking Causes Coughing and Deerskin. He’s assembled his starriest cast yet for his new film, with Léa Seydoux, Louis Garrel, and Vincent Lindon playing actors appearing in a terrible film. Filming was completed before the public was aware of the film’s existence. Dupieux has only ever appeared in the sidebars, with the most likely landing spot being an out-of-competition midnight slot.

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