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2023 Cannes Film Festival Selections

2023 Cannes Film Festival

Today, the press conference for the official selection of the 2023 Cannes Film Festival was held by the new president Iris Knobloch, and the slightly less new general delegate Thierry Frémaux. The presentation didn’t offer that many shocking surprises. The opening film, Jeanne du Barry by Maiwenn, will be presented out of competition, which was expected. The competition, so far, looks like this:

Club Zero – Jessica Hausner

Youth– Wang Bing

The Zone of Interest -. Jonathan Glazer
Fallen Leaves – Aki Kaurismäki
Four Daughters – Kaouther Ben Hania
Asteroid City – Wes Anderson
Anatomy of a Fall (Anatomie d’Une Chute) – Justine Triet
Monster – Hirokazu Kore-eda
The Sun of the Future – Nanni Moretti
La Chimera – Alice Rohrwacher
About Dry Grasses – Nuri Bilge Ceylan
L’été dernier – Catherine Breillat
The Passion of Dodin Bouffant – Tran Anh Hung
Rapito – Marco Bellocchio
May December – Todd Haynes
Firebrand – Karim Aïnouz
The Old Oak – Ken Loach
Banel & Adama (Banel et Adama) – Ramata-Toulaye Sy
Perfect Days – Wim Wenders

That makes nineteen films. It would be an exaggeration to say there are many surprises there, even if Frémaux claimed that Loach was surprised by his selection. The title of his film, The Old Oak, lends itself to easy jokes, not only about him but of Bellochio, Wenders, and Moretti, as well. Maybe the inclusion of Wenders is a surprise, even more so since he has a second film in the Special Screenings section. Anyone betting on two new Wenders films should be able to splash out considerably in Cannes. The most interesting films seem to be the first two. Hausner is consistently engaging, even though I’m unsure about her decision to make films in English.

Wang Bing is likewise always attractive. At the moment of writing, not many facts are known about his competition film Youth. Like Wenders, Bing has a second film presented in Special Screenings, as well. It’s called Man in Black. Apart from them, the feeling is that there is a tad too many regulars this year. Kaurismäki, Ceylan, Haynes, Anderson and Kore-eda are well-known from Cannes, even if the Finnish director was last seen at the Berlinale in 2017. Breillat is usually welcome, but L’été dernier seems to be little more than a remake of Queen of Hearts (Dronningen 2019), making the inclusion all the more puzzling. There is hopefully room for one or two additions.

YouTube video
Trailer for Monster by Hirokazu Kore-eda

2023 Cannes Film Festival Un Certain Regard

The Un Certain Regards section is comprised of seventeen films, eight of which are made by first-time directors. Among the non-debutants, one notices Monia Chokri’s Simple comme Sylvain, The Breaking Ice by Anthony Chen, and The New Boy by Warwick Thornton. None of the films I was hoping for made it to the selection so far. There is still time to add Lisandro Alonso, Isabella Eklöf or Cristi Puiu, though. Some interesting directors are semi-hidden in the Cannes Premières section, which houses films by Katell Quillévéré, Victor Erice, and Takeshi Kitano.

It remains to be seen what possible additions Frémaux have up his sleeve. It is also important to remember that the selections for Semaine de la Critique and Quinzine des Cinéastes will be presented on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. These two sections had two of the best films of last year’s festival, Enys Men and The Woodcutter Story. The best might be yet to come.

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