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Cannes Film Festival 2024 predictions

Cannes 2024 predictions

Once again, It’s that time of the year when the Cannes Film Festival is getting closer. The press conference announcing the official section will take place on Thursday, so there is still time for predictions and hopeful expectations. So far, three films have been announced. George Miller, who presented the disastrous Three Thousand Years of Longing two years ago, will return with yet another chapter in the Mad Max series called Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga. It will be presented as an Out of Competition gala screening. That goes for Kevin Costner as well, who will present the first part of Horizon, An American Saga as a World Premiere, Out of Competition.

The third announced film sounds more promising, which is surprising since it’s the opening film, which is typically a lacklustre affair. This year, Quentin Dupieux will open the fest with his new four-part comedy, The Second Act (Le Deuxième Acte), starring Léa Seydoux, Vincent Lindon, and Louis Garrel working with the director for the first time. They will be joined by actors already accustomed to the Dupieux universe, like Jean Dujardin, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Léa Drucker, Benoît Magimel, Anaïs Demoustier. Hopefully, the new work is more like Daaaaaalí! than the tedious Yannick, which was also released last year.

Cannes Film Festival 2024 predictions
The Second Act by Quentin Dupieux.

From announced films, we move over to…

Cannes Film Festival 2024 predictions (some of them hopeful)

If we move on to predictions, some are more obvious than others. The fact that David Cronenberg has a new film (The Shrouds) means it will be screened in the competition. Even if the director is not in the best form, a film with Production Design by Carol Spier is always worth watching. Likewise, it would be surprising if Cannes regular Jacques Audiard’s new musical drama Emilia Perez would not appear in the competition. Audiard won the Palme d’Or for Dheepan in 2015., proving that only bad films win that prize nowadays. Staying in France, Leos Carax has finished C’est pas moi. It is a relatively short film (around 40 minutes), which is said to be some kind of autobiography.

Another Cannes veteran and a former favourite of mine, Arnaud Desplechin, will most probably be back in one section or another with his new work Spectateurs! Those of us who are sceptical of his later efforts, such as the appalling Frère et soeur two years ago, will be happy to learn that the new film goes back to his alter ego, Paul Dedalus, who was the leading character in the director’s best films. Audrey Diwan has made an adaptation of Emmanuelle, the novel purportedly written by Emmanuelle Arsan when it was, in fact, penned by her husband. Diwan’s film stars Noémie Merlant in a titular role. It will surely be different to Just Jaeckin’s 1974 classic with Sylvia Kristel.

The peculiar writers’ strike last year in the US is said to have prompted fewer American films this year, which is always welcome. One of the buzziest titles is Francis Ford Coppola’s pet project, Megalopolis. There have been screenings for a select few, among them distributors who seem to worry about the film’s commercial prospects. Since the director has said that he won’t settle on a festival until the distribution is secured, it’s unclear whether the film will be in Cannes or in Venice, even though signs point toward the former. Megalopolis has been described as Julius Caesar meets Blade Runner by the director’s nephew, Nicolas Cage. It might be a polarising event, whether it flops or not.

EDIT: According to Deadline, Megalopolis has been locked into a gala premiere slot on Friday evening, May 17. There is no confirmation from the festival on this thus far.

Yorgos Lanthimos has made a third film with Emma Stone, Kinds of Kindness, which might go to Venice following his Golden Lion winner Poor Things last year. Considering that The Favourite was screened there as well, Venice feels like a new home for the director who started his career in Cannes side sections. Maybe festival director Thierry Frémaux has some tricks up his sleeve to lure the director back to the Croisette. More interestingly, Kiril Serebrennikov’s three latest films have been highlights of their respective competitions. Limonov: The Ballad of Eddie is his first film in English, starring Ben Wishaw as the radical Soviet poet who became unlucky in New York.

Limonov Ben Wishaw
Ben Wishaw in Limonov.

Ali Abbasi, who made Holy Spider (Best Actress Award 2022), is back with The Apprentice, a film about Donald Trump. There is a certain risk that it will be selected for the festival. Other contenders include Nabil Ayouch, Babak Anwari, and Gilles Lellouche, who all had their latest films screened at Cannes. Andrea Arnold was last seen at the Croisette with Cow in 2021. For her new movie, she went two-legged. Bird stars Barry Keoghan and Franz Rogowski. Christophe Honoré is a director I usually avoid, but the latest project, Marcello Mio, where the titular character’s daughter, Chiara, seems to adopt her father’s identity and insist on being called Marcello, might actually be fun.

It’s a known fact that the side sections house the most interesting films of any big festival. One of last year’s highlights in Un Certain Regard was Shujun Wei’s Only The River Flows. Apparently, he has several projects in the pipeline. The one that seems an option for a Cannes slot is Sunshine Club. There are not many facts about it yet, but it seems to revolve around a mother raising her son alone. Actor-turned-director Brady Corbet has a new work ready called The Brutalist. His previous two works, The Childhood of the Leader and Vox Lux, opened at Venice, but maybe Cannes will be the premiere choice this time around.

One of my major hopes is Agora by Ala Eddine Slim. It’s his third feature, following The Last of Us and the splendid Tlamess, which appeared in Quinzaine des Réalisateurs in 2019. The new work concerns three missing people returning to a small Tunisia town. It is said to have an interesting narrative structure. Unlike Tlamess, it is not co-produced by Still Moving. I still have some hope that a production from the company will turn up in one of the sections. Last year, their film Tiger Stripes was one of the few highlights of the festival.

The Serpent's Path Kurosawa
The Serpent’s Path

I have fond memories of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Cure (1997), but films like Kairo (Pulse 2001) decreased my interest significantly. His “new” film is a French remake of The Serpent’s Path (Hebi no michi 1998). It sounds like a futile exercise but might prove tempting for some of the Cannes programmers. Swedish but Poland-educated Magnus von Horn’s new project is called The Girl With The Needle and takes place after WWl in Copenhagen. It boasts an interesting cast, with Trine Dyrholm and Vic Carmen Sonne in the central parts with cinematography by Michał Dymak. It sounds like a good fit for Un Certain Regard.

The official selection will be presented on Thursday, and the side sections next week. The latter announcements are bound to be the most interesting.

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