Ahead of the 72nd Cannes Film Festival (May 14-25), Screen has picked out a few of the stand-out titles from the Competition, Out of Competition, Un Certain Regard, Special Screenings, Directors’ Fortnight and Critic’s Week sections.
Full previews of each Cannes strand are below.
Frankie (Fr-Port-Bel-US) - Dir. Ira Sachs
In Sachs’ Cannes debut, Isabelle Huppert, Brendan Gleeson, Marisa Tomei and Greg Kinnear star in the tale of several generations of a family who gather in an old town in Portugal. Said Ben Said, who worked with Huppert on Elle, produced the film via his SBS Productions, alongside co-producers O Som E A Furia and Beluga Tree. Frankie is the first time Sachs has shot outside the US. Sony Pictures Classics has the film for North America, Eastern Europe (including CIS), Scandinavia, the Middle East, South Africa, Spain, India and for worldwide airlines.
Contact: SBS International
A Hidden Life (US-Ger) - Dir. Terrence Malick
Malick returns to the Croisette for the first time since his 2011 Palme d’Or triumph with The Tree Of Life. His latest, formerly known as Radegund, stars August Diel as an Austrian farmer and conscientious objector in the Second World War, with a cast including Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Nyqvist and Bruno Ganz. Malick’s prodigious output of late — since 2011 he has directed more than half of his features spanning a 46-year career — has not always been well received by festival audiences, but he remains a draw and curiosity is riding high.
Contact: Antone Saliba, Mister Smith Entertainment
Little Joe (Austria-UK-Ger) - Dir. Jessica Hausner
Emily Beecham and Ben Whishaw star in this sci-fi drama about a genetically engineered plant that scatters its seeds and seems to cause uncanny changes on living creatures. Austrian director Hausner makes the step up to Competition after premiering three previous titles in Un Certain Regard: Amour Fou in 2014, Hotel in 2004 and Lovely Rita in 2001. Producers are UK-France outfit The Bureau with Hausner’s own Austrian banner Coop99 Filmproduktion and Germany’s Essential Filmproduktion. The film was backed by BBC Films and the BFI.
Contact: Coproduction Office
Matthias & Maxime (Can) - Dir. Xavier Dolan
The last time the French-Canadian enfant terrible attended Cannes, It’s Only The End Of The World was panned by the critics and won the grand prix. Dolan will be hoping for a better reception for his ensemble drama about the doubts that set in when two childhood best friends kiss on the production of a short film. Dolan features among the cast of mostly unknown actors.
Contact: Ruby Rondina, Seville International
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (US) - Dir. Quentin Tarantino
Much-anticipated and late to the Competition line-up, Tarantino’s first Cannes bow since 2009’s Inglourious Basterds stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt respectively as a faded TV actor and his stunt double in 1969 Los Angeles. Margot Robbie stars as Sharon Tate, whose murder by Charles Manson’s followers forms the backdrop to events. Tarantino produces with Heyday Films’ David Heyman and Shannon McIntosh. Sony begins a worldwide rollout from July 26.
Contact: Sony Pictures Entertainment
Parasite (S Kor) - Dir. Bong Joon Ho
After 2017’s English-language Okja, which partly triggered the Cannes-Netflix row, Bong returns to Competition with a Korean-language film starring his frequent collaborator Song Kang-ho. The new tragi-comedy is about an unemployed family that infiltrates a more affluent one, leading to unexpected consequences. Cast includes Lee Sun-kyun (A Hard Day), Jo Yeo-jeong (Obsessed) and Choi Woo-shik (Okja). Among Bong’s previous Cannes outings are Mother (Un Certain Regard 2009) and The Host (Directors’ Fortnight 2006).
Contact: CJ Entertainment
Portrait Of A Lady On Fire (Fr) - Dir. Céline Sciamma
Twelve years after taking Un Certain Regard by storm with her debut feature, coming-of-age lesbian romance Water Lilies, France’s Sciamma finally takes her place in Competition. Subsequent films Tomboy and Girlhood premiered at the Berlinale in 2011 and Cannes Directors’ Fortnight in 2014. In a departure from her gritty, contemporary dramas, Sciamma delivers a historical romantic drama set in 18th-century Brittany. Adele Haenel, who co-starred in Water Lilies, plays a reluctant bride-to-be who develops a growing passion for a female artist commissioned to paint her portrait in her final days of freedom.
Contact: mk2 Films
The Specials (Fr) - Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano - Closing film
Social comedy The Specials stars Vincent Cassel and Reda Kateb and a cast of non-professional actors and young autistic teens. It is produced and distributed by Gaumont and will be released in France on October 23. It was submitted at the last minute to the selection committee. Nakache and Toledano are best known for their 2011 box office smash The Intouchables.
The Wild Goose Lake (China-Fr) - Dir Diao Yinan
Building on his Berlin Golden Bear win for Black Coal, Thin Ice in 2014, Diao gains his first Cannes Competition spot with his fourth feature, reuniting him with Chinese producer Shen Yang and stars Liao Fan (who won the best actor prize in Berlin) and Gwei Lun Mei. Hu Ge and Wan Qian co-star in the new crime thriller about a gangster who crosses paths with a prostitute while seeking redemption on the run. Memento’s Alexandre Mallet-Guy and Arte France Cinema co-produced the film. In 2007, Diao’s second film Night Train premiered in Un Certain Regard.
Contact: Memento Films
Un Certain Regard/Out of Competition/Special Screenings
The Climb (US) - Dir. Michael Covino
This comedy-drama, based on Covino’s 2018 Sundance short of the same name, follows two friends in a complicated relationship who enter a biking competition. Kyle Marvin and Covino star and also produce in this Topic Studios and Watch This Ready title.
Contact: Memento Films International
Diego Maradona (UK) - Dir. Asif Kapadia
Kapadia returns to Cannes four years after launching Amy Winehouse documentary and eventual Oscar winner Amy in an out of competition slot. The first feature documentary from the filmmaker focusing on a subject who is still alive, Diego Maradona tracks the Argentinian footballer from humble origins to worldwide fame, with particular focus on his years playing for Italy’s SSC Napoli in the 1980s. The On The Corner production is backed by Lorton Entertainment and Film4, and reunites Kapadia with Senna and Amy producer James Gay-Rees, editor Chris King and composer Antonio Pinto. HBO has acquired US theatrical, TV and streaming rights.
Contact: Altitude Film Sales
Port Authority (US-Fr) - Dir Danielle Lessovitz
Martin Scorsese serves as executive producer on this feature directing debut, set in the world of New York’s ballroom voguing scene, where a young man is forced to confront his feelings for someone when he learns she is transgender. Fionn Whitehead (Dunkirk), transgender dancer/model/actress Leyna Bloom and McCaul Lombardi (American Honey) star in the film from Madeleine Films, RT Features, Sikelia Productions and Mubi.
Contact: mk2 Films
Rocketman (US-UK) - Dir Dexter Fletcher
With a producer team led by Rocket’s David Furnish and Marv’s Matthew Vaughn, this R-rated ‘warts and all’ musical fantasy recounts the rise to fame and substance-abusing flameout of Elton John (Kingsman star Taron Egerton). Fletcher, fresh from his directing contribution to Bohemian Rhapsody, directs the title, which Paramount distributes in the US and multiple territories, and begins its rollout into cinemas on May 22. It also stars Jamie Bell as lyricist Bernie Taupin and Richard Madden as the singer’s lover/manager John Reid.
Contact: Paramount Pictures
The Lighthouse (US) - Dir. Robert Eggers
There is plenty of buzz swirling around Eggers’ black-and-white fantasy horror after his feature debut The Witch. The Lighthouse stars Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe as lighthouse keepers on a suitably remote and mysterious island in the 1890s. Conditions on the shoot were harsh and Pattinson revealed he came close to hitting Eggers after the director repeatedly sprayed a hose in his face. A24, New Regency and RT Features produced, and A24 distributes in the US and handles worldwide sales.
Red 11 (US) - Dir. Robert Rodriguez
Cult US director Rodriguez will give a masterclass followed by a special screening of his new film Red 11. The micro-budget thriller is inspired by the true story of how he sold his body to medical research to finance his breakthrough work El Mariachi. It will be the film’s international premiere following its first outing at SXSW earlier this year.
Contact: Endeavor Content
Wounds (US) - Dir. Babak Anvari
This may not be its festival debut, but Anvari’s follow-up to Under The Shadow is nevertheless one of the most talked about selections, given that Netflix snapped up international rights shortly after Wounds’ Sundance world premiere. That means the streaming platform has a film on the Croisette, albeit one playing in a sidebar. Armie Hammer stars opposite Dakota Johnson as a New Orleans bartender who experiences terrifying forces when he picks up a phone left in the bar. United Artists Releasing will distribute in the US.
Zombi Child (Fr) - Dir. Bertrand Bonello
One of France’s most intransigently individual directors, Bonello has previously had three features in Competition: Tiresia (2003), House Of Tolerance (2011) and Saint Laurent (2014). His new film, starring newcomers Louise Labeque and Wislanda Louimat, returns to the roots of the zombie mythos, with a story about a dead man revived in 1962, and a Haitian student 55 years later. Production companies are Les Film du Bal and Bonello’s My New Picture, with backing from Arte France Cinema.
Litigante (Col-Fr) - Dir. Franco Lolli
Five years after the world premiere of his debut feature Gente De Bien, Colombian director Lolli returns to Critics’ Week with his Bogota-set story starring Carolina Sanin about a single mother and lawyer implicated in a corruption scandal who begins a romantic relationship for the first time in years. Backers include FDC Proimagenes (Colombia), CNC Aide aux Cinémas du Monde (France) and TorinoFilmLab. Ad Vitam distributes in France and Cinecolombia in Colombia.
Contact: Gaelle Mareschi, Kinology
The Unknown Saint (Fr-Ger-Leb-Mor-Qat) - Dir. Alaa Eddine Aljem
Moroccan short filmmaker Aljem (The Desert Fish, 2015) was named one of Screen International’s Arab Stars of Tomorrow in 2016. Feature debut The Unknown Saint sees a criminal recently released from prison who returns to the spot where he buried his loot years ago, only to find that a religious shrine has been built directly on top of it. The project won an Open Doors Lab ICAM prize at Locarno in 2015, and participated in Sundance Screenwriters Lab in 2016 and Cannes’ La Fabrique des Cinemas du Monde in 2017.
Contact: The Match Factory
Vivarium (Ire-Bel-Den) - Dir. Lorcan Finnegan
Irish filmmaker Finnegan has assembled an impressive cast for his second feature: Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots star as a young couple who come under the influence of a mysterious estate agent while searching for their perfect home. Finnegan’s 2016 feature debut Without Name received funding from Screen Ireland, which has also supported Vivarium. A co-production between Ireland’s Fantastic Films, Belgium’s Frakas Productions and Denmark’s PingPongFilm, Vivarium is also supported by Belgium’s Wallimage fund and Eurimages.
Contact: XYZ Films