Parthenope by Paolo Sorrentino _ From left Celeste Dalla Porta and Stefania Sandrelli_ photo by GIanni Fiorito

Source: Photo by GIanni Fiorito


Acclaimed auteurs Francis Ford Coppola, Yorgos Lanthimos, Paolo Sorrentino and Andrea Arnold are among the filmmakers set to compete for the coveted Palme d’Or at the 77th Cannes Film Festival.

A total of 19 features were revealed today (April 11) that will play in Competition at the festival, set to run May 14-25.

Rarely a festival to veer far from familiar names, the Competition line-up is dominated by directors who have been selected multiple times for Cannes.

They include US filmmaker Coppola with sci-fi epic Megalopolis, which stars Adam Driver and is set in a future version of New York City following a disaster. Coppola was first in Competition at Cannes in 1967 with You’re A Big Boy Now, winning the Palme d’Or twice with The Conversation in 1974 and Apocalypse Now in 1979. His drama Tetro played in Directors’ Fortnight in 2009.

Iranian-Danish filmmaker Ali Abbasi, who played Holy Spider in Competition in 2022 and won the Un Certain Regard Award in 2018 with Border, returns with The Apprentice. The biographical drama stars Sebastian Stan as Donald Trump, following his career as an aspiring real estate mogul in 1970s and 80s New York.

Fresh from four Oscar wins with Poor Things, Greek filmmaker Lanthimos has reunited with Emma Stone and Willem Dafoe on Kinds Of Kindness, a “triptych fable” that marks his third film in Competition after The Lobster in 2015 and The Killing Of A Sacred Deer in 2017. His 2009 debut Dogtooth won the Un Certain Regard award in 2009.

Italy’s Sorrentino, whose The Great Beauty won the Oscar for best foreign language film after playing in Competition at Cannes in 2013, returns to his hometown of Naples with Parthenope, starring Gary Oldman and Luisa Ranieri. It is Sorrentino’s seventh film in Competition, with previous titles including 2015’s Youth, 2011’s This Must Be The Place and 2008 jury prize winner Il Divo.

The UK’s Arnold – a three-time Cannes jury prize winner for Red Road (2006), Fish Tank (2009) and American Honey (2016) – is back in Competition for a fourth time with Bird, which centres on a 12-year-old who lives with her single dad and brother in a squat. The filmmaker was last on the Croisette with documentary Cow, which played as a Cannes Premiere in 2021.

From France comes musical crime comedy Emilia Perez by Jacques Audiard, his sixth time in Competition and a Palme d’Or winner with Dheepan in 2015; Marcello Mio by Christophe Honoré, who has been selected for Cannes several times and twice in Competition with Love Songs (2007) and Sorry Angel (2018); and romantic comedy Beating Hearts by Gilles Lellouche, whose 2018 feature Sink Or Swim played out of competition in 2018 and went on to box office glory.

Further US filmmakers returning to festival include Anora by Sean Baker, whose Red Rocket played in Competition in 2021; and Paul Schrader with drama Oh, Canada, starring Richard Gere and Uma Thurman, back in Competition after 1985’s Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters and 1988’s Patty Hearst, having written Martin Scorsese’s 1976 Palme d’Or winner Taxi Driver.

Canada’s David Cronenberg makes his seventh Competition entry with The Shrouds, starring Vincent Cassel as a widower who builds a device that connects with the dead. Cronenberg previously won the jury special prize with Crash in 1996 and played further films in the main strand such as A History Of Violence (2005), Cosmopolis (2012) and most recently Crimes Of The Future (2022).

From China, Jia Zhangke will premiere Caught By The Tides, marking his sixth time in Competition after titles including best screenplay winner A Touch Of Sin (2013) and Ash Is Purest White (2018). Jia is also a former recipient of Directors’ Fortnight honour the Carrosse d’Or (Golden Coach).

Berlin-based Russian filmmaker Kirill Serebrennikov will premiere Limonov – The Ballad, starring Ben Whishaw as the radical Soviet poet and political dissident Eduard Limonov. The filmmaker has previously been in Competition with Leto (2018), Petrov’s Flu (2021) and Tchaikovsky’s Wife (2022).

From India, Payal Kapadia makes her fiction debut with All We Imagine As Light, having premiered documentary A Night Of Knowing Nothing in Directors’ Fortnight in 2021, winning the L’Oeil d’or award.

Another filmmaker moving from Directors’ Fortnight to Competition is Sweden’s Magnus Von Horn with The Girl With The Needle about a nurse in post-war Copenhagen who stumbles upon a shocking truth. Von Horn’s The Here After played in Directors’ Fortnight in 2015 while his second feature, Sweat, received a Cannes Label from the abandoned 2020 edition of the festival.

Brazil’s Karim Ainouz, who won the Un Certain Regard prize in 2019 with Invisible Life and played Firebrand in Competition in 2023, is back with Motel Destino, an erotic thriller set at a roadside sex hotel on the coast of Brazil.

Portuguese auteur Miguel Gomes, last at Cannes in Directors’ Fortnight with Arabian Nights in 2015, will premiere Grand Tour. Set in 1917 Burma, it follows a British civil servant in Asia who is followed on his travels by his jilted fiancée.

There are just two filmmakers making their Official Selection debut: France’s Agathe Riedinger with first feature Wild Diamond and fellow French director Coralie Fargeat with US body horror The Substance, starring Demi Moore and Margaret Qualley, her second feature after 2017 horror Revenge.

At a press conference to announce the line-up, festival director Thierry Fremaux said the Competition selection may add three more titles before Cannes begins next month.

Barbie director and actress Greta Gerwig will preside over the Competition jury.

Beyond the main strand, Un Certain Regard will spotlight rising directors from around the world including Who Let The Dog Bite? from actor-turned-filmmaker Laetitia Dosch and Yolande Zauberman’s The Beauty Of Gaza, about trans Palestinians who travel from Gaza to Tel Aviv to embody their true identities.

The festival will open with the world premiere of Quentin Dupieux’s comedy Second Act starring Lea Seydoux and Vincent Lindon on May 15.