ADVERTISEMENT

Cannes 2024 preview: The 10 Palme d’Or contenders you need to look out for

Cannes 2024: The 10 Palme d’Or contenders you need to look out for
Cannes 2024: The 10 Palme d’Or contenders you need to look out for Copyright Cannes Film Festival
Copyright Cannes Film Festival
By David Mouriquand
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button

The 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival kicks off next week (Tuesday 14 May). Here's everything you need to know about the Palme d'Or contending films that we're giddily anticipating.

ADVERTISEMENT

It’s nearly upon us, and once again, the Cannes Film Festival has unveiled a doozy of a line-up - which is saying plenty considering last year’s stellar selection.  

Putting aside the #MeToo bombshell report which looms over the festivities, as well as strike actions which threaten to derail the festival (it’s going to be a busy and stressful edition, for sure), we’ve rounded up what we’re most looking forward to this year in terms of the seventh art.

We’re sticking to the Competition films for this one – we don’t want to overwhelm you. Or us, for that matter.

These are the 10 titles vying for this year’s Palme d’Or that we’re particularly looking forward to - in no particular order.

The Apprentice

Canada – Ireland – Denmark – Directed by Ali Abbasi

The Apprentice
The ApprenticeCannes Film Festival

Fresh from his Silver Bear-winning turn in A Different Man, Sebastian Stan dons more prosthetics in Iranian-Danish director Abbasi’s first English-­language feature. He stars are the tangerine menace himself, as the film follows Donald Trump as a young real-estate executive in 1970s New York. He’ll apparently enter into “a Faustian deal” with right-wing lawyer Roy Cohn (Succession ’s Jeremy Strong). Beyond the timely, headline-grabbing nature of the film, considering Trump’s ongoing legal woes and the déja-vu presidential looming, should this deliver on the promising premise centred around corruption and deception, Abbasi could be in for a serious Palme d’Or shot. The director already won the Un Certain Regard prize in 2018 for his fantasy film Border, and 2022’s terrific Holy Spider won Best Actress in Cannes for Zar Amir Ebrahimi. Expect to hear a lot on this one during the festivities. 

Anora

US – Directed by Sean Baker

Anora
AnoraCannes Film Festival

Baker is no stranger to the Croisette, having premiered The Florida Project in Directors’ Fortnight in 2017 and Red Rocket in Competition in 2021. His latest film is about a young sex worker from Brooklyn who rather impulsively marries the son of a Russian oligarch. The fairytale meets a sizeable roadblock when his parents take a flight to the US to force an annulment. As is the writer-director's custom, the cast is full of relative unknowns, but includes Compartment No. 6 actor Yuriy Borisov. Looks very promising.

Caught By The Tides

China - Directed by Jia Zhangke

Caught By The Tides
Caught By The TidesCannes Film Festival

Renowned Chinese director Jia Zhangke is in Competition for the sixth time with Caught By The Tides. It’s billed as a romantic epic about a woman (Zhao Tao), who seeks out her lover once he leaves without an explanation. It’s the director’s first narrative feature since 2018’s Ash Is Purest White (which... just wow) and it was shot organically over the course of 23 years with the same cast and crew. Colour us intrigued.

Emilia Perez

France – Directed by Jacques Audiard

Emilia Perez
Emilia PerezCannes Film Festival

Speaking of Cannes mainstays, French director Jacques Audiard fits the bill. Following Competition titles A Prophet (2009), Rust And Bone (2012), Paris, 13th District (2021) and, of course, his Palme d’Or winner Dheepan in 2015, Audiard has proven time and time again he’s selected for all the right reasons. His Mexico-­set musical melodrama is about a cartel boss who undergoes sex reassignment surgery to retire from the business, evade authorities, and affirm a new gender. Karla Sofía Gascón, Zoe Saldaña, Édgar Ramírez and Selena Gomez star, and the premise is just as wild as the cast. Sign us up.

The Shrouds

Canada – France – Directed by David Cronenberg

The Shrouds
The ShroudsCannes Film Festival

From 1996’s Crash to 2022’s Crimes Of The Future, the Canadian master of body horror has had a whopping seven films in Competition – but the Palme d’Or remains elusive. Maybe not for long with his latest bid, which stars Vincent Cassel as a grieving widower who invents a controversial technology that connects people with the dead. It’s been dubbed Cronenberg’s most personal film to date, as he lost his wife in 2017. We cannot wait to see what the 81-year-old patron saint of strange has in store for us this time.

The Substance

UK-US – Directed by Coralie Fargeat

The Substance
The SubstanceCannes Film Festival

Blood? Check. Feminist leanings? Check. Body horror? Check. Oh, inject this one straight into our central vein now please. Demi Moore, Margaret Qualley and Dennis Quaid star in what promises to be a gore-filled tale from the French director who brought us her candy-coloured take on the bloody revenge movie, the aptly-titled Revenge, in 2017. Not much is known about plot details of her second feature, which have been kept under wraps for maximum effect. But we don’t need to know more. Cannes head honcho Thierry Frémaux likened it to Julia Ducournau’s recent Palme d’Or winner (and face-melting tour de force) Titane. That’s more than enough to go on. Sounds like a damn promising omen too, non?

Bird

UK – Directed by Andrea Arnold

Bird
BirdCannes Film Festival

Filmmaker extraordinaire Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank, American Honey, Cow) is this year’s Cannes recipient of the Carrosse d’Or, which recognises the career of innovative filmmakers. What if she made it a double golden win? She teams up with the ubiquitous double act Barry Keoghan and Franz Rogowski to tell the story of characters living on the fringes of UK society. It’s still shrouded in mystery but expected absentee (and tattooed) fathers who clash with their daughters (newcomer Nykiya Adams stars as a young child on the cusp of puberty).

ADVERTISEMENT

Kinds Of Kindness

UK - US – Directed by Yórgos Lanthimos

Kinds Of Kindness
Kinds Of KindnessCannes Film Festival

No surprises that this one made the list. Expectations are sky-high for Lanthimos’ return to the Croisette with regular collaborator Emma Stone, after The Favourite and last year’s Golden Lion winner (and four-time Oscar bagging) Poor Things. Tagging along for the ride are Jesse Plemons, Willem Dafoe, Joe Alwyn, Hong Chau, and Margaret Qualley. Here’s what we know (mostly from the trailers): it’s an anthology picture dubbed a “triptych fable”; there’s dancing; bodies are dragged down corridors; a policeman is alarmed that his missing wife returns and seems to be a different person; and someone yearns to be a spiritual leader. Make of all that glorious mess what you will. One thing’s for sure: Another unconventionally surreal black comedy from the undisputed master of the Greek Weird Wave reteaming with writer Efthimis Filippou, who co-wrote all his early films? Yes please, now.

Megalopolis

US – Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Megalopolis
MegalopolisCannes Film Festival

Another hot ticket, this one. Two-time Palme d’Or-winner Francis Ford Coppola (The Conversation; Apocalypse Now) returns to Competition with a self-funded $120 million epic starring Adam Driver as an architect with a master plan to rebuild New York City following a dystopian-sized catastrophe. The rest of the ensemble cast includes Aubrey Plaza, Jason Schwartzman, Talia Shire, Laurence Fishburne, Kathryn Hunter, Shia LaBeouf and Dustin Hoffman. Apparently influenced by H.G. Wells and the conspiracies of the Roman Empire, this 135-minute long passion project has been over two decades in the making for The Godfather director, who hasn’t stepped behind the camera since 2011’s disastrous Twixt. This one feels like it could be the epic we need right now, or a hubristic misfire. Whatever it turns out to be, we're still giddy with anticipation.

The Seed Of The Sacred Fig

Iran – France – Directed by Mohammad Rasoulof

ADVERTISEMENT
The Seed Of The Sacred Fig
The Seed Of The Sacred FigCannes Film Festival

Another talked about title, but for all the wrong reasons, sadly. It’s Golden Bear-winning Rasoulof’s first time in Cannes’ Competition selection, having previously won prizes in Un Certain Regard. However, the director will not be in attendance as he has been sentenced to eight years in prison and flogging in Iran for national security crimes. The filmmaker has been a target of the authoritarian regime for years, and the timing of this sentence appears to be an attempt to remove the film from the festival altogether. Let's hope that they stick to their guns, as Rasoulof’s voice needs to be heard, as do his critiques regarding the Islamic Republic’s repression. Plot details are still scarce, but rumours are that The Seed of the Sacred Fig features a judge for the Revolutionary Court in Tehran dealing with the fallout from nationwide protests, and how he becomes paranoid when his gun disappears.

The official poster for this year's 77th edition
The official poster for this year's 77th editionCannes Film Festival

Honourable mentions in Out of Competition and side sections:

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga: Hard to ignore this one, as George Miller returns to his beloved Mad Max franchise with a prequel to 2015’s high-octane Mad Max: Fury Road. Let’s hope it lives up to what seems like an impossible benchmark to top.

The Second Act: The ever-prolific French absurdist Quentin Dupieux opens the 2024 festival with a meta-comedy starring Léa Seydoux, Vincent Lindon, Louis Garrel and Raphaël Quenard, as four characters stranded in café, with a young woman who brings her boyfriend to meet her father.

Rumours: Canadian directors Evan Johnson, Galen Johnson, Guy Maddin cast Alicia Vikander and Cate Blanchett in a dark satire about world leaders meeting at a G7 summit and then getting lost in the woods. Delightful. Plus Blanchett, looks like the bastard lovechild of Hillary Clinton and Ursula von der Leyen in it. This could be a solid dose of pitch black comedy gold.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Balconettes: Portrait of a Lady on Fire ’s Noémie Merlant is back with her second directorial feature, following her 2021 directorial debut Mi Iubita, Mon Amour, which premiered at Cannes in a special screening. Fingers crossed this comedic horror film will be a standout.

Moi Aussi: Judith Godrèche’s sure-to-be controversial documentary short about the #MeToo movement.  

American Horizon: Kevin Costner dusts off his directing cowboy hat for his first feature in 21 years. It’s part one of two. It sounds exhausting. Go on then.

There we have it – and we’ve barely scratched the surface. Wish us luck. 

The 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival runs from Tuesday 14 May through to Saturday 25 May 2024. Stay tuned to Euronews Culture for our coverage, reviews, and updates throughout the festival.

ADVERTISEMENT
Share this articleComments

You might also like