11 films to watch at this year's Cannes Film Festival
Beginning Thursday, Hollywood will descend onto the Croissette for the 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival. While the iconic festival isn’t willing to jump wholeheartedly into today’s world of streaming just yet — it has allowed two Netflix films into competition despite protest from French exhibitors, but also announced that beginning next year any film competing for the Palme d’Or will have to commit to being shown in French cinemas — the festival will acknowledge the profound talent hitting the small screen and will debut episodes from two television shows: the second season of Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake and David Lynch’s wildly anticipated Twin Peaks reboot.
And though it is only May, what debuts over the course of the next 14 days will begin shaping our 2018 Oscar conversation. Success at Cannes doesn’t always translate into Oscar love — last year’s Palme d’Or winner, Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake, didn’t make waves in the U.S. — but recognition for both Isabelle Huppert (Elle) and David Mackenzie’s Hell or High Water began in the south of France.
Grab your baguette and a glass of rosé, we’ve got Cannes’ (likely) biggest hits below.
Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho (Snowpiercer) will see his Netflix debut premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. The expensive and ambitious film tells the story of a young girl, Mija, who befriends the giant friendly monster named Okja. When Okja is kidnapped and shipped to America by evil corporate forces, embodied by Tilda Swinton as an image-obsessed CEO, Mija sets out on a rescue mission to bring her friend back. Jack Gyllenhaal and Lily Collins also star.
Michael Haneke, director of 2012’s Palme d’Or winner Amour, is back with Happy End, starring Oscar nominee Huppert in a film that centers on a bourgeois family vacationing in France while the European refugee crisis happens outside their doors. Could the bleak film, a fourth collaboration between Haneke and Huppert, land Haneke his third Palme d’Or? It’s the question of the fest.
Todd Haynes’ follow-up to Carol (which also debuted at Cannes) is on the top of many festival-goers lists. An adaptation of the YA novel by Brian Selznick (The Invention of Hugo Cabret), Wonderstruck tells the interconnected stories of two young children — a boy in 1977 (shot in color) and a girl in 1927 (shot in black and white). Set to hit theaters on Oct. 20, courtesy of Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions, this collaboration between Haynes and his Carol composer Carter Burwell and cinematographer Edward Lachman is already primed for awards consideration.
Cannes isn’t looking as star-studded as usual this year with the exception of Nicole Kidman, who will be a mainstay on the carpet with three films and one television show (Top of the Lake). One of the most highly anticipated projects is Sofia Coppola’s remake of the 1971 Civil War-era thriller The Beguiled. Kidman stars as the headmistress of a cloistered girls school that’s remained open during the fighting. The women, who include Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning, agree to take in a Union soldier (Colin Farrell) and all hell breaks lose.
How to Talk to Girls at Parties
John Cameron Mitchell, best known for writing, directing, and starring in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, is back with his fourth feature, an adaptation of a short story by Neil Gaiman, who is riding high at the moment off Starz’s buzzy adaptation of American Gods. How to Talk to Girls at Parties is set in London in the 1970s and follows an alien girl, played by Elle Fanning, who falls in love with a punk teenage boy, played by Alex Sharp (the Broadway star who will also be featured in the Sundance hit To the Bone, later this year). Nicole Kidman re-teams with Fanning for this go-around.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
The Greek auteur behind last year’s quirky and beloved The Lobster, Yorgis Lanthimos, is back with a psychological thriller starring, yes, Kidman, who plays opposite Farrell (again), a surgeon who takes a sinister teenage boy under his wing to disastrous results.
The Meyerowitz Stories
Noah Baumbach’s entree into the Netflix world — and his Cannes debut — features a star-studded cast of Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Ben Stiller, Adam Sander, and Candice Bergen, and chronicles an estranged family’s reunion. This and Okja were the films whose competition spots were in jeopardy due to the Netflix kerfuffle.
The Artist writer-director Michel Hazanavicius is returning with an adaptation of Anne Wiazemsky’s autobiography “Un An Apres” which traces her romance with French director Jean-Luc Godard during the making of his 1967 film La Chinoise. It’s Hazanavicius’s moment of truth after his 2014 Artist follow-up, The Search, was ravaged at Cannes.
Benny and Josh Safdie, the brothers behind indies Heaven Knows What and Daddy Longlegs, are venturing onto the Croissette for the first time with Good Time, starring Robert Pattinson in a New York-based bank-robber drama that also features Jennifer Jason Leigh and Captain Phillips’ Barkhad Abdi. The drama from A24 will bow in August.
The Florida Project
Sean Baker, the innovative director of 2015’s indie breakout Tangerine, is back with The Florida Project, where he’s cast Willem Dafoe opposite two rookie unknowns for a story that toggles between a 6-year old’s adventurous, wondrous summer and the adults around her struggling with hard times.
You Were Never Really Here
Lynne Ramsey has been stunning audiences at Cannes for years now with films such as Ratcatcher, Morvern Callar, and We Need to Talk About Kevin. After a six-year absence, she is back with a new film, based on a novella by Jonathan Ames, starring Joaquin Phoenix, who plays a war veteran trying to save a young girl from sex traffickers. While it’s sure to be bleak, audiences are already gearing up for a tour de force from Phoenix.
Check back to EW.com throughout the festival for the latest happenings from Cannes.