Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard, Timothée Chalamet, more stars to lead projects heading to Cannes for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began.

By Joey Nolfi
June 03, 2021 at 10:34 AM EDT
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The French Dispatch

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The Cannes Film Festival is roaring back with high-profile directors and a record number of women-directed films, all for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic decimated the global industry throughout 2020.

New films by Wes Anderson (the ensemble dramedy The French Dispatch), Sean Penn (Flag Day), Leos Carax (the Adam Driver-starring musical Annette), and Paul Verhoeven (the erotic, lesbian nun thriller Benedetta) have joined the race for the festival's prestigious Palme d'Or prize as part of Cannes' 2021 main competition.

Also joining them throughout the 2021 edition are a record number of films from women directors, including French filmmaker Julia Ducournau's Titane — the highly anticipated follow-up to the horror hit Raw — and Mia Hansen-Løve's Bergman Island, featuring Mia Wasikowska. New projects by Assasin's Creed helmer Justin Kurzel (Nitram), Asghar Farhadi (A Hero), and Tangerine and The Florida Project helmer's Sean Baker (Red Rocket, starring Simon Rex) will also screen in competition. Another major blockbuster premiere will be announced in the weeks ahead.

Outside of the main slate, Todd Haynes' Velvet Underground documentary is set to screen at Cannes, as is Tom McCarthy's Matt Damon crime drama Stillwater. This year's jury head Spike Lee will also present actress and director Jodie Foster with the honorary Palme d'Or prize for her contributions to cinema, following in the footsteps of past recipients Jane Fonda, Agnès Varda, and more.

2021 Cannes Line-up
Cannes 2021 announces its full lineup, including new films by Wes Anderson, Sean Penn, and more.
| Credit: Searchlight Pictures; Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images; Amazon Studios

Cannes — which often launches films into the Oscar race, including recent Academy hits like Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Lee's BlacKkKlansman — was forced to cancel its 2020 edition amid the global coronavirus outbreak, with the 2021 edition marking its first full return since the beginning of the pandemic.

"Cinema is not dead," the festival's artistic director, Thierry Frémaux, told Variety of the festival's return, "and the return of audiences to movie theaters around the world was the first good news. And the festival will be the second good news."

The festival runs from July 6-17 in southern France. See the full Cannes 2021 lineup below.

Main Competition

Opening Night Film: Annette — Leos Carax

Ahed's Knee — Nadav Lapid
Benedetta — Paul Verhoeven
Bergman Island — Mia Hansen-Løve
Casablanca Beats — Nabil Ayouch
Compartment No. 6 — Juho Kuosmanen
Drive My Car — Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
Everything Went Fine — Francois Ozon
The French Dispatch — Wes Anderson
A Hero — Asghar Farhadi
La fracture — Catherine Corsini
Lingui — Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Memoria — Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Nitram — Justin Kurzel
Paris, 13th District — Jacques Audiard
Par un Demi Clair Matin — Bruno Dumont
Petrov's Flu — Kirill Serebrennikov
Red Rocket — Sean Baker
The Restless — Joachim Lafosse
The Story of My Wife — Ildikó Enyed
Three Floors — Nanni Moretti
Titane — Julia Ducournau
The Worst Person in the World — Joachim Trier
Flag Day — Sean Penn

Un Certain Regard

After Yang — Kogonada
Blue Bayou — Justin Chon
Bonne Mère — Hafsia Herzi
Commitment Hasan — Hasan Semih
Freda — Gessica Généus
House Arrest — Alexey German Jr.
The Innocents — Eskil Vogt
Lamb — Valdimar Jóhansson
Moneyboys — B.C Yi
Noche de Fuego — Tatiana Huezo
Un Monde — Laura Wandel
Women Do Cry — Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova
La Civil — Teodora Ana Mihai
Unclenching the Fists — Kira Kovalenko
Let There Be Morning — Eran Kolirin
Rehana Maryam Noor — Abdullah Mohammad Saad

Cannes Premiere

Hold Me Tight — Mathieu Almaric
Cow — Andrea Arnold
Love Songs for Tough Guys — Samuel Benchetrit
Deception — Arnaud Desplechin
Jane Par Charlotte — Charlotte Gainsbourg
In Front of Your Face — Hong Sang-soo
Mothering Sunday — Eva Husson
Evolution — Kornel Mundruczo
Val — Ting Poo and Leo Scott
JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass — Oliver Stone

Out of Competition

De Son Vivant — Emmanuelle Bercot
Emergency Declaration — Han Jae-rim
The Velvet Underground — Todd Haynes
Bac Nord — Cedric Jimenez
Aline, the Voice of Love — Valerie Lemercier
Stillwater — Tom McCarthy

Midnight Screening: Bloody Oranges — Jean-Christophe Meurisse

Special Screenings

Mariner of the Mountains — Karim Ainouz
Black Notebooks — Shlomi Elkabetz
Babi Yar. Context — Sergei Loznitsa
H6 — Ye Ye
The Year of the Everlasting Storm — Jafar Panahi, Anthony Chen, Malik Vitthal, Laura Poitras, Domingo Sotomayor, David Lowery, Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Hear more on all of today's must-see picks, plus Nico Santos on an LGBTQ movie everyone should watch, in EW's What to Watch podcast, hosted by Gerrad Hall.

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