Excitement is high as the Cannes Film Festival is set to return with a highly anticipated edition that is sure to mark with it the grand return of arthouse cinema, international storytelling and glitzy premieres on the Croisette. The cancellation of last year’s edition due to COVID-19 has undoubtedly left the festival programmers with a wealth of films to pick from – so which films could make the cut?
The wait won’t be long – the festival is set to hold its press conference in a few days to announce its lineup – but it’s always fun to play the speculation game. Let’s take a look at a number of potential contenders from various continents.
The 74th Cannes Film Festival is scheduled to take place from July 6 to 17, 2021 with Academy Award winning American director Spike Lee as the President of the Jury.
Already announced: Wes Anderson’s THE FRENCH DISPATCH
- Sean Penn’s “Flag Day”. Penn directors and stars as a father living a double life as a con man and bank robber in order to provide for his daughter. Also starring Josh Brolin and Miles Teller.
- Paul Schrader’s thriller “The Card Counter” starring Oscar Isaac and Willem Dafoe. The film focuses on a gambler whose life is turned upside down when he is approached by an angry young man seeking help to exact revenge on a military colonel.
- David Lowery’s “The Green Knight” starring Dev Patel and Alicia Vikander. A fantasy re-telling of the medieval story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
- From Canada, Monia Chokri’s “Babysitter”. Also starring Chokri, the film centres on a babysitter whose arrival promises to shake things up in a tense household.
Central and South America
Already announced: none
- From Brazil, “Paloma” by Marcelo Gomes. The film is about a transgender woman who sparks controversies in the community when she fights for a traditional church wedding.
- From Bolivia, “Utama” by Alejandro Loayza Grisi which focuses ob an elderly couple in Bolivia. A terminally ill man hides his illness from his wife but everything changes when their grandson arrives from the city.
- From Argentina, Santiago Mitre’s “”Petite Fleur” marks the director’s first film in French. A dark comedy, it tells the story of a young jobless father who kills his neighbour after listening to the jazz standard ’Petite Fleur’ during a visit, only to discover the next day that the man is alive.
- From Mexico, Joaquin de Paso’s “The Hole In The Fence” whose main setting is a prestigious private boys’ school in Mexico where students receive physical religious training programs in hopes of joining society’s elites.
Already announced: Leos Carax’s ANNETTE and Paul Verhoven’s BENDETTA
- From Turkey, Semih Kaplanoğlu’s “Baglilik Hasan”. No plot summary.
- From France, Stéphane Brizé’s “Another World” is a strong contender. Starring Vincent Lindon, who could have multiple films in Cannes, the film offers a depiction of the daily struggle of executives. A powerful and unique vision of a system in overdrive.
- From Norway, Joachim Trier’s latest picture “The Worst Person In The World” which takes place in contemporary Oslo and addresses stories of love, loss and pain.
- From France, Mia Hansen-Løve’s “Bergman Island” focuses on an American filmmaking couple who retreat to the island for the summer to each write screenplays for their upcoming films in an act of pilgrimage to the place that inspired Bergman.
- From Russia, Kirill Serebrennikov’s “Petrov’s Flu” depicts a day in the life of a comic book artist and his family in post-Soviet Russia. While suffering from the flu, Petrov is carried by his friend Igor on a long walk, drifting in and out of fantasy and reality.
- From Italy, Michelangelo Frammartino’s “Il buco” is described as a period drama recounting the ‘extraordinary adventure of the young members of the Piedmont Speleological Group who, having already explored all the caves of Northern Italy, changed course in August 1961 and went South to explore other caves unknown to man’.
- From Finland, Juho Kuosmanen’s latest feature “Compartment No. 6” which focuses on a young Finnish woman and a misanthropic Russian miner who share a train journey across the Soviet Union in the 1990s.
- From France, Melanie Laurent’s “Le bal des folles” could be a contender. A psychological drama centering on a woman who was unfairly institutionalized at the Salpêtrière hospital and manages to escape.
- From Sweden, Rubin Ostlund’s “Triangle of Sadness” – his much anticipated follow-up to his Palme d’or-winning film “The Square”. The film is described as an “an epic satire set against the world of fashion and the uber-rich”.
- From France, Emanuelle Bercot’s “Peaceful” is tipped for a Cannes debut. Starring Catherine Deneuve and Bercot, the film focuses on a son who is in denial of a serious illness.
- From the UK, Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst could make the cut. The film tells the story of a pair of brothers who own a large ranch in Montana are pitted against each other when one of them gets married. If selected, the film will likely be an Out of Competition contender due to the fact that Netflix is distributing worldwide.
- From Italy, Nanni Moretti’s “Three Floors” is a strong contender. It tells the story of three families living in three apartments in the same bourgeois condominium.
- From France, Arnaud Desplechin “Deception” is a French-language adaptation of Philip Roth’s 1990 novel which tells the story of a writer and the three central women in his life. Starring Lea Seydoux.
- From Romania, Teodora Ana Mihai’s “La Civil” might benefit from the support of the Dardenne brothers. Based on a true story, it follows a housewife mother who takes on a ruthless kidnap gang who abducted her daughter.
- From France and the UK, “Mothering Sunday” France’s Eva Husson. Featuring Oscar winners Colin Firth and Olivia Colman, the drama focuses on a maid living in post-World War I England who secretly plans to meet with the man she loves before he leaves to marry another woman.
- Also from France, Jacques Audiard’s “13th District” is the director’s much-anticipated French-language follow-up to his 2015 Palme d’or winner “Dheepan”. The latest film tells the story of four young adult friends living in the French capital’s Les Olympiades neighbourhood.
- From Spain, “Official Competition” by AMariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat stars Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz in a story of a director attempting to bring the talents of two rival stars to the big screen.
- From Belgium, HJoachim Lafosse’s drama “The Restless”. Story of a couple whose life is impacted by bipolarism.
- French helmer Julia Ducournau’s serial-killer thriller Titane is also eying a Cannes launch. The film is Ducournau’s follow-up to her well received horror film ‘Raw’ which also played at Cannes. Starring Vincent Lindon and Agathe Rousselle.
Already announced: none
- From Japan, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s “Drive My Car”, centering around a stage actor and director happily married to his playwright wife. Then one day the wife disappears.
- From South Korea, Im Sang-soo’s “Heaven: To the Land of Happiness” – said to be inspired by Germany’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”.
- From Thailand, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Memoria” is one of the most expected titles to make the cut. Starring Tilda Swinton, the drama/thriller focuses on a Scottish woman who, while traveling in Colombia, begins to notice strange sounds. Soon she begins to think about their appearance.
- From South Korea, Park Chan-wook may be ready to present his much-anticipated follow-up to “The Handmaiden”. The film focuses on a detective whose investigation into a man’s murder leads to his mysterious widow.
- From Indonesia, Kamila Andini “Yuni” focuses on a teenager whose dreams of attending university come under threat following a marriage proposal, has also been submitted. The filmmaker’s debut The Mirror Never Lies travelled to more than 30 festivals, while her second film The Seen And The Unseen won multiple festival awards including the grand prix international jury prize of the Berlinale’s Generation Kplus in 2018.
- Also from South Korea, Han Jae-rim’s airplane disaster film Emergency Declaration, featuring Parasite actor Song Kang-ho could make the cut.
- From the Philippines, Lav Diaz’s latest film “Servando Magdamag” could make the cut. The film is based on an award-winning short story of the same title, centering on a family of hacienderos in the aftermath of the death of their patriarch.
Middle East and Africa
Already announced: none
- From Israel, Nadav Lapid’s “Ahed’s Knee” focuses on an Israeli filmmaker who throws himself in the midst of two battles doomed to fail: one against the death of freedom, the other against the death of a mother.
- From Egypt, Mohamed Diab’s anticipated follow-up to his 2016 film “Clash” could make a play. Titled “Amira”, the film marks Diab’s first film shot outside Egypt and is inspired by the real-life phenomenon of Palestinian prisoners whose sperm is smuggled out of Israeli jails so their partners can conceive through artificial insemination.
- From Palestine, Hany Abu Assad’s anticipated thriller “Huda’s salon” is tipped for a Cannes launch. It tells the story of a woman whose visit to a hair salon turns into a nightmare when she is blackmailed by its owner.
- From Tunisia, Leila Bouzid could be back with “A Story Of Love and Desire”, centering on a young French man of Algerian origins who goes through a crucial moment in his life.
- From Morocco, Nabil Ayoush’s “Positive School” could make the cut. A realistic drama set in the cultural center in Casablanca’s Sidi Moumen neighborhood, a poor suburb that became infamous in 2003 due to a terrorist attack perpetrated by locals.
- From Somalia, Khadar Ahmed’s drama “The Gravedigger” which focuses on a devoted couple living in poverty in Djibouti City could be a contender.
- From Chad, Mahamat Saleh Haroun’s “Lingui” is said to be a solid contender. A woman, Amina, lives alone with her only child, the fifteen-year-old Maria. When Amina learns Maria is not only pregnant but wishes to abort the child, the two women’s lives are forever changed.
- Chadian France-based director Mahamat Saleh Haroun’s new film LIngui is also ready. Haroun was last in Cannes with Hissein Habre, A Chadian Tragedy in 2016 and won the jury prize for A Screaming Man in 2010. His new film follows the travails of a 30-year mother whose teenage daughter wants an abortion for an unplanned pregnancy. But abortion is illegal in Chad where it is considered an immoral act.