Saturday, May 18, 2024

Initial Reactions To The 2024 Cannes Film Festival Lineup

The 2024 Cannes Film Festival lineup was announced earlier this morning, and all over the world, cinephiles rejoiced as the world’s greatest film festival unveiled its offerings for its 77th edition. Festival director Thierry Frémaux took the stage, declaring that after last year’s historical festival, which saw the world premiere of not one, not two, but three Best Picture Oscar nominees with “Anatomy Of A Fall,” “Killers Of The Flower Moon,” and “The Zone Of Interest” audiences should be just as excited for this year’s festival despite the limitations placed on American productions due to the 2023 Hollywood strikes. American cinema still had a presence, but the overall crop of films is still highly exciting, with many newcomers to the Croisette and returning icons, including Francis Ford Coppola, Paul Schrader, and David Cronenberg. In our preview piece by Joe Hoeffner yesterday, titled “Will Cannes Be An Oscar Launching Pad Again This Year?,” four of the six films he predicted might get their Oscar campaigns started at Cannes were announced (Audrey Diwan’s “Emmanuelle” we’re being told was rejected by the festival and Mike Leigh’s “Hard Truths” opted for a fall film festival premiere).

As stated above, after a run of success these past few years, which saw a heavy American influence on the festival, the first thing about this year’s lineup that immediately jumped out at me was how, yes, maybe there isn’t anything as big as a “Killers Of The Flower Moon” playing at the festival, but there are some who believe despite its less than enthusiastic initial screening for friends and various studio heads Francis Ford Coppola’s self-funded passion project “Megalopolis” is this year’s main attraction. Will the European audience of Cannes be kinder to what could be the legendary director’s final film? Speaking of kinder, Yorgos Lanthimos is back so soon after the release of last year’s Oscar and critical darling “Poor Things” with “Kinds Of Kindness,” which sees him reuniting with Academy Award winner Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qualley, Joe Alwyn, and sees him working for the first time with Jesse Plemons, Hong Chau, Mamoudou Athie & Hunter Schafer in his contemporary anthology film. Reuniting with “Dogtooth,” “The Lobster,” and “The Killing Of A Sacred Deer” screenwriter Efthimis Filippou, the film seems to be a return to this unorthodox, dark style of filmmaking he displayed with those previous features as indicated by the teaser trailer which was released a few days ago.Playing out of competition at this year’s festival is George Miller’s return to the desert with “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” following the critical and awards success of “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Kevin Costner is betting the farm (literally) on his multi-part western film series “Horizon: An American Saga,” which will screen Part One (slated for theatrical release on June 28th from Universal Pictures). Evan Johnson, Galen Johnson, and Guy Maddin are all collaborating with “Rumors,” starring Cate Blanchett, Alicia Vikander, and Charles Dance, in a story described as “world leaders meet at the G7 but get lost in the woods while trying to compose a joint statement.” Quentin Dupieux’s “The Second Act” will open this year’s festival.

Other prominent headline names include Academy Award-nominee Paul Schrader’s “Oh, Canada,” starring Richard Gere, Jacob Elordi, Uma Thurman, Michael Imperioli, and Kristine Froseth. The story delves into the life of a tormented writer on the brink of death and might be the 77-year-old filmmaker’s final film as he’s slowing down with age (although he’s been saying this for a while). Previous Palme d’Or winner Jacques Audiard (“The Sisters Brothers” and “Paris, 13th District“) will garner lots of attention for his musical crime comedy film “Emilia Perez” starring Karla Sofía Gascón, Selena Gomez, Zoe Saldaña and Édgar Ramírez while the master of body horror himself David Cronenberg (“Crimes Of The Future“) will return to the Croisette for a seventh time with “The Shrouds” starring Vincent Cassel, Diane Kruger, and Guy Pearce. American independent filmmaker Sean Baker (“The Florida Project” and “Red Rocket“) will premiere his third feature film in a row at Cannes with “Anora,” featuring rising young star Mikey Madison in the lead role. And Andrea Arnold will also bring her third feature film in a row to Cannes after “American Honey” and “Cow,” with “Bird” starring Barry Keoghan and Franz Rogowski. But none of these are going to ruffle feathers and draw upon them as much scrutiny and eyeballs as Ali Abbasi’s Donald Trump biopic, “The Apprentice,” starring Sebastian Stan, the former disgraced President of the United States alongside Jeremy Strong, Maria Bakalova and Martin Donovan. Following the international success of his previous two films, “Border” and “Holy Spider,” many predicted Abbasi would transition and make his first English language film, and he could not have chosen a more controversial topic which would be making its world premiere during an election year here in the States with Trump to be the Republican nominee.I, and many others, expected Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The End” to be announced for Cannes, but it looks like it might be going to Venice instead. In its place, we received a film I thought would play at Venice given this filmmaker’s history with the festival, Paolo Sorrentino’s “Parthenope” starring Gary Oldman. Shot in black and white, the film is one of the more anticipated at the festival, as is Kirill Serebrennikov’s “Limonov -The Ballad” starring Ben Whishaw as Eduard Limonov, the radical Soviet poet who became a bum in New York, a sensation in France, and a political antihero in Russia. Coralie Fargeat’s (“Revenge“) new film “The Substance,” starring Demi Moore, Margaret Qualley, and Dennis Quaid, will likely shock audiences at the festival as its vague description calls it an “explosive, feminist take on body horror.”

The Un Certain Regard category contains six feature film directorial debuts. One of them is “Armand,” starring Renate Reinsve, from Norwegian filmmaker Halfdan Olav Ullmann Tøndel (he is the grandson of Liv Ullmann and Ingmar Bergman). The Midnight Screenings section sees Noémie Merlant directing and acting in “The Balconettes,” which is described as “Three women in a Marseille apartment get stuck in a heat wave. They find themselves trapped in a terrifying affair and longing for freedom.” Lorcan Finnegan’s “The Surfer” stars Nicolas Cage as a man who returns to his beachside hometown in Australia many years after building a life for himself in the U.S. He is humiliated in front of his teenage son by a local gang of surfers who claim strict ownership over the secluded beach of his childhood. Wounded, he decides to remain at the beach, declaring war against those controlling the bay. But as the conflict escalates, the stakes spin wildly out of control, taking him to the edge of his sanity…Sounds like your typical bonkers Nicolas Cage revenge film. Playing in the Special Screenings section is “I Am Not Your Negro” director Raoul Peck’s “Ernest Cole: Lost and Found” with narration from LaKeith Stanfield. And Leos Carax (“Holy Motors” and “Annette“) will bring “It’s Not Me” (Or “C’est pas moi”) starring Carax, Denis Lavant and Léa Seydoux to the Cannes Premiere section. Described as “a free-form film, it’s a self-portrait, which revisits more than 40 years of the author’s filmography and questions the major stations of his life, while capturing the political tremors of the time.”There’s so much more to go through regarding this year’s lineup, but at first glance, these titles stood out to me the most. We will hear what’s playing at Critics’ Week and Director’s Fortnight at a later date. Last year, those sections gave us films such as Jason Yu’s “Sleep,” Amjad Al Rasheed’s “Inshallah A Boy,” Michel Gondry’s “The Book Of Solutions,” Joanna Arnow’s “The Feeling That The Time For Doing Something Has Passed,” Pham Thien An’s breathtaking “Inside The Yellow Cocoon Shell” and Sean Price Williams’s outrageously wild “The Sweet East.” While I’m delighted with this year’s lineup, knowing fully well heading in that on paper it wouldn’t look as impressive as last year’s lineup, I’m more excited to finally meet Josh Parham in person for the first time after working together for seven years. Please stay tuned to Next Best Picture for more updates as they get announced, and be sure to follow Parham and me on Twitter as we represent the site at this year’s festival.

Which films stood out most in this year’s Cannes lineup? Is there anything missing you wish had been announced? Are you planning to attend the festival this year? Please let us know in the comments section below or on our Twitter account.

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Matt Neglia
Matt Negliahttps://nextbestpicture.com/
Obsessed about the Oscars, Criterion Collection and all things film 24/7. Critics Choice Member.

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