Cannes Film Festival, among the most prestigious events on the film circuit, opened today. So, get ready to whet your appetite as the reviews start pouring in about the films that everyone’s going to be talking about for the rest of the year.
In anticipation of the next 11 days of the major film festival, here is our pick of some of the most exciting or buzzy films in this year’s selection. Keep an eye on this lot.
Jeanne Du Barry
All eyes are undoubtedly going to be on Maïwenn’s latest film Jeanne Du Barry – which opened the festival today – in part because it marks Johnny Depp’s return to the screen after his very public defamation trial, and also because it has Depp dressed up in his finest playing a French King. Depp portrays Louis XV, the grandfather of the last King of France, Louis XVI, while director-actor Maïwenn stars as Madame du Barry, his last Maîtresse-en-titre. It’s all about her rise to the top of the French court.
Wes Anderson’s latest is a story about a group of students and parents who gather in an American desert town in 1955 for a junior stargazing convention. But then there’s a major disruption, which looks likely to be aliens. The parents and kids quickly get cordoned off by the army, and then the real fun begins. As usual there’s a stellar cast: with Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Tilda Swinton, Liev Schreiber and Margot Robbie joining Anderson favourites Jason Schwartzman, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody and Willem Dafoe.
Alice Rohrwacher’s latest film stars The Crown’s Josh O’Connor as a British archeologist who gets drawn into the illegal world of black marketing historical artefacts in the Eighties. Isabella Rossellini also stars as a retired opera singer, while Alba Rohrwacher portrays an artefacts trafficker.
The Old Oak
The Old Oak will be Ken Loach’s last film, as the 86-year-old director of The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006) and I, Daniel Blake (2016) announced his retirement from filmmaking back in April. He plans to end his career on a hopeful note, with The Old Oak telling the worthy story of a pub landlord in an ex-mining town in Durham who ends up making friends with a woman who has arrived in the town as part of a group of Syrian refugees. The Guardian described the film as being about “people coming together and trying to build the impossible”.
The latest film of Carol (2015) and Dark Waters (2019) directorTodd Haynes will tell the story of actress Elizabeth Berry (Natalie Portman) who moves to Maine to study Gracie Atherton-Yu (Julianne Moore) – a woman who she is going to play in a film. But as Berry starts asking the harder questions about Atherton-Yu’s life, she also starts to put real pressure on Atherton-Yu’s relationship with her husband Joe (Charles Melton).
Brazilian film director Karim Aïnouz brings historical drama Firebrand to Cannes this year. It stars Alicia Vikander as Katherine Parr and Jude Law as Henry VIII, which means we were sold about the film from the off. But the premise is pretty thrilling too. The film will follow Katherine as she navigates English court and becomes King Henry’s sixth and last wife. The script has been written by Jessica Ashworth and Henrietta Ashworth, who wrote episodes of Killing Eve and Dixi.
Strange Way of Life
Just half an hour long, Pedro Almodóvar’s Western drama short Strange Way of Life is still going to pack a major punch. The internet’s curent daddy of choice Pedro Pascal stars opposite Ethan Hawke, with the pair playing Silva and Sheriff Jake: two former gunslingers in the Wild West who used to work together decades ago. Silva rides across the desert to see Jake, but it becomes clear that the meeting is not just a friendly get together. Yee-haw!
Out of Competition:
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
What is an Indiana Jones movie doing at Cannes, you may well ask. And you’re not the only one. But the world premiere of James Mangold’s latest film has precedent: in 2008, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (directed by Steven Spielberg) was also shown at the festival. This time, the final instalment of the saga will include a special tribute to Harrison Ford and his extraordinary career. Set in 1969, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny once again follows the archeologist as he goes on a major adventure.
Killers of the Flower Moon
Martin Scorsese’s latest film made the papers for being a reported whopping three hours and 26 minutes long. Despite the astounding runtime – or perhaps because of it – it’s still one of the festival’s most hotly-anticipated films. It not only stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, John Lithgow, Brendan Fraser and Jesse Plemons, but it will be the first time that Scorsese is showing a film at Cannes in 37 years.
The story is based on the 2017 best-selling non-fiction book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, by New Yorker staff writer David Grann. It details a series of murders of a Midwestern Native American tribe known as The Osage Nation in the Twenties in Oklahoma. The killings coincided with large oil deposits being found on their land.
Closing the festival:
Peter Sohn’s Elemental is set to close Cannes, making it the fourth Pixar Animation Studios feature film to be shown in the Official Selection at the festival. Produced by Disney and Pixar, it tells the story of a city where different elements – fire, water, land and air people – all live together. The story focuses on the friendship between Ember Lumen (Leah Lewis), a fire element, and Wade Ripple (Mamoudou Athie), a water element.