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18 Films We’re Excited To Watch at the 75th Cannes Film Festival

9 min read

Images Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

Celebrating 75 years of moving image excellence, the is no stranger to advancing the cinematic form. Since its very inception, the festival's beguiling history of combating fascism and supporting unorthodox voices & film movements has continuously provided hope to cinephiles throughout each strenuous decade. We're now at a point where the world is experiencing a gradual collapse within in-person cinema admissions; where festivals such as Cannes are slowly adapting to the recent ever-growing monopoly of streaming & social media. For example, the renowned app ‘Tik Tok' is now an official sponsor of the festival. However, the festival won't go down the streaming rabbit-hole without a grandiose celebration. Akin to their previous editions, this year's Cannes Film Festival selection promises a selection of delectable wonders; a festin of film bound to tantalise any cinephile from around the globe. Cinema may be changing into different streams, but the legacy of the festival will continue to live on. To celebrate the grand occasion, the following is a list of a few lesser talked about features we're dying to see at this year's Cannes Film Festival; spread across the official selection and select side-bar titles. 

Obviously, we're excited for various auteur heavy films: including but not limited to Park Chan-wook's Decision to Leave, Claire Denis' The Stars at Noon, James Gray's Armageddon Time, George Miller's Three Thousand Years of Longing, Luc Dardenne & Jean-Pierre Dardenne's Tori and Lokita, Kelly Reichardt's Showing Up, Quentin Dupieux's Smoking Makes You Cough, David Cronenberg's Crimes of the Future, Ruben Östlund's Triangle of Sadness, and Hirokazu Kore-eda's Broker. However, we wanted to spotlight some other accessible titles, in order to offer a platform towards the festival's mission; to discover new and returning voices within the realm of contemporary cinema with prestigious glitz and glamour!

In no particular order, here are some of our most anticipated titles: 

Moonage Daydream – Dir. Brett Morgen 
As part of the Official Selection – Midnight Screenings

Our Take: Edited and compiled from rare footage acquired from David Bowie's personal archive, Moonage Daydream promises an unconventional music-documentary of a legendary rock-star; reportedly five years in the making. Distributed and produced by Neon; the same company responsible for the North American legacy of Cannes recipients ‘Parasite' and ‘Titane', the colourful stills provided by the festival offer a psychedelic look into the symphonic prowess behind Ziggy Stardust. 

Still Courtesy – Neon
Funny Pages – Dir. Owen Kline
As part of the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs

Our Take: A film reportedly shot in 2017 and stuck in post-production limbo for over five years, the world is now finally ready to witness the glorious comic underbelly of ‘Funny Pages'. Produced by the Safdie Brothers, the directorial debut from Owen Kline — best known for his role as the young child from The Squid and the Whale — is a welcomed coming-of-age odyssey. All we can ask for now (just like in the great vein of Good Time) is a Pepe the Frog cameo to accompany the Elara Pictures legacy. 

Still Courtesy – A24
Enys Men – Dir. Mark Jenkin
As part of the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs

Our Take: After producing boundary-pushing independent work for over two lengthy decades, Mark Jenkin's sophomore feature ‘Enys Men' aims to torment with a mind-altering horror premise; shot on delicate 16mm film-stock. According to production notes and recent behind-the-scenes reportage, the film is apparently similar to the likes of a silent feature; an expressionistic genre film bound to engrave nightmarish images onto any willing passerby. 

Still Courtesy – Protagonist Pictures
Scarlet – Dir. Pietro Marcello
As part of the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs

Our Take: The festival gossip behind this one is quite insane. Initial rumours amidst professional curators and journalists predicted ‘Scarlet' as an official competition title. When Fremaux announced the official selection, Marcello was nowhere to be seen. Many thought a last-minute exchange with Venice occurred; where Pietro and his posse would once again return to the canal; after his successful run with Martin Eden. The following day after Fremaux's announcement, the film landed a spontaneous opening night distinction at this year's Director's Fortnight. A surprising curation choice? Perhaps, but we're still excited for this lush francophone fairy-tale neither the less!

Still Courtesy – Director's Fortnight
Don Juan – Dir. Serge Bozon
As part of the Official Selection – Cannes Premieres 

Our Take: A musical? About love and yearning? At Cannes? Starring the great Tahar Rahim and Virginie Efira? Must be a miracle! A perfect cinematic combo for festival goers who are seeking for a romantic night-out at the Palais, Bozon's frisky Don Juan mixes genre tropes and soothing seduction with the melodic aid & accompaniment of two incredibly talented leads. We're not expecting anything around the bombastic lines of Annette (2021) per-say; but any musical invited to premiere at Cannes should warrant some ovation. 

Still Courtesy – Cannes Film Festival
Pacification – Dir. Albert Serra
As part of the Official Selection – Competition

Our Take: Emerging from the Special Screenings and Un Certain Regard sidebars respectively with controversial titles such as The Death of Louis XIV (2016) & Liberté (2019), the latest from Spanish director Albert Serra is bound to ignite even further discourse amongst cinephiles on the Croisette strip. If anything, a film involving Nuclear warfare, political dribble, the island of Tahiti, and sad French men should at the very least summate to an engaging three-hour slow-burn. 

Still Courtesy – Films Boutique
The Five Devils – Dir. Léa Mysius
As part of the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs

Our Take: Originally speculated for a competition bow, buzz behind the sophomore feature from Léa Mysius has slowly been growing since the Directors Fortnight announcement. High-expectations have already been set, given the success of her previous feature ‘Ava' in the 2017 Critics Week sidebar. With the ambitious synopsis alone, one can only conclude that Mysius' strong directional voice will challenge the demands of her sensory-overloaded premise. 

Still Courtesy – Wild Bunch International
The Woodcutter Story – Dir. Mikko Myllylahti
As part of La

Our Take: We're big fans of the Finnish feature ‘The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki' — which won the prestigious Un Certain Regard prize in 2016. Since the release of Olli Mäki, we've been tracking the work of the cast & crew involved. Juho Kuosmanen would later direct Compartment No. 6, which received the Grand Prix at last year's festival. As for the co-screenwriter of the film, it seems as though Mikko Myllylahti is ready to show the world his directorial debut. Based on information provided by Totem Films, ‘The Woodcutter Story' sounds like a righteous moral-fable; a bold Nordic vision with a talented crew behind the camera. 

Still Courtesy – Totem Pictures
More Than Ever – Dir. Emily Atef
As part of the Official Selection – Un Certain Regard

Our Take: At the age of 37, the late Gaspard Ulliel (It's Only the End of the World, Saint Laurent) passed away after a skiing accident earlier this year. His final feature, a romance co-starring Vicky Krieps & Liv Ullmann, is set for a posthumous premiere. Adequately enough — for Ulliel's final role — the project also seems to tackle a confrontation with death itself; as Krieps' character in the film chooses to live her final days in Norway with her partner. A perfect final film for one of the greatest actors of our millennial generation? One can only hope so. 

Still Courtesy – Cannes Film Festival
Paris Memories – Dir. Alice Winocour
As part of the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs

Our Take: For my own money, Alice Winocour is easily one of the most refreshing Parisian director exports in recent memory. From Disorder to Proxima, Winocour's work is frequently humanist and uncompromising. Her new film entitled ‘Paris Memories' details the psychological aftermath of a terrorist attack. The film stars Virginie Efira in the lead role, in a film revolving around the cycles of trauma and the art of psychological rehabilitation. 

Still Courtesy – Director's Fortnight
Eo – Dir. Jerzy Skolimowski
As part of the Official Selection – Competition

Our Take: An unorthodox remake of the beloved Robert Bresson film ‘Au Hasard Balthazar', the latest from acclaimed Polish auteur Jezry Skolimowski is bound to flirt with the realm of adaptation and stark contemporary realism. An adorable donkey, Isabelle Huppert, and a classic story about retaining innocence in the face of great adversity! 

Still Courtesy – Cannes Film Festival
The Eight Mountains – Dir. Felix van Groeningen & Charlotte Vandermeersch
As part of the Official Selection – Competition

Our Take: For fans of Beautiful Boy and The Broken Circle Breakdown, the warm empathetic humanism which radiates from a typical van Groeningen production has consistently provided various delightful cinematic experiences. In his latest feature, in collaboration with actress and creative partner Charlotte Vandermeersch, The Eight Mountains provides a tender look at camaraderie and friendship; told prevalently within the distant Italian mountains. 

Still Courtesy – Cannes Film Festival
The Silent Twins – Dir. Agnieszka Smoczyńska
As part of the Official Selection – Un Certain Regard

Our Take: For anyone who was able to attend La Semaine De La Critique in 2019, attendees were treated to a domestic drama that played expertly in the hands of perception. The film was entitled Fugue, directed by the great newcomer Polish talent Agnieszka Smoczyńska. In her English language debut; a collaboration with Focus Features, her languid eye for magical realism turns to the face of social alienation — depicting a tragic real-life event. Starring Letitia Wright (Black Panther) and Tamara Lawrence (On Chesil Beach), Agnieszka Smoczyńska's The Silent Twins looks promising to say the least. 

Still Courtesy – Focus Features
Sick of Myself – Dir. Kristoffer Borgli
As part of the Official Selection – Un Certain Regard

Our Take: Sometimes, all you need is one killer synopsis to sell someone on a movie. In the case of Kristoffer Borgli's Sick of Myself, the film's plot is simple and emotionally complex. Following a toxic relationship, couple Signe and Thomas's romance is turned upside down when Signe decides to retaliate against Thomas' breakthrough as a contemporary artist. In an attempt to gather attention and sympathy from the lives of others, she creates a persona. Produced by Oslo Pictures (The Worst Person in the World), we're hoping for a deeply satirical look at creative performativity. 

Still Courtesy – Oslo Pictures
Little Nicholas – Happy as Can Be
As part of the Official Selection – Special Screenings

Our Take: As the sole animated feature participating at this year's Cannes Film Festival, the latest in the on-growing legacy of the Petite Nicholas franchise appears as the youthful underdog of this year's official selection. Already selected as an Annecy competition title, we're positively excited to return to the lush comic-strip fantasia that we know and love. Sometimes, a nice little animated french film is the ultimate palette cleanser after binging countless of stark realist films. 

Still Courtesy – Cannes Film Festival
Godland – dir. Hlynur Pálmason
As part of the Official Selection – Un Certain Regard

Our take: As fans of the Winter Brothers and A White White Day, including the latest film from Hlynur Pálmason onto our list was a no-brainer. His delicate mise-en-scène transports his viewer to the chilly landscapes of Iceland. His latest feature entitled Godland is a spiritual epic of sorts; a tale of mortality and religion which aims at distinctly criticising the dangers of assimilation. 

Still Courtesy – New European Film Sales
Tchaikovsky's Wife – dir. Kirill Serebrennikov
As part of the Official Selection – Competition

Our Take: Third times the charm! After competing twice previously with Leto and Petrov's Flu, Serebrennikov returns to the croisette to premiere his unorthodox period-piece. The anti-Russian state director may also finally attend the festival for the first time in a long-while. After being wrongfully pressed under false allegations and a subsequent pressure for house-arrest, the director has since fled Russia and will be finally able to premiere his latest feature at the festival. Petrov's Flu was one of the best features to premiere at last year's Cannes Film Festival, and we are deeply excited to see what's in store this year; given how rare it is for a director to compete two years in a row.

Still Courtesy – Cannes Film Festival
Holy Spider – dir. Ali Abbasi
As part of the Official Selection – Competition

Our Take: When Border (2018) premiered in Un Certain Regard, festival audiences were blown away by the film's sophisticated contemporary allegory and folklore. Departing from his Scandinavian lens, Abbasi is now focusing on an Iranian true-crime tale. Adapted from true events, Holy Spider is an intense serial-killer thriller; utilising the instigation of journalism as a narrative tool to unveil the frightening reality of societal complicity. 

Still Courtesy – Cannes Film Festival

The 75th Cannes Film Festival runs from May 17th – May 28th