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Cannes 2024: What’s In The Mix? (Part 2)

Roll up, roll up for Part 2 of our Cannes Film Festival preview, this time with a focus on international, mainly non-English-language fare. If you didn’t catch Andreas’ English-language-focused Part 1, check it out.

As the fest basks in the warm glow of the Oscar wins for 2023 Palme d’Or winner Anatomy of a Fall and Grand Jury Prize winner The Zone of Interest, delegate general Thierry Frémaux and his team are furiously tying up the 2024 Official Selection.

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With less than four weeks to go until the bulk of the 77th edition (running May 14-25) is revealed at the press conference in Paris on April 11, we’ve rounded up a host of the titles ready and in the running for a splash in either Official Selection or the main parallel sections of Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week.

The registration deadline was March 15, with March 22 the official cut-off for submissions to arrive at the festival headquarters for screening by the selection committee.

A number of Cannes habitués are out of the frame this year, including Pedro Almodóvar, who is in production on Julianne Moore and Tilda Swinton picture The Room Next Door, and Ruben Östlund, who is in development on airplane disaster movie The Entertainment System Is Down.

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Will this leave space for Cannes first-timers, both established and emerging? Below are our updates.

Europe

Hotly tipped French movies referenced in part one of our preview included Audrey Diwan’s reimagining of Emmanuelle, which has yet to decide between Cannes or Venice; François Ozon’s 24th feature When Fall Is Coming; Leos Carax’s medium-length work It’s Not Me; Noémie Merlant’s The Balconettes; Arnaud Desplechin’s Filmlovers!; and Palme d’Or winner Jacques Audiard’s intriguing crime-musical Emilia Perez, starring Zoe Saldana and Selena Gomez.

Additional French titles by established directors we hear are ready for a potential Cannes splash include Patricia Mazuy’s Les Prisonnières, starring Isabelle Huppert and Hafsia Herzi as women who bond while visiting their husbands in prison; Christophe Honoré Marcello Mio in which Chiara Mastroianni takes on the ghost of her father Marcello Mastroianni, with support from mother Catherine Deneuve, Fabrice Luchini and Melvil Poupaud; Emmanuel Mouret’s relationship drama Three Friends, with Camille Cottin, India Hair and Vincent Macaigne; Alain Guiraudie’s Miséricorde; Robert Guedignan’s La Pie Voleuse; and Quentin Dupieux’s latest absurdist comedy A Notre Beau Métier.

A younger generation of French hopefuls include Delphine and Muriel Coulin with Vincent Lindon-starring father-and-son drama The Quiet Son, Ludovic and Zoran Boukherma with coming-of-age tale And Their Children After Them, Antoine Chevrollier with Block Pass, Céline Sallette with Niki, and Emma Benestan’s revenge drama Animale starring Divines discovery Oulaya Amamra. France-based Italian director Giovanni Aloi’s crime thriller Hunting Ground is also submitted.

Fingers are also crossed for Mauritius-set, French colonial-era slavery drama No Chains, No Masters, the directorial feature debut of screenwriter Simon Moutaïrou, whose writing credits include hit thriller Black Box and the political drama Goliath.

A posthumous Cannes selection could also be on the cards with the submission of late director Sophie Fillières’ This Life of Mine, starring Agnès Jaoui as a woman whose sense of self starts to unravel as she turns 55. Filllières died shortly after completing the shoot and her children have dedicated themselves to finishing post-production.

Beating Hearts
‘Beating Hearts’

Gilles Lellouche’s modern Romeo and Juliet tale Beating Hearts (L’Amour Ouf), starring Adèle Exarchopoulos and Three Musketeers heartthrob François Civil, was also being pushed as a potential Cannes title at the Unifrance Rendez-Vous in Paris in January, but it’s not certain post-production will be completed in time.

Another big-budget French production tipped for a potential splash is Matthieu Delaporte and Alexandre de la Patellière’s The Count Of Monte Cristo starring Pierre Niney, which is due to hit French cinemas on June 28.

Other movies produced out of France that are ready and submitted include exiled Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov’s Joseph Mengele thriller Disappearance, starring German actor August Diehl as the notorious Nazi doctor, and South African filmmaker Pia Marais’ Amazon Forest-set contemporary missionary and illegal logging drama Transamazonia.

Out of Italy, there is still a question mark over whether Paolo Sorrentino will return with Parthenope, having previously debuted six films in Competition including Oscar winner The Great Beauty.

Other potential Italian returnees include directorial duo Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza with Mafia tale Lettere A Catello, starring Toni Servillo and Elio Germano. Their films Salvo and Sicilian Ghost Story played in Cannes Critics’ Week.

Further Italian titles confirmed as in the running include Michele Placido’s Eternal Visionary starring Fabrizio Bentivoglio as Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello on a soul-searching train journey to Stockholm.

The intriguing English-language Italian-produced Opera! a contemporary re-telling of Orpheus and Eurydice, has also been submitted. Directed by famed opera world duo Davide Livermore and Paolo Gep Cucco, cast includes Vincent Cassel, Fanny Ardant, Caterina Murino and Roissy de Palma.

The Italian lead-produced French-language period drama Le Déluge, starring Guillaume Canet and Mélanie Laurent as Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette in the days before execution and directed Paolo Sorrentino protégé Gianluca Jodice is also a buzzy submission.

Other high-end Italian auteur fare currently in post-production includes Gabriele Salvatores’ immigration drama Napoli – New York, developing a treatment written by Federico Fellini in the 1940s and featuring Pierfrancesco Favino in the cast, but we haven’t heard back yet whether this is eyeing Cannes.

In an update since part one, we’ve heard that Johnny Depp’s Italian painter biopic Modi is firmly in post and will not be ready for Cannes.

Spanish titles generating buzz include Fernando Trueba’s love triangle tale Haunted Heart, starring Juan Pablo Urrego, Matt Dillon and Aida Folch, and Goya winner Pilar Palomero’s second film Glimmers, a literary adaptation co-starring 20,000 Species of Bees lead Patricia López Arnaiz and Antonio de la Torre (The Movie Teller). No confirmation on submissions for these.

However, we’ve had it confirmed that Portuguese Cannes habitué Miguel Gomes’ ambitious new multilingual work Grand Tour is completed and angling for a Cannes splash. The British Empire drama stars Crista Alfaiate as a jilted bride who pursues her runaway civil servant fiancé (Gonçalo Waddington) across Asia.

‘Grand Tour’
‘Grand Tour’

As per part one, UK Cannes aspirants include Andrea Arnold’s Bird and Athina Rachel Tsangari’s Harvest with Caleb Landry Jones; for the latter we have since heard that Sixteen Films is working hard to have finished for a potential Cannes berth. Few British companies have stronger ties to Cannes than Ken Loach and Rebecca O’Brien’s outfit.

A second Sixteen Films production, Scotland-based Portuguese filmmaker Laura Carreira’s debut feature On Falling, about a migrant warehouse worker in Edinburgh, is also eyeing a Cannes debut.

Emma Mackey, Vicky Krieps and Fiona Shaw drama Hot Milk marks the directorial debut of Ida and She Said scribe Rebecca Lenkiewicz. The anticipated Film4-backed project has been submitted to Cannes and likely many a festival would be happy to have it this year.

Irish director Aislinn Clarke’s second feature Fréwaka, which has been billed as the first-ever Irish-language horror, is angling for a Midnight slot.

Nordic submissions include Magnus von Horn’s black-and-white drama The Girl With the Needle, inspired by the real-life story of child killer Dagmar Overbye. Von Horn’s first film The Here After played in Directors’ Fortnight while his second film Sweat received the Cannes 2020 pandemic-era label.

Also completed and in the running are Danish filmmaker Frederik Louis Hviid’s The Quiet Ones, inspired by a real-life 2008 heist and starring Reda Kateb, Gustav Giese and Amanda Collin.

Hot first film submissions from the region include Norwegian director Lilja Ingolfsdottir’s divorce drama Loveable, produced by The Worst Person in the World‘s Thomas Robsahm.

Benelux hopefuls include Japan-set child custody drama A Missing Part by Guillaume Senez and starring Romain Duris; Fabrice Du Welz’s crime thriller Maldoror, featuring Béatrice Dalle in the cast; and César Diaz’s Mexico 86, starring Bérénice Bejo as a Guatemalan rebel activist reunited with her son a decade after she fled to Mexico leaving him behind.

Emerging director Leonardo Van Dijl’s sports-world abuse drama Julie Keeps Quiet is being tipped for Critics’ Week or Un Certain Regard.

Tallulah Schwab’s surreal English-language, Netherlands-Belgian co-production Mr. K, starring Crispin Glover as a travelling magician stuck in a Kafkaesque nightmare when he is unable to leave a bizarre labyrinthine hotel, is another buzzy submission out of the region.

German comedy 2:1, starring Sandra Hüller, has a summer release and seems a long shot but actress of the moment Hüller did get her big Cannes break in another German comedy, Toni Erdmann.

Out of Eastern & Central Europe, frontrunners include Georgian director Dea Kulumbegashvili’s second feature Those Who Find Me, about a dedicated obstetrician-gynecologist whose life falls apart when she is accused of negligence following the death of a newborn child in her care.

Emerging talents angling for a Cannes splash include Slovenian director Urška Djukić with coming-of-age tale Little Trouble Girls and Croatian filmmaker Bruno Anković’s timely drama Celebration, an adaptation of Damir Karaka’s novel exploring connections between World War II fascism and contemporary extremism.

Ildiko Enyedi’s Silent Friend with Tony Leung (supposedly about “tales told from the perspective of a lonely old tree standing in the middle of a botanical garden”) is in production, so a fall festival or 2025 launch is on the cards for this one.

Asia

Frontrunners from Asia are Singaporean director Eric Khoo’s Japan-shot Spirit World, starring Catherine Deneuve as a legendary singer who embarks on a journey through the afterlife, and Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Serpent’s Path, a French adaptation of his eponymous 1988 thriller.

Khoo was last in Official Selection in 2011 with animated Un Certain Regard title Tatsumi and was a Palme d’Or contender with father-and-son drama My Magic in 2008. Kurosawa has debuted seven films in Cannes including Before We Vanish (2017), Journey to the Shore (2016) and Tokyo Sonata (2008).

Out of China, Qiu Sheng’s second solo feature The Father’s Son, inspired by his process of remembering his late father is also in ready and submitted. The filmmaker previously made waves on the festival circuit with Suburban Birds.

There’s also buzz around Philippine filmmaker Janus Victoria’s first feature Diamonds in the Sand, starring Hirokazu Kore-eda collaborator and Shoplifters co-star Lily Franky as a Japanese man who moves to the Philippines in belief he will never be lonely.

Out of Indonesia, director Mouly Surya’s long-awaited post-independence epic This City is a Battlefield and Tumpal Tampubolon’s thriller Crocodile Tears could also be in the mix.

Vietnamese filmmaker Minh Quý Trương’s Viêt and Nam, about two coalminers who dream of a better future above ground and overseas, and Myanmar director The Maw Naings women’s rights drama Ma, inspired by the country’s 2012 garment workers strikes, are also generating buzz.

Upcoming auteur titles from the region that will not be ready include Thai director Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s Bangkok-set psychological thriller Morte Cucina, which is in production, and Bi Gan’s sci-fi work Resurrection, which is in pre-production. There’s a question mark over whether Jia Zhangke’s We Shall Be All will finish post-production in time.

Getting Hayao Miyazaki to an international festival for The Boy and the Heron proved difficult, but the Ghibli founder could be showcased this year on the circuit via an under-the-radar documentary. First aired by Japanese broadcaster NHK late last year, we hear an international version of the doc about the making of Ghibli’s latest hit and the iconic but press-shy company founder could potentially go to a festival or market this year. If it isn’t ready for Cannes, Annecy would make a lot of sense. It’s sure to be lapped up by the studio’s legion of fans.

Kore-eda has been in post since late last year on a Samurai-themed drama series for a streamer. The filmmaker told us last week that he isn’t sure where or when it’ll launch and it’s firmly in post so Cannes seems unlikely, but festivals this year would surely love to have it in some form.

Middle East & Africa

‘Aïcha’
‘Aïcha’

Speculated submissions out of the Middle East and North Africa include Tunisian director Mehdi Barsaoui’s Aïcha, Saudi director Ahd Kamel’s My Driver and I, Ameer Fakher Eldin‘s Yunan and Palestinian director Laila Abbas’ West Bank-set inheritance law comedy-drama Thank You For Banking With Us!

Aïcha is Barsaoui’s second feature after A Son, which world premiered in Venice’s Horizons section in 2019. The new drama follows a woman whose attempts to assume a new identity after she is presumed dead in a road accident.

My Driver and I is the debut feature of high-profile Saudi actress Kamel, whose credits include Ramy, Collateral and Wadjda. The coming-of-age tale revolves around the unlikely friendship between a young Jeddah girl and her Sudanese driver, played by You Will Die at 20 star Mustafa Shehata.

If it makes the cut in Official Selection or one of the parallel sections, it will be Saudi Arabia’s first feature film to world premiere at Cannes since the lifting of its cinema ban in 2017.

Yunan is the second feature from Kyiv-born, Syrian-parentage director Fakher Eldin after The Stranger, which debuted in Venice in 2021 and went on to represent Palestine at the Oscars. The new film revolves around a disillusioned, exiled writer who travels to a remote island in the North Sea.

Buzzy submissions out of Egypt include Mohamed Siam’s father-and-son tale Colonia, in which secrets are uncovered in a long night of settling old scores; Khaled Mansour’s Seeking Haven For Mr Rambo, in which a man battles to save his beloved dog; and Omar Brakry’s intriguing silent black-and-white film Abdo & Saneya, about an Egyptian peasant couple which emigrates to New York without any notion of American life in search of a cure for their infertility.

Nabil Ayouch’s upcoming feature Everyone Loves Touda has also been cited on some prediction round-ups, but with the Moroccan director recently posting on Instagram that he is on set with the film, it will be going on our 2025 fest list.

Continental African stories in the mix include Somali-Canadian rapper and singer K’naan Warsame’s feature directorial debut Mother, Mother starring Maan Youssouf Ahmed as a struggling widowed cattle herder who takes an unexpected route when offered the right of revenge against her son’s killer.

Latin America

We hear Karim Aïnouz’s Brazil-shot erotic thriller Motel Destino is ready for a Cannes shot. A question marks hangs over Argentinian filmmaker Lucrecia Martel’s long-awaited hybrid project Chocobar (which has been years in the making and on many annual Cannes lists), about murdered indigenous leader Javier Chocobar.

There’s also a question mark over Mexican director Michel Franco’s Dreams, which he shot last summer under the radar in San Francisco with Jessica Chastain, Isaac Hernandez and Rupert Friend.

Mexican director Carlos Reygadas’ Wake of Umbra has been cited on some Cannes prediction list but Polish producer Klaudia Śmieja-Rostworowska at Madants told Deadline that the movie is currently shooting its Polish part.

We’ve also heard that Brazilian director Walter Salles is currently in post on I’m Still Here and will not be ready for Cannes. The political drama tells the true story of housewife-turned-activist Eunice Paiva whose opposition politician husband disappeared at the beginning of Brazil’s 21-year military regime in 1964.

Andreas Wiseman, Liz Shackleton and Zac Ntim contributed to this article.

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