Cannes Film Festival Anticipation, Observations and Predictions

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Cannes Film Festival Anticipation, Observations and Predictions

This year’s Cannes Film Festival’s is less than a week away as the 70th edition of the festival includes many starry titles like Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck and Michael Haneke’s Happy End. There weren’t too many surprises in the competition, but the sidebar programs look strong. I will be attending the festival for the first time, so here are my most anticipated films, some observation, and predictions.

Haneke’s social-political return

Anticipating a Michael Haneke film isn’t hard, especially when it deals with the refugee crisis and stars many of Haneke’s key collaborators. Happy End boasts a large ensemble cast with the likes of Isabelle Huppert and Jean-Louis Trintignant. It is hard to say what the film will be like, but it notably is one of Haneke’s shorter films at 110 minutes.

Moore and Haynes reteam

After lighting the festival on fire in 2015, Todd Haynes will return to the festival with his adaptation of the children’s book Wonderstruck, written by the same author as Hugo. The film stars a deaf actress, Michelle Williams, and Julianne Moore. This is expected to be a heartwarming, crowd-pleaser but Haynes’ austere side remained intact – half of the film is shot as a silent film.

Hong Sang-soo is the busiest working director

I was disappointed when Hong Sang-soo’s Clair’s Camera was announced in the Special Screening’s section. The film stars Huppert and was filmed during the festival last year, so it seemed like a shoe-in. However, when the competition announcements were taking place another Sang-soo film was announced. Not much is known about The Day After, but this means that the prolific Korean director will have premiered three films within six months.

Loznitsa brings his latest narrative film

A highly acclaimed Ukrainian documentarian and narrative director adapting one of Russia’s most prolific 19th-century writers is essential on its own. Sergei Loznitsa’s A Gentle Creature inspired by a Dostoyevsky short story could be one of the more ambitious and impactful films of the competition. 

Kiarostami posthumous return

After last year’s tragic death of prolific Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, many wondered what would happen with his last feature film 24 Frames. It is only appropriate that the Palme d’Or winning director’s final film premieres at a festival that has been kind to him throughout the years. Not much is known about this project except that it includes many four and a half minute shorts stitched together.

KStew returns with her directorial debut

Kristen Stewart has had a strong couple of years at the Cannes Film Festival and this year she will be returning with her directorial debut, a short film called Come Swim. The film is premiering in the special “70th Anniversary Events.” Could this mean that we should expect to see her in the jury?

Kurosawa tackles alien abduction

Kiyoshi Kurosawa is regarded as a master of Japanese horror films and he is among good company when it comes to world genre filmmaker’s representation at this year’s Cannes festival. Before We Vanish is about three aliens who travel to Earth to possess human bodies. It sounds as dark and creepy as one would expect from the horror master.

Baumbach’s surprise competition spot

Maybe the biggest surprise of the announcement was Thierry Fremaux adding Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories to the competition selection. The film stars Adam Sandler, Emma Thompson and Ben Stiller, which makes it interesting enough to make this list.

7 directorial debuts in UCR

In a competition that is so auteur-heavy, it is always assuring to see a good showing of first-time directors in the sidebars. I anticipate seeing which of these young filmmakers breaks out and returns to the festival in subsequent years.

Agnès Varda’s documentary about France

One of the finest documentarians of her time coming out of alleged retirement to premiere Visages, Villages is an event on its own. My only complaint is that it isn’t in the competition.

Fremaux promises more films being added to Un Certain Regard and In Competition. Of these, I expect Roman Polanski’s Based on a True Story. Notably, there is a lack of Ibero-American filmmakers and Middle East and North African filmmakers. I am wondering if Fremaux is waiting for Carlos Reygadas’ latest film, which is reportedly in post-production.

There were many titles that were expected that didn’t show up. These could show up later or in Director’s Fortnight, which is announced next week: Ruben Östlund’s The Square, Claire Denis’ Des lunettes noites, Joachim Trier’s Thelma and Clio Barnard’s Dark River. Meanwhile, I am hoping that Lav Diaz’s When the Waves are Gone and Hirokazu Kore-eda’s The Third Murder.

As for completion predictions, I think the Palme d’Or will probably come down to Wonderstruck, Happy End or A Gentle Creature. François Ozon’s L’amant double is a likely dark horse considering Jury President Pedro Almodóvar and Ozon have similar sensibilities.