Now that the official lineup for this year's Cannes Film Festival is out, the predictions have been pouring in about which movie are the most anticipated among attendees. As usual, several big titles are showing out of competition including Baz Luhrmann's Elvis, Joseph Kosinski’s Top Gun: Maverick, Michel Hazanavicius' Final Cut, and George Miller's Three Thousand Years of Longing.
However, the titles playing in competition for the Palme d’Or and Un Certain Regard categories are our focus here. Featuring a selection of films from first-time feature film directors to directors who have been making features for decades — including David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future, one of A.frame's most anticipated horror movies of the year — here are 15 of our most anticipated films vying for recognition at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
Writer-director James Gray (Ad Astra, The Immigrant) is already a familiar name at Cannes with four previous films up for the Palme d’Or. Here he channels his own experiences growing up in Queens in the 1980s for this New Jersey-shot drama starring Anne Hathaway, Anthony Hopkins, and Jeremy Strong. The film reunites the filmmaker with renowned cinematographer Darius Khondji, with whom he last worked on The Lost City of Z.
Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda (Shoplifters) returns with this South Korean production starring Song Kang-Ho. The drama offers an incisive look at social issues, revolving around a "baby box facility" where one infant dropped off and taken home soon leads to a concerned, second-guessing mother and two cops on the trail. (Watch the trailer.)
Acclaimed Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski (Four Nights with Anna) delivers his first feature in seven years with this look at the joys and pitfalls of the modern world as seen through the eyes of an optimistic donkey in Europe. Isabelle Huppert stars in this modern twist on Robert Bresson's 1966 drama Au hasard Balthazar.
Father and Soldier
The second narrative feature film from French filmmaker Mathieu Vadepied stars Omar Sy, with whom Vadepied worked on the 2011 comedy-drama The Intouchables (as a cinematographer). Shot in France and Senegal, the World War I film tells the story of a father who enlists in the French army in 1917 to join his 17-year-old son, who was recruited against his will. Sent to the front lines, they find themselves facing the war together in the French colony of Senegal.
Decision to Leave
Park Chan-wook (The Handmaiden, Oldboy) is bound to surprise again with this self-described "murder mystery romance." When a man falls to his death from a mountain, the investigating detective (Park Hae-il) becomes drawn to the deceased's seemingly unrattled widow.
The crime thriller from Iranian-Danish filmmaker Ali Abbasi (Border, Shelley) is a look at misguided religious fervor. A serial killer known as the Spider Killer preys on sex workers in the Iranian holy city of Mashhad, and a journalist descends into the dark underbelly of the city attempting to root him out. (Watch the trailer.)
Iranian filmmaker Saeed Roustayi's drama looks at the delicate nature of family dynamics from the perspective of 40-year-old Leila, the provider for her family, including her parents and four brothers. When she finds out that her father has been scheming behind her back, the balance of the entire household could crumble.
Italian-French actress and filmmaker Valeria Bruni Tedeschi (The Summer House) delivers a comedy-drama about the lives of several aspiring actors in 1980s Paris embarking upon their careers and being launched at full speed into life and love.
After a string of acclaimed shorts, French filmmaker Lola Quivoron makes her feature film directorial debut with this drama about a young daredevil, Julia, who becomes a part of a predominantly male group of stunt performers on high-speed motorcycles. Viewers may want to fasten their seatbelts for this one. (Watch the trailer.)
Known for her incisive and atmospheric indies like Wendy and Lucy and First Cow, Kelly Reichardt is back with a comedy-drama that features four-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams starring as a sculptor trying to find a balance between her need to create art and the demands of her family.
The Silent Twins
Polish director Agnieszka Smoczyńska (The Lure), delivers a based on a true story drama featuring Tamara Lawrance and Letitia Wright. Adapted from Marjorie Wallace's book of the same name, The Silent Twins tells the story of twins who only communicate with one another. As a result, they create a rich, fascinating world to escape the reality of their own lives.
Stars at Noon
Claire Denis has been at the forefront of the French filmmaking scene since her 1999 breakthrough Beau travail. Now the French writer-director returns to Cannes with an adaptation of a Denis Johnson novel. Her romantic thriller stars Margaret Qualley as an American reporter in 1984 Nicaragua whose relationship with an English businessman puts the two in a dangerous predicament, leading them to need to escape the country.
Tori and Lokita
Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have already racked up two Palme d’Or honors for Rosetta (1999) and L'enfant (2005), along with a slew of other honors at Cannes over the years. In their latest socially conscious drama, a young boy and girl who have made their way alone from Africa to Europe face the harsh realities of living as refugees in Belgium.
Triangle of Sadness
Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund, winner of the Palme d'Or for The Square (2017), promises a wild satire of modern indulgence with his latest drama. A luxury cruise for a fashion power couple is turned upside down when their ship ends up marooned with all of its passengers. The film, starring Woody Harrelson, was shot in Sweden and around the Mediterranean in various scenic locales.
Co-directed by Riley Keough and Gina Gammell — both making their feature film directorial debuts — this drama is a portrait of two Oglala Lakota boys growing up on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota who find their paths to adulthood complicated by their families, crime, and loss.