Saturday, May 18, 2024

Chasing The Gold: What to Watch For At Cannes 2024

It’s that time of the year again where all eyes are on the Mediterranean coast for arguably the most glamorous film festival of them all. It is time for Cannes and, after the debut of Anatomy Of A Fall and Zone of Interest, both of whom won here and stormed their way to Oscar gold, the anticipation is high for these next releases. Major names are attached, some with winning history at Cannes (Jacques Audiard, David Cronenberg), are part of the competition, out of competition (Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga) with other notables coming through Un Certain Regard. The glitz of the red carpet and the very judgmental nature of the audience raises the stakes for all of these films, especially in front of a jury of their peers led by Greta Gerwig. Here’s a sample of what will come out.

The Apprentice – Dir. Ali Abbasi, CAN/DEN/IRE/USA

There’s a good reason Cannes accepted this film into competition. With the Presidential election months away, Donald Trump continues to be relevant and writer Gabriel Sherman wrote a script focusing on the early years of Trump’s career under the eyes of his lawyer, Roy Cohn, and raised under his influence alongside his wife, Ivana, and father, Fred. Sebastian Stan, Jeremy Strong, Maria Bakalova, and Martin Donovan star in director Ali Abbasi’s (Holy Spider) biopic of the man who played a massive role in Trump’s career and how Trump was shaped after the 1980s. 

Kinds of Kindness – Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos, USA/UK

Instead of going to Venice as he did with The Favourite and Poor Things, Yorgos Lanthimos has his immediate follow-up here with an anthology piece starring Emma Stone, Jesse Plemons, Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qually, and Hong Chau. Reteaming with his fellow countrywoman, co-writer Efthimis Filippou, it is back to a modern tale of that surreast feel Lanthimos is known for. What exactly to expect here is unknown, but it doesn’t matter. Only thing to do is hold on for the ride that Lanthimos loves to bring us on as with films like Dogtooth and The Lobster. 

Limonov: The Ballad – Dir. Kirill Serebrennikov, FRA/ITA/SPA/RUS

Ben Whishaw plays the Russian writer and politician Eduard Limonov from his years as an exile from the former Soviet Union and now spending his life in the United States and France. While not a complete portrait of the controversial author (who died in 2020 in Russia as a neo-fascist advocate), Limonov tracks the life of this radical who found his footing in subcultures and made himself into a well-known literary figure. It was co-scripted by Pawel Pawlikowski, who at one point was going to also direct the film before passing it onto the Russian-born Serebrennikov, whose last film, Tchaikovsky’s Wife, played at Cannes in 2022. 

Megalopolis Dir. Francis Ford Coppola, USA

This is probably the biggest film to come out this year because it has been the 85-year-old’s pet project for decades. After many stalls, Coppola independently made what probably will be his last film with Adam Driver, Giancarlo Esposito, Jon Voight, Laurence Fishburne, Jason Schwartzman, and Talia Shire leading an ensemble cast. It is a science fiction story of a city being rebuilt by an ambitious architect conflicting with the corrupt mayor and the mayor’s daughter (Nathalie Emmanuel) deciding to go out on her own to discover what she hasn’t seen. Coppola is two-time winner of the Palme d’Or with The Conversation and Apocalypse Now, cementing him as a legend at Cannes. If he releases one last masterpiece, he may become the first director to win a third. 

Parthenope – Dir. Paolo Sorrentino, Italy

Following his semi-autobiographical The Hand of God, Sorrentino stays in Naples with a story about the titled woman who, in Greek mythology, drowned herself and washed up on a rock in Naples. But, according to Sorrentino’s story, she is not a myth, and it follows her life from the 1950s through today. Gary Oldman stars alongside an ensemble including Celeste Dalla Porta, Silvia Degrandi, Isabella Ferrari, Silvio Orlando, and Luisa Ranieri as the mystery of the non-mythical woman is traced throughout the decades. 

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