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What’s at Cannes? Furiosa, Francis Ford Coppola, Sebastian Stan As Donald Trump.


Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos: Jasin Boland/Warner Bros., Le Pacte, Atsushi Nishijima/Searchlight Pictures, Ad Vitam

This year’s Cannes Film Festival has death on its mind. We’ve got new entries from our favorite fatalistic auteurs: George Miller’s Fury Road prequel Furiosa; Paul Schrader’s meditation on mortality, Oh, Canada; David Cronenberg’s, well, meditation on mortality The Shrouds; Francis Ford Coppola’s self-funded apocalyptic vision Megalopolis; Yorgos Lanthimos’s pitch-black comic-debasement-fest Kinds of Kindness; and Ali Abbasi’s The Apprentice, about how Roy Cohn and Donald Trump killed America. On the possibly (?) ever-so-slightly lighter (?) side, we’ve also got some new Andrea Arnold to look forward to (Bird, with Franz Rogowski and Barry Keoghan), a musical starring Selena Gomez and Zoe Saldaña (Jacques Audiard’s Emilia Perez), and some freaky body horror with Demi Moore and Margaret Qualley (Coralie Fargeat’s The Substance). Here are the 11 films we can’t wait to see at Cannes.

Francis Ford Coppola’s Wild Gamble


Francis Ford Coppola has been trying to make this movie for something like 40 years, and he reportedly sold off his vineyards to do it. The director is a legendary risk-taker, and this one is certainly a risk: an allegorical sci-fi fantasy epic about a city of the future, modeled after some mixture of Rome, New York, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, and God knows what else. Sight unseen, it already seems like the kind of big swing that people will be arguing about for months, years, maybe even decades.

A Return to the Wasteland

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road had a triumphant Cannes premiere back in 2015, and this new prequel surely hopes to do the same at the festival, about a week ahead of its global theatrical release. Anya Taylor-Joy takes over the role immortalized by Charlize Theron in the earlier film. Mad Max, meanwhile, is nowhere to be found, save for a small cameo. Can lightning strike twice? And what, exactly, might lightning striking twice even look like? Miller is the guy who took a sequel to the family classic Babe and delivered the dark, surreal, and intense Babe: Pig in the City, a fantastic film that almost brought down Universal Pictures. Could this crazy genius do something like that again?

Sebastian Stan as Donald Trump

The Apprentice

Director Ali Abassi (Holy Spider, Border, The Last of Us) has shown a fondness for the perverse over the course of his career, and he just might have found his most perverse subject yet: The rise of Donald Trump (Sebastian Stan) in the world of New York real estate in the 1970s and ’80s, in particular his close relationship with his notorious lawyer Roy Cohn (Jeremy Strong). Written by former New York magazine reporter Gabriel Sherman, this seems like it will be a take-generating machine.

The Movie Barry Keoghan Left Gladiator For


Andrea Arnold is a Cannes favorite; her features Red Road, Fish Tank, and American Honey have all won the Jury Prize at the festival. Her films are naturalistic portraits of everyday people, often at the edges of society: teenagers on the lam in America, a rebellious 15-year-old struggling to break free of her circumstances in lower-class London. (Her last feature, a documentary called Cow, is about, well, cows.) Arnold tends to cast unknowns, but her latest, Bird, stars some of this year’s buzziest actors: Barry Keoghan — who left Gladiator to film this one instead — and Franz Rogowski, who plays the titular role. The film follows a 12-year-old named Bailey who lives with his brother Hunter and his father Bug, an inattentive parent raising them alone. Bailey, who’s on the verge of puberty, goes off in search of adventure — and attention.

Emma Stone’s Poor Things Follow-up

Kinds of Kindness

Nobody would blame Yorgos Lanthimos for taking a break after his four-time-Oscar-winning Poor Things, but as he told us last year, he’s incapable of doing nothing and quickly forgets how painful it is to make a film: “I have a bad memory. I forget and I go back and get excited again. And I’m like, ‘Oh, no, it’s the same.’” Kinds of Kindness seems more akin to his earlier darker and more confrontational work than it does to his more comic recent films, The Favourite and Poor Things. It’s billed as a “triptych fable,” an anthology split into three stories. The cast is stacked with Lanthimos mainstays like Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qualley, and Joe Alwyn, plus newcomers to the Lanthimos canon, like Hong Chau, Jesse Plemons, Mamoudou Athie, and Hunter Schafer.

An“Autobiographical” David Cronenberg Film

The Shrouds

Cannes mainstay and perfect freak David Cronenberg has premiered six movies in competition since Crash scandalized the Croisette in 1996, when critics called him “perverse” and “sexually deviant.” His last effort, Crimes of the Future, fared better, though he’s still never won the Palme d’Or. Some think his latest might be his first real shot at it. Billed as Cronenberg’s “most personal” film and self-described as “autobiographical,” The Shrouds is an exploration of mortality and what happens after we die. Vincent Cassel plays Karsh, a grieving widower who “builds an innovative device to help people connect with the dead” inside a burial shroud that allows his clients to watch their loved ones decompose in real time. Cronenberg was inspired to write and direct the film after his own wife died in 2017.

Blood-Splattering Body Horror

The Substance

Coralie Fargeat’s first film, 2017’s Revenge, was a memorable twist on the rape-revenge thriller, eschewing eroticized violence for a more feminist (and still gory) take on the genre. Her follow-up, The Substance, sounds like it may do something similar for body horror: Cannes head Thierry Frémaux described it as “assertive body horror” at the festival’s press conference, adding that the audience should “wear protection, because at the end there’s a lot of blood on the screen — it looks like it’s going through the screen.” On its own, this would all be compelling enough — post-Titane, I have faith in Cannes’s ability to select gorgeously fucked-up films by French women for competition — but The Substance also features Demi Moore and Margaret Qualley in starring roles, in a film about a new product: “The Substance,” with which you can “generate another version of yourself, younger, more beautiful, more perfect.”

A French Mexican Musical

Emilia Pérez

If you, like me, have been waiting for a musical crime comedy set in Mexico but written and directed by a French auteur and starring Selena Gomez and Zoe Saldaña, good news — our time has finally come. Jacques Audiard originally developed Emilia Pérez as an opera libretto inspired by Boris Razon’s 2018 novel Écoute, but it morphed into a full-on musical instead, with an original score composed by Clément Ducol and songs by French singer Camille. The film follows a “woman tasked with assisting an escaped Mexican cartel leader undergo sex reassignment surgery to both evade the authorities and affirm her gender.” Spanish actress Karla Sofía Gascón, known primarily for telenovelas, stars in the title role.

Richard Gere As a Dying Filmmaker

Oh, Canada!

Over the past decade or so, Paul Schrader has managed to revive his career and endear himself to a new generation of cineastes through a series of highly personal, somber dramas featuring isolated, confessional protagonists. Now, having wrapped up that loose Man in a Room trilogy, he’s made a film that somehow seems even more personal: Based on the novel Foregone, by Russell Banks (who also wrote Affliction, the basis for one of Schrader’s greatest films), this is a movie about a dying filmmaker (Richard Gere) being interviewed for a documentary about his career as he looks back on a life of bitterness and regret. This is the first picture Schrader has had in Cannes Competition as a director since 1985’s Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters. That’s a very good sign.

A Surreal, Likely Breakout

Universal Language

Playing in Directors’ Fortnight, Canadian experimental filmmaker Matthew Rankin’s latest drama presents a surreal Winnipeg inflected with Persian culture and language. Every year, there are at least a couple of films from the festival sidebars that wind up breaking through. And at a Cannes filled with big-name auteurs and big-name stars, this one — from a director most people haven’t heard of, featuring a cast of unknowns, but with lots of positive buzz already — could prove to be a standout.

The Movie Critics Will Argue About


Paolo Sorrentino makes gorgeous movies that deserve to be seen on the biggest screens possible, so it’s nice to see him back on the Croisette. (His previous film, the excellent Hand of God, was produced by Netflix, which meant that it couldn’t screen at Cannes; it screened instead at Venice.) This film looks at the life of a fictional woman named Parthenope, which is the name of a siren whose body washed ashore in Naples, the director’s hometown. Myth, beauty, death, desire, the sea, Naples — these are all recurring motifs for Sorrentino. He’s also a filmmaker who resolutely refuses to worry about anything resembling contemporary mores or attitudes. His in-your-face classicism is the kind of thing critics love to fight about.


Rachel Handler,Bilge Ebiri , 2024-05-14 17:00:00

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