The Most Anticipated Films of Cannes Film Festival 2024

Who will walk away from the 2024 Cannes Film Festival with the prestigious Palme d’Or award?

During a press conference last Thursday, the Cannes Film Festival unveiled the program for its 77th edition, which runs from 14-25 May. The line-up was eagerly anticipated following the international success of last year’s Palme d’Or winner, Anatomy of a Fall by Justine Triet.

Some of the most notable mentions included the announcement that prolific French director and master of the absurd Quentin Dupieux will open the festivities with the world premiere of Le Deuxième Acte (The Second Act), starring Léa Seydoux, Vincent Lindon, and Louis Garrel.

Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Frémaux also announced 19 of the films that will show during this year’s event (with more to be unveiled). Frémaux revealed that Francis Ford Coppola, who twice won the Palme d’Or in festivals past, will finally return as a director with his highly anticipated science fiction film Megalopolis. Exploring the destruction of a future New York, the film stars Adam Driver as an idealistic architect envisaging an opportunity to build a utopic city. With a huge budget and an A-list cast including Aubrey Plaza, John Voight, Laurence Fishburne, Forest Whitaker, and Dustin Hoffman, it’s sure to be a focal point of the festival.

David Cronenberg will also screen his new film The Shrouds, staring Diane Kruger and Vincent Cassel. Drawing on body horror elements, Cronenberg’s film follows the story of a widower and businessman who build a device to connect people to their passed loved ones.

Margaret Qualley, Jesse Plemons and Willem Dafoe in 'Kinds of Kindness'. Photo by Atsushi Nishijima. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

Another significant premiere that garnered a wave of press is Paul Schrader’s Oh, Canada, adapted from Russel Banks’s book Foregone. Starring Richard Gere, Uma Thurman and Jacob Elordi, the film explores the life of a documentary film maker who flees to Canada following the Vietnam War draft.

Ali Abbasi returns to Cannes with The Apprentice, a story of how Donald Trump began his real estate career in the 1970s. Starring Sebastian Stan as Trump and Succession’s Jeremy Strong as his infamous lawyer, Roy Cohn, the film is sure to be closely watched given its timely release. Another Cannes alumni, Kirill Serebrennikov, will present Limonov, The Ballad of Eddie, an adaptation of Emmanuel Carrère’s book about the life of writer Eduard Limonov, played by Ben Whishaw.

Among the most highly anticipated screenings of the festival, if not the year, is Yorgos Lanthimos’s Kinds of Kindness. A “triptych fable” starring Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Jesse Plemons and Margaret Qualley, the film follows three different stories: a man trying to take control of his life; a policeman alarmed that his missing wife has returned; and a woman determined to find a specific person with a special ability who is destined to become a spiritual leader.

Anya-Taylor Joy in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga. TM & © 2024 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved.

Turning to the French selections, notable films include Emilia Perez by previous Palme d’Or winner Jacques Audiard, which mixes genres, moving between thriller and musical, and stars Selena Gomez and Zoe Saldana; and Marcello Mio, written and directed by Christophe Honoré follows actress Chiara Mastroianni as she confronts the reality of living in her father’s shadow. The film also stars Mastroianni’s mother Catherine Deneuve, with the two portraying versions of themselves.

French actor and director Gilles Lellouche will present his new film L’amour Ouf, a violent romantic comedy based on the eponymous novel by Neville Thompson, stars Adèle Exarchopoulos and François Civil. And in her feature directorial debut, Agathe Riedenger premiers Diamant Brut, a coming-of-age story set in the world of reality TV.

Described by Frémaux as “a gore film” with “a lot of blood at the end,” Coralie Fargeat is also sure to make a splash with the premier of her film The Substance. It stars Demi Moore and Margaret Qualley, but Fargeat has yet to release any information about the plot, creating a suspenseful experience for festival goers.

Within the ‘Out of Competition,’ section, several highly anticipated films are also due to premiere. They include Furiosa, the fifth addition to George Miller’s Mad Max saga, starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth; Rumours, starring Cate Blanchett and Alicia Vikander; and Les femmes au balcon (The Balconettes) by Noémie Merlant and co-written by Céline Sciamma, which follows three women through a Marseille heatwave as they navigate their apartment and their delusional freedom. It will also include films by Leos Carax, Kevin Costner and documentarian Yolande Zauberman.

This year, Barbie director Greta Gerwig will chair the jury, Star Wars visionary George Lucas will receive a Palme d’Honneur, and Dix Pour Cent (Call My Agent) star Camille Cottin will host the opening and closing ceremonies. Mastermind will be attending, too. See you on the croisette!

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