Cannes Film Festival Set for Glitzy Filmmaker-Focused 2024 Edition

By J. Sperling Reich | May 14, 2024 2:49 am PDT
2024 Cannes Film Festival

The 77th annual Cannes Film Festival is set to roll out its red carpet along the French Riviera from today, May 14th, through the 25th, 2024. After official selections from last year’s festival went on to critical acclaim, with nine titles earning 26 Oscar nominations across 16 categories, cineastes the world over have high hopes for the 2024 edition.

Despite opening under a cloud of labor and social issues, based on the number of films from noteworthy directors chosen to premiere in Cannes this year, attendees have a lot to look forward to. The latest work from Cannes veterans such as the legendary Francis Ford Coppola, Oscar winner Paolo Sorrentino, recent Best Director nominee Yorgos Lanthimos, David Cronenberg and George Miller, will all debut over the next two weeks. The entire list of filmmakers in competition for the Palm d’Or, the festival’s top prize, is a run down of all-star auteurs.

This says nothing of relative newcomers or any of the titles programmed out of competition or in parallel sections such as Un Certain Regard. For instance, Sean Baker, who made a splash in Cannes with the 2017 movie “The Florida Project”, now follows up his Palm contender (“Red Rocket”) with “Anora,” a comedy about a sex worker.

Coppola’s self-financed passion project, “Megalopolis,” will screen early in the festival and is one of the hot tickets at this year’s Cannes. The film stars Adam Driver, Shia LaBeouf and Aubrey Plaza in a story about the creation of a utopian society. Even though early trade press reports are about studios passing on acquiring the movie ahead of the festival, it still hasn’t dissuaded anyone in Cannes from trying to get a ticket.

Canadian filmmaker Cronenberg returns to Cannes for the seventh time with “The Shrouds,” a horror thriller starring Vincent Cassel, Diane Kruger and Guy Pearce. And after launching his career in Cannes with “Dogtooth” in 2009, and hot off his hit movie “Poor Things,” Lanthimos returns to the festival for the fourth time with his latest, “Kinds of Kindness,” an anthology film that reteams him with Emma Stone and Willem Dafoe.

Former Palme d’Or winner (for “Dheepan” in 2015) Jacques Audiard will be showing up with “Emilia Perez”, which has been described as a musical crime comedy that was first conceived as an opera. The movie is set in Mexico and stars Selena Gomez, Zoe Saldaña and Édgar Ramírez, revolving around the leader of a drug cartel who undergoes gender-affirming surgery as a way of evading capture.

Someone who may be avoiding capture in real life is Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof, who just fled his country after being sentenced to eight years in jail for national security crimes. There is no word on whether he’ll make it to Cannes for his latest, “The See of the Sacred Fig.”

Sorrentino’s “Parthenope” is his seventh film at Cannes and it stars Gary Oldman. The Iranian-Danish filmmaker Ali Abbasi turns his camera on Donald Trump’s early days as a New York real estate mogul in his latest, “The Apprentice.”

And we haven’t even touched on Andrea Arnold’s “Bird”, starring Barry Keoghan as a father raising two young sons in a northern Kent tenement. Or “Caught by the Tides” from Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke, and “Oh Canada” from Paul Schrader. It is also worth noting Payal Kapadia’s “All We Imagine As Light,” which is the first Indian film in Competition since 1994, exploring the lives of two nurses in Mumbai.

Nor have we mentioned any of the dozens of titles in the festival’s sidebars, such as the Critic’s Week or Director’s Fortnight. Nor the Out of Competition selections, the most high profile of which is director George Miller’s “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga,” a prequel to the post-apocalyptic action hit “Mad Max Fury Road,” which premiered at Cannes in 2015. Anya Taylor-Joy takes on the titular role of Furiosa opposite a barely recognizable Chris Hemsworth. Actor/Director Kevin Costner will also be in Cannes later during the festival with the first instalment of his western epic, “Horizon.”

Actress, director, writer Greta Gerwig is taking time off from counting the money she earned from helming last year’s blockbuster “Barbie” to preside over this year’s Cannes jury as its president. At 40, she is the youngest person to take on the role since actress Sofia Loren in 1966 at the age of 31. Remarkably, she is only the second female director to ever hold the post, after Jane Campion who presided over the 2014 jury.

Joining Gerwig on the jury selecting the 2024 Palme d’Or winner is actress Lily Gladstone who was in Cannes last year with “Killers of the Flower Moon,” French actors Eva Green and Omar Sy, Italian actor Pierfrancesco Favino, Turkish screenwriter Ebru Ceylan, Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki (“Capernaum”), Spanish filmmaker Juan Antonio Bayona (“Society of the Snow”) as well as Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda (“Shoplifters”).

J. Sperling Reich