The 26 Movies We Can’t Wait to See

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The 26 Movies We Can’t Wait to See at This Year’s Cannes Film Festival

From Francis Ford Coppola to Paul Schrader and Andrea Arnold, here are the films across the competition, Un Certain Regard, and more sections we’re most looking forward to.

 

The 2024 Cannes Film Festival may be lighter on glitz and glamour than in years past, but that means arthouse and international fare from emerging and established filmmakers will get a chance to shine. Still, at least two American auteurs, Francis Ford Coppola (“Megalopolis”) and Paul Schrader (“Oh, Canada”), have films in the main competition for the first time in decades. David Cronenberg (“The Shrouds”) and Yorgos Lanthimos (“Kinds of Kindness”) are also back at the festival, with both making personal stories in their own way: Cronenberg, here, reckons with grief over the death of his wife seven years ago, while Lanthimos appears to retreat back into “Dogtooth” territory in a film that’s almost a rebuke of the global success he’s acquired with “Poor Things” and “The Favourite.”

 

Sean Baker, Andrea Arnold, Ali Abbasi, Jia Zhangke, Karim Aïnouz, and Paolo Sorrentino are also back at Cannes this year with new films in the competition. Mohammad Rasoulof joins their ranks with “The Seed of the Sacred Fig,” but whether the Iranian director, who recently fled his home country after a prison sentencing, can attend the festival remains an open question. Then there’s George Miller, Kevin Costner, Leos Carax, and more, screening new films out of the competition. There’s plenty to seek out across Un Certain Regard, Critics’ Week, and Directors’ Fortnight — often from first-time filmmakers.

Below, IndieWire rounds up the 2024 Cannes titles we’re most anticipating.

Samantha Bergeson, Christian Blauvelt, Wilson Chapman, Jim Hemphill, Marcus Jones, Anne Thompson, and Christian Zilko also contributed to this list.

“All We Imagine as Light” (Competition)

Three years after winning Cannes’ Golden Eye for best documentary for her “A Night of Knowing Nothing,” Payal Kapadia returns to the Croisette with her narrative debut. This time around, she’ll be competing with a slew of big names in the Competition section — Coppola, Cronenberg, Lanthimos, and Arnold, to name just a few — with what sounds like a tender, imaginative new feature.

 

“All We Imagine as Light” follows a pair of nurses with their own complicated romantic problems — one of them finds her life upended with the arrival of a gift from her estranged husband, the other is caught up in trying to find a quiet spot to canoodle with her boyfriend — that turn into something quite different when they embark on a road trip that leads them to a “mystical forest.” Little else is known about the film, which Kapadia also wrote and which stars Kani Kusruti, Divya Prabha, and Chhaya Kadam. Still, many eyes will be on it, not just because of Kapadia’s rising star, but because it marks the first time in thirty years that an Indian film has played as part of the competition slate. —KE

“Bird” (Competition)

In what promises to be dream casting, “Bird” stars Franz Rogowski as the lead whose aviary name doesn’t give much away. Alongside Bird (Rogowski) sits Bug (Barry Keoghan), and the first look at the feature at least gives us more details on Bug: He’s shirtless, tattooed, looking frustrated, and riding an electronic bike with a child behind him on a crowded street. And if that is too vague, at least it’s something to base the aesthetics of the feature on.

“To a Land Unknown” (Directors’ Fortnight)

The only Palestinian film to play Cannes this year, Mahdi Fleifel’s “To a Land Unknown” follows Chatila (Mahmood Bakri) and Reda (Aram Sabbah), cousins and refugees stranded in Athens and trying to reach Germany. To escape Greece, they hatch a plan to pose as smugglers taking hostages, with dire consequences for their friendship. “It’s especially moving to me, in these incredible times, to present a Palestinian film at Cannes. As Palestinians, we challenge media stereotypes, but more importantly, we defy invisibility, a struggle we’ve faced since the beginning. Our stories are needed now more than ever,” Fleifel, born in Dubai from Palestinian parents but raised in Denmark, said announcing the movie. —RL

“Universal Language” (Directors’ Fortnight)

Canadian surrealist Matthew Rankin (“The Twentieth Century”) makes his Cannes debut with this “comedy of disorientation” (the filmmaker’s own words) set in Winnipeg and revolving around multiple stories. There’s gradeschoolers Negin and Nazgol, who find a cache of money frozen in the ice; tour guide Massoud, taking increasingly flummoxed guests through the monuments of the city; and Rankin himself as a government officer who, quitting his job, decides to reconnect with his mother. The German Expressionist-inspired visual style of “The Twentieth Century,” his feature directorial debut, showcased Rankin as a uniquely visionary director unafraid of taking audiences to bizarre corners. —RL

This article is from IndieWire and is republished under a Creative Commons license.

To find out more about the film, please visit the film’s official website: www.ToALandUnknown.com

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