Cannes Film Festival 2024: Best and Worst Films

Which films at the 77th Cannes Film Festival wowed our critics, and which ones failed to deliver? We recap the just-concluded festival with a list of award winners and review summaries for dozens of films making their world premieres in Cannes, including new titles from David Cronenberg, Yorgos Lanthimos, Andrea Arnold, Kevin Costner, Jia Zhang-Ke, Ali Abbasi, Michel Hazanavicius, Paul Schrader, and more
by Keith Kimbell — 

Additional content by Jason Dietz.

The 77th Cannes Film Festival certainly didn't produce the most memorable slate of films in the recent history of the prestigous event. Industry experts suggest that few, if any, of this year's entries will go on to Oscar glory, and many of this year's films from well-known directors failed to impress critics. We look at some of those disappointments below, as well as those films that did manage to wow Cannes reviewers. First, however, let's look at this year's winners ...

The winners

Awards in the main competition were chosen by a jury led by Greta Gerwig that also included Lily Gladstone, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Omar Sy, Eva Green, Nadine Labaki, Juan Antonio Bayona, and more.

Anora (2024)

Festival de Cannes

Palme d'Or (1st Place)
tbd Anora
Comedy/Drama | USA | dir. Sean Baker

It's not often that one of the best-reviewed Cannes films actually takes home the festival's highest award, but that is indeed the case in 2024. Writer-director Sean Baker's second film to screen in competition at Cannes, following 2021's Red Rocket, is similar to that previous feature in that it's a black comedy centering on a sex worker. (In fact, it's similar to all of Baker's films in that regard.) But instead of following a porn star in Texas, Anora heads to New York, where young Brooklynite strip club dancer Ani (played by a stellar Mikey Madison of FX's Better Things) impulsively marries the 21-year-old son (Mark Eydelshteyn, compared by many critics to Timothée Chalamet) of a Russian oligarch. But when his parents learn of the nuptials, they immediately take measures to put an end to the couple's newlywed bliss.

In The Playlist, Gregory Ellwood calls Anora Baker's "most commercial-looking film" and "his most entertaining movie since 2015's 'Tangerine,'" but finds aspects of the script and some of the characters problematic. But IndieWire's David Ehrlich has nothing but raves for a well-acted film that's "[s]plenetically hilarious for more than two hours" before culminating in a "tidal wave" of emotion. Ehrlich, Variety's Peter Debruge (who calls the film "[t]he uncut gem of this year's Cannes") and Screen's Wendy Ide all compare Anora to the work of the Safdie brothers, and the latter admires how "Baker continually ups the ante on the picture's unruly humour and propulsive pacing" to create a "kick-ass Cinderella story." And The Telegraph's Robbie Collin sees a "dazzling" film that "seems likely to make a star of its 25-year-old leading lady"—sentiments echoed by almost every critic as they heaped praise upon Madison's performance.

It's the fifth straight Palme d'Or win for Neon, which will release Anora in theaters later this year.

All We Imagine as Light (2024)

Festival de Cannes

Grand Prix (2nd place)
tbd All We Imagine as Light
Drama | France/India/Netherlands/Luxembourg | dir. Payal Kapadia

Writer-director Payal Kapadia's follow-up to her highly-regarded but little-seen debut (and Golden Eye winner at the 2021 festival) A Night of Knowing Nothing follows the struggles of three nurses in contemporary Mumbai. Prabha (Kani Kusruti) has been abandoned by her husband who is living in Germany; Anu (Divya Prabha), the youngest, is in love with a Muslim boy, and Parvaty (Chhaya Kadam) is being pushed out of her home after her husband's death. When Parvaty decides to relocate to Kerala, Prabha and Anu go with her, taking time away from the city.

The result is this year's best-reviewed Cannes entry. In the eyes of The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw, the first Indian film to play in the Cannes competition in 30 years is "a glorious film" full of "fluent and absorbing" storytelling. Screen Daily critic Fionnuala Halligan believes Kapadia delivers on the promise of her first film with a "beautifully-shot, gentle story" that "follows its own intriguing mysticism." Variety's Jessica Kiang agrees, "Just two features into her young career, Kapadia has established her rare talent for finding passages of exquisite poetry within the banal blank verse of everyday Indian life." And in her review for IndieWire, Sophie Monks Kaufman adds "The beats of All We Imagine as Light are calibrated with hypnotic grace creating a rhythm that induces pure pleasure."

Emilia Perez (2024)

Festival de Cannes

Jury Prize (3rd place)
tbd Emilia Pérez
Comedy/Musical/Thriller | France | dir. Jacques Audiard

Jacques Audiard won the Grand Prix at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival for A Prophet and then in 2015 took home the Palme d'Or for Dheepan. His films Rust and Bone and Paris, 13th District also played in competition. This year he brought his most extravagant film yet to the festival. Emilia Perez is a musical melodrama in which Zoe Saldana plays a lawyer who helps a cartel leader (Karla Sofía Gascón) get out of his business, leaving behind his wife (Selena Gomez) and children, and become the woman he has always dreamed of being. And that's just the beginning of a film that Rolling Stone's David Fear calls "both exhilarating and exasperating, swinging so wildly all over the map that you may want to pre-emptively wear a neckbrace before viewing."

Looper's Audrey Fox also admits that it's "messy, but it's rarely a mess, and many audiences might just fall in love with its audacious, chaotic energy." And writing for The Daily Beast, Esther Zuckerman believes Perez "wins you over by being unabashedly sincere. It takes its mission in all of its various genres—musical, crime thriller, and soap opera—seriously thanks to the committed performances and Audiard's expressive direction." Vulture critic Bilge Ebiri finds the film "fearless in its ridiculousness," and The Flim Verdict's Stephen Dalton declares this "lusty celebration of multicultural queerness and gender-bending redemption" a "hugely entertaining, impeccably crafted, and compassionately invested in its kaleidoscopic tapestry of characters."

It does not appear to be official quite yet, but Netflix is reportedly nearing a deal to secure rights to the film, which likely means that a theatrical release will be extremely limited (or nonexistent).

More awards

Other major award winners at this year's festival include:

  • Best director: Miguel Gomes, Grand Tour
  • Caméra d'Or * (for best first feature): Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel, Armand
  • Best screenplay: Coralie Fargeat, The Substance
  • Best actor: Jesse Plemons, Kinds of Kindness
  • Best actress: ensemble, Emilia Perez
  • Special prize: Mohammad Rasoulof, The Seed of the Sacred Fig
  • L'Oeil d'or (best documentary): tied between Raoul Peck's Ernest Cole: Lost and Found and The Brink of Dreams from directors Nada Riyadh and Ayman El Amir.

* awarded by a different jury led by Baloji and Emmanuelle Beart; films screening in any of the various sections are eligible

Un Certain Regard

A jury led by Xavier Dolan selected the Chinese noir/comedy/western Black Dog as the winner of the section's top honor, the Prix Un Certain Regard. Taking second place in the 18-film competition was Boris Lojkine's the Story of Souleymane, while Roberto Minervini (for The Damned) and Rungano Nyoni (On Becoming a Guinea Fowl) shared the Best Director award.

Directors' Fortnight

This parallel competition (also known as Quinzaine 2024) was topped by Spanish director Jonás Trueba's The Other Way Around, named the best European film in the festival, and by Matthew Rankin's drama Universal Language, which won the Fortnight's first-ever Audience Award. The SACD prize, which goes to the competition's top French film, was nabbed by This Life of Mine, the final work from director Sophie Fillière, who died shortly after filming was completed.

Critics' Week and others

Simon of the Mountain, the debut feature from Argentinian director Federico Luis, topped the parallel Critics' Week section.

And this year's Palm Dog trophy for best canine performance in any festival film went to 9-year-old Kodi for his well-behaved work in Dog on Trial. He was presented with a special collar.


Best of the festival

Below are additional titles generating the most positive buzz at this year's Cannes. That's followed by a list of the remaining notable festival debuts, and then by a recap of this year's duds. Note that any films which previously debuted at other festivals are excluded.

Black Dog (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd Black Dog (Gou Zhen)
Drama/Comedy | China | dir. Hu Guan

Chinese director Guan Hu (The Eight Hundred) took home the top prize in the Un Certain Regard section of the festival for what Screen Daily's Wendy Ide calls a "warm-hearted crowd pleaser about an ex-convict and the canine he befriends." Recently released from prison, Lang (Eddie Peng), a former stunt motorcyclist and musician, takes a job clearing out stray dogs before the arrival of the 2008 Olympics. One particular dog proves to be more difficult to catch than the others. IndieWire's Christian Zilko admits that "the plot runs out of gas and occasionally threatens to go off the rails," but the film "never ceases to be interesting" thanks to "Guan 's strong visual direction." Variety critic Jessica Kiang also praises Guan's direction, writing, "Achieving a delicate balance between drama and deadpan comedy, Guan 's approach gives the scenes of violence or tragedy a certain antic, Buster Keaton quality, which is enhanced by both Peng 's impassive yet physically expressive performance, and that of his wonderful canine co-star."

Caught by the Tides (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd Caught by the Tides (Feng Liu Yi Dai)
Drama | China | dir. Zhangke Jia

The latest from director Jia Zhang-ke (Ash Is Purest White, Mountains May Depart, A Touch of Sin) resembles a career summation wrapped up in a fragile love story. Once again working with his wife and muse, Tao Zhao, Jia reshuffles footage from the films he has shot over the past twenty plus years and adds to it with new footage to tell the decades-spanning story of Qiaoqiao (Zhao) and Bin (Zhubin Li), resulting in a fresh perspective on the turbulent changes that have formed contemporary China.

For The Wrap's Steve Pond, the film is "an elegy of sorts, at times angry and abrasive but more often gentle and reflective." Screen Daily critic Fionnuala Halligan believes "Jia Zhang-ke 's odyssey through China since the turn of the century has an epic sense within a homespun feel." Deborah Young of The Film Verdict praises the director's "awe-inspiring cinematic mastery," but admits that "its ravishing poetic beauty tends to obscure the story." Writing for Variety, Jessica Kiang adds, "Jia 's risky experiment is so uncannily successful that it is possible to come away from 'Tides' with the whimsical impression that this was the film he was building toward all this time, as though all those lauded previous movies were simply him amassing the raw material for this one."

Christmas Eve in Miller's Point (2024)

Quinzaine 2024

tbd Christmas Eve in Miller's Point
Comedy/Drama | USA | dir. Tyler Taormina

Ham on Rye and Happer's Comet director Tyler Taormina's third feature is "a very charming and rich movie, teeming with ambient detail," according to Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian. Shot by Carson Lund (the director of Eephus, also playing in the Director's Fortnight), this Christmas tale takes viewers into the home of an eccentric Italian-American family as generational tensions rise and teenage Emily (Matilda Fleming) and her older cousin Michelle (Francesca Scorsese) sneak out of the house. Screen Daily's Tim Grierson believes "the film 's cumulative emotional impact compensates for the occasional misstep," and Sheri Linden of THR finds it to be "a memorably adventurous party, fueled by intense hopefulness, and Taormina 's fondness for the characters is the movie 's beating heart." For Variety's Jessica Kiang Miller's Point is "as alive to the domesticated magic of the season as a classic carol." And IndieWire critic David Ehrlich adds, "The mood is as warm and tense as a hug with someone you 've always known but may never see again, every moment at once both fleeting and forever."

Eephus (2024)

Quinzaine 2024

tbd Eephus
Comedy/Drama/Sports | USA/France | dir. Carson Lund

Carson Lund, a film critic, founding member of the Omnes Films collective and the cinematographer of another Director's Fortnight film Christmas Eve in Miller's Point, makes his feature directorial debut with this story of two teams of middle-aged men meeting for the last time on their beloved baseball field before it is turned into a school. Titled after a slow, high-arcing pitch (for reference, here's what it looks like when Clayton Kershaw tries it), it's a "modest but poignant hangout film that resonates long after the last pitch," according to Screen Daily's Tim Grierson. Jordan Raup of The Film Stage notes that by "subverting tropes of the standard sports movie ... Lund has crafted something far more singularly compelling." And Variety critic Jessica Kiang believes the film's "pearls of practical wisdom and jewels of melancholic wit make Eephus a gem, which is fitting, for a movie about a game played on a diamond."

Filmlovers! (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd Filmlovers! (Spectateurs!)
Drama/Documentary | France | dir. Arnaud Desplechin

This documentary-fiction hybrid from director Arnaud Desplechin is his love letter to the movies. Mathieu Amalric, who played Desplechin alter-ego Paul Dédalus in My Sex Life... or How I Got Into an Argument and My Golden Days, narrates and cedes the role to a few younger actors at age 6 (Louis Birman), 14 (Milo Machado-Graner), 22 (Sam Chemoul), and 30 (Salif Cissé) as Desplechin explores the evolution of his love of the movies. IndieWire's Vikram Murthi notes that Desplechin "doesn't coast on cozy remembrance. Instead, he balances nostalgia with scholarly analysis and a tactile focus," resulting in a film that "might linger, however briefly, in your mind as a warm memory." For THR critic Sheri Linden, Filmlovers! offers an "artful blend of narrative and nonfiction." And Allan Hunter of Screen Daily believes the "warm, inviting tone of the film and Desplechin's use of a stunning selection of movie clips," creates a "beguiling, bittersweet celebration of a life-long love affair with the movies."

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Warner Bros. Pictures

tbd Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
Action-adventure/Sci-fi/Thriller | Australia | dir. George Miller
Now in theaters

Because Furiosa has already opened nationwide in theaters (and has received numerous reviews outside of the festival setting) prior to the conclusion of Cannes, we're not recapping the Cannes reactions, aside from this: Critics liked George Miller's new Fury Road prequel, though not as much as they liked Fury Road.

The Girl With the Needle (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd The Girl With the Needle (Pigen med nålen)
Drama | Denmark/Poland/Sweden | dir. Magnus von Horn

Magnus van Horn's third feature, following 2015's The Here After and 2021's Sweat, is based on a true story that won't be spoiled here. Set in post-World War I Copenhagen and filmed in black and white, Needle (scripted by von Horn and Line Langebek Knudsen) follows Karoline (Vic Carmen Sonne of Godland and Holiday), a factory worker who finds herself pregnant. She seeks help from Dagmar (Trine Dyrholm), who runs a clandestine adoption agency. The Telegraph's Robbie Collin describes the film as "dark and scorching," and a "bleak historical chapter made timeless, and all the more troubling for it." For Stephen Dalton of The Film Verdict, Needle is a "powerful retro-noir thriller" graced by a "strong cast, visual poetry and great formal control." Writing for The Film Stage, Sabina Petkova declares it "surprising, stylish, and unabashedly brave." And Variety's Guy Lodge believes it's "extraordinary and upsetting ... an adult fairytale abundantly populated with witches and wretches, but where society is revealed as the true monster."

MUBI acquired rights to the film during the festival, though release plans are not yet public.

On Becoming a Guinea Fowl (2024)

A24 / Festival de Cannes

tbd On Becoming a Guinea Fowl
Drama | Zambia/UK/Ireland| dir. Rungano Nyoni

Zambian filmmaker Rungano Nyoni shared (with Roberto Minervini) the Best Director prize in the Un Certain Regard section of the festival for this follow-up to her debut feature I Am Not a Witch. Susan Chardy plays Shula, a woman returning to her hometown in Zambia where she finds her uncle dead on a deserted street. As the family begins funeral preparations, Shula and her cousin bring up long-buried secrets that the rest of the family wants to ignore. IndieWire critic David Ehrlich finds Guinea Fowl "lucid and incandescently furious," and Steve Pond of TheWrap describes it as "allusive and elusive, a meditation that operates somewhere between hard reality and fable; parts of it couldn 't be timelier, and parts seem to exist completely out of time." At RogerEbert.com, Robert Daniels praises Fowl as a "magically transcendent, cunningly funny, and arresting piece of cultural commentary that pits the inequalities of tradition against the warmth community can, still, on occasions, provide." And in the eyes of THR's Lovia Gyarkye, the directing award is well deserved: "[Nyoni] fills the film 's tragic frame with comic moments, hints of surrealism, stretches of mystery and pockets of rage. ... She reaches for honesty, and what she uncovers is at once disquieting and deeply absorbing."

The Other Way Around (2024)

Quinzaine 2024

tbd The Other Way Around
Comedy/Drama | Spain/France | dir. Jonás Trueba

Writer-director Jonás Trueba (The August Virgin) collaborated with his actors, Itsaso Arana and Vito Sanz, to write the screenplay for this romantic breakup film in which director Ale (Arana) and actor Alex (Sanz) throw a party after mutually deciding to go their separate ways after 14 years as a couple. For Kevin Jagernauth of the The Film Verdict, this "sly and clever reverse reworking of romantic drama tropes warmly suggests that there can be as much hope and connection to be found in splitting up as there is in coming together." IndieWire's Adam Solomons enjoys how the film is "relentlessly practical about how endings—or the anticipation of them—can breed new appreciations." And Variety critic Jessica Kiang believes "Trueba has drawn a funny little valentine, shot through by a bright, sharp arrow of feeling," resulting in a "delightful showcase for the Spanish director 's lithe, airy style."

The Seed of the Sacred Fig (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd The Seed of the Sacred Fig
Drama | Germany/France/Iran | dir. Mohammad Rasoulof

While imprisoned in 2022, Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof formed the idea for his latest film, which incorporates the Woman, Life, Freedom protest movement following the death of Mahsa Amini. After shooting the film in secret, Rasoulof received an eight-year prison sentence and made the difficult decision to flee his homeland. The action in The Seed of the Sacred Fig tracks the disintegration of a family: father Iman, who has recently been promoted to investigating magistrate in the Revolutionary Guard, his wife Najmeh, and their two daughters Rezvan and Sana. When a friend of Rezvan's is injured in the protests and his gun goes missing, Iman destroys those he loves to protect himself. "The film may not be perfect, but its courage – and relevance – are beyond doubt," according to Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian. Writing for Collider, Chase Hutchinson praises the film's "riveting performances across the board, sharp writing that cuts deep at every turn, and dynamic direction that makes you unable to look away for even a second." And at IndieWire, Ryan Lattanzio believes, "Rasoulof crafts an extraordinarily gripping allegory about the corrupting costs of power and the suppression of women under a religious patriarchy that crushes the very people it claims to protect."

Neon acquired distribution rights to the film last week and will release Fig in North American theaters later this year.

The Substance (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd The Substance
Horror | UK/USA/France | dir. Coralie Fargeat

Writer-director Coralie Fargeat mad a splash at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival with her debut feature Revenge. Now she has taken that film's feminist rage and body brutality to another level in her Cannes debut. The Substance stars Demi Moore as Elisabeth Sparkle, a fading star who has just lost her job as the instructor of a fitness show. Desperate to regain her star status, she take The Substance, a drug that creates a "better version of yourself." Without spoiling the details of how she appears, that new, shinier version of Elisabeth is played by Margaret Qualley. She names herself Sue and sets off to reclaim her stardom. But—this being a body horror film and all—there is a catch.

"There 's a lot going on in The Substance, and while the ambition is admirable, not everything works," states THR's Lovia Gyarkye, who adds, "But strong performances — especially from Moore and Quaid — help sustain momentum through the film's triumphantly amusing end." For Time critic Stephanie Zacharek, The Substance is "distinctive less for its nutso, over-the-top gore than for ... a different kind of body horror—or, more specifically, the way insecurity can be its own kind of horror." Luke Hicks of The Film Stage warns that this "bizarre, virulent body horror" is "as insanely violent as it is disturbing," and "not for the faint of heart." The Telegraph's Tim Robey believes Fargeat's "vision is so savagely excessive that it has a hallucinatory, how-is-this-even-happening quality." And for IndieWire critic David Ehrlich, the film is a "non-stop, go-until-you-gag epic that builds and builds and builds until it scars everyone in the audience with a deep-seated physiological aversion to the idea that we can ever hope to escape from ourselves."

One of the buzziest films at this year's Cannes, The Substance landed with niche arthouse distributor MUBI just prior to the fest and will get a theatrical release—with a solid chance at becoming MUBI's biggest box office hit to date—later in 2024 before likely landing on the distributor's eponymous streaming service.

Universal Language (2024)

Quinzaine 2024

tbd Universal Language
Drama/Comedy | Canada | dir. Matthew Rankin

Director Matthew Rankin (The Twentieth Century) won the the inaugural Audience Award of the Directors' Fortnight with this absurdist comedy that takes place in a Winnipeg where Farsi is the main language. But audiences weren't the only ones pleased. Rankin's love letter to Iranian culture and cinema is "one of the most charmingly off-beat world premieres screening in Cannes this week," according to Stephen Dalton of The Film Verdict. Also pleased is Variety's Peter Debruge, who declares Language a "delightful cross-cultural hybrid designed to celebrate our differences," and The Film Stage critic Rory O'Connor, who https://thefilmstage.com/cannes-review-universal-language-is-a-beguiling-surrealist-ode-to-persian-cinema/ thinks it's "an endearing, never-labored homage to Persian cinema." For Vulture critic Bilge Ebiri, "Universal Language is a magnificent film, one that feels warm and familiar even as we realize just how startlingly original it is."

When the Light Breaks (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd When the Light Breaks (Ljósbrot)
Drama | Iceland/Netherlands/Croatia/France | dir. Rúnar Rúnarsson

Icelandic writer-director Rúnar Rúnarsson's first feature since 2019's Echo explores twenty-four hours in the life of Una (Elín Hall), a young art student who must grieve privately when her lover, Diddi (Baldur Einarsson), dies in a traffic accident. Adam Solomons of IndieWire wishes the film were a "good deal longer" to allow it to "explore the messy implications of its premise in an even more interesting way." Variety's Guy Lodge believes the film "eschews easy melodrama for a more tacit, sensory exploration of the sudden connections that death forges among the living," relying on the "kind of tentative realizations and ambiguities more commonly found in short-form storytelling." And in her review for THR's Lovia Gyarkye writes, "Rúnarsson is attuned to the details of loss and recognizes the narrative power of these instances. He lingers where others might cut, hordes what, at first, seems disposable and homes in on the familiar long enough to render it uncanny."

Other notable debuts (good but unexceptional)

The Apprentice (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd The Apprentice
Drama | Canada/Denmark/Ireland | dir. Ali Abbasi

Iranian-Danish director Ali Abbasi frequently tackles dark subjects in his work, including his only previous Cannes entry Holy Spider, his debut feature Shelley, and recent episodes of The Last of Us. This month he returned to Cannes with his English-language debut: a biopic focusing on what may be (for some) an equally terrifying subject: Donald J. Trump. Specifically, The Apprentice traces the early years of Trump's business career in the 1970s and 80s. MCU veteran Sebastian Stan plays the young Trump opposite Succession's Jeremy Strong as Trump's infamous mentor and lawyer Roy Cohn, while Maria Bakalova portrays Ivana Trump and Martin Donovan is Fred Trump, father to Donald.

Emerging Monday night at Cannes following heavy secrecy and threats of legal action from film investor turned film critic Dan Snyder—not to mention controversy surrounding the film's rape scene—The Apprentice turns out to have little meaningful and new to say about Trump's journey, according to reviewers, though it does showcase some nice performances, particularly by Strong. In Variety, Owen Gleiberman deems the film "a spirited, entertaining, and not overly cheeky docudrama" that, despite a "knockout" first half, never seems to penetrate "the mystery of Trump," leaving the film to devolve into "a well-acted TV-movie." The Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw also likens the film to a television movie, but also to "a cartoon Xeroxed from many other satirical Trump takes," with the result "a far less original picture" than Abbasi's past work. IndieWire's David Ehrlich similarly labels Apprentice "rote and unsurprising," concluding, "Clipped from the start and increasingly uncertain of its purpose as it fumbles toward the Trump we know, this origin story certainly isn't as painful to watch as the future that it portends has been to endure, but it's every bit as banal and unnecessary."

The Apprentice has yet to find a U.S. distributor, and if Trump has his way, it never will.

Armand (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd Armand
Drama | Norway/Netherlands/Germany/Sweden | dir. Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel

Writer-director Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel, the grandson of Liv Ullmann and Ingmar Bergman, makes his feature debut with this story of a mother (Renate Reinsve) who is confronted with accusations that her six-year-old son, Armand, assaulted another boy, Jon, whose mother (Ellen Dorrit Petersen) is her dead husband's sister. Despite taking place entirely at the boys' school, the film doesn't feel claustrophobic, according to The Playlist's Gregory Ellwood, thanks to "Ullmann Tøndel's direction and Reinsve 's enthralling performance." For Savina Petkova of The Film Stage, who is more lukewarm on the film overall, Reinsve "makes the film take off, whatever its uneven pace and lack of interior logic." IndieWire's Ryan Lattanzio also finds it "thrilling to watch" Reinsve, who "grounds the film 's more experimental, almost stagelike leanings in a constant state of heightened emotion." And in his review for Screen Daily, Jonathan Romney writes, "Reinsve stands out at the centre of a superb ensemble cast as a character defined by unknowability and an ever-shifting surface – contemptuously brittle one moment, the next melting before our eyes."

tbd The Balconettes (Les femmes au balcon)
Comedy/Fantasy | France | dir. Noémie Merlant

The Balconettes (2024)

Festival de Cannes

Noémie Merlant is probably best known as the star of Céline Sciamma's Portrait of a Lady on Fire, but she also directs. With this follow-up to her feature debut (Mi Iubita Mon Amour), Merlant tackles a script co-written with Sciamma and also stars as Elise, who, along with friends Ruby (Souheila Yacoub) and Nicole (Sanda Codreanu), battle misogyny under the hot Marseille sun. THR's Leslie Felperin finds this "self-regarding and self-indulgent" film "less a bold sui generis experiment than a hot mess," but Stephen Dalton of The Film Verdict is a little more forgiving to this "riotous, richly imagined portrait" despite a "few bumpy moments" and "sledgehammer levels of subtlety." More positive is Screen Daily's Nikki Baughan, who believes "those who click with Merlant 's uncompromising style will enjoy the bracing ride" of its "increasingly chaotic, challenging narrative that is equal parts farce, fantasy and gorefest." And IndieWire critic David Ehrlich declares this "primal scream of a movie, a messy and boisterous romp" and "an impressively layered genre mishmash."

Bird (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd Bird
Drama | UK | dir. Andrea Arnold

Andrea Arnold's three previous films to play in the Cannes competition (2016's American Honey, 2009's Fish Tank, and 2006's Red Road) each took home the Jury Prize, but this year's offering, a combination of social and magical realism, didn't fully convince critics. Bird stars Nykiya Adams as 12-year-old Bailey. She lives with her half-brother Hunter (Jason Buda) and father Bug (Barry Keoghan) in a squat in northern Kent. Life may be miserable, but Bailey is drawn to the local seagulls and ravens and eventually strikes up a friendship with Franz Rogowski's Bird. For Variety critic Owen Gleiberman, "Bird is a feel-bad movie that turns into a feel-good movie. What it never feels like is a totally authentic movie." The Telegraph's Tim Robey isn't convinced a late twist works, but Arnold's "trusty photographer Robbie Ryan doesn 't miss; Adams is excellent; the sense of place is as pungent as ever." James Mottram at Total Film appreciates the film's turn from "familiar social-realist ground" to "fable-like territory," and Lee Marshall of Screen Daily believes "Arnold weaves a subtle mix between gritty realism and the magical kind." In her A– review for The Playlist, Rafaela Sales Ross adds, "Bird beautifully threads the line between the real and the surreal."

The Damned (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd The Damned
Drama | Italy/USA/Belgium | dir. Roberto Minervini

After several movies that pushed the documentary form into the dramatic (Stop the Pounding Heart, The Other Side, What You Gonna Do When the World's on Fire?), director Roberto Minervini makes his first fiction film. Set in the winter of 1862, it tracks a U.S. Army company patrolling the barren western territories. IndieWire critic David Ehrlich labels The Damned a "thinly sketched piece of Civil War reenactment," and in her review for Screen Daily, Wendy Ide finds this "moody, glacially slow-burning" period drama's "bold approach" only "partially successful." More positive is Variety's Peter Debruge, who sees a "quiet, occasionally poetic film" that "strives toward something authentic." And Jordan Mintzer of THR describes this "quietly intoxicating and existentially real war movie" as "floating somewhere between reality and fiction" like a "time capsule of the past that 's been washed in the light of the present."

Everybody Loves Touda (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd Everybody Loves Touda
Drama | Morocco/France/Belgium/Denmark/Netherlands/Norway | dir. Nabil Ayouch

Maryam Touzani and Nabil Ayouch co-wrote The Blue Caftan, which Touzani directed to much acclaim. Now they have collaborated on another script, which Ayouch (Casablanca Beats, Horses of God) directs. Touda (a universally praised Nisren Erradi) dreams of being a Sheikha, a traditional Moroccan performer. To achieve this goal and make a better home for her deaf son, she believes she must leave her tiny village and make it in Casablanca. This simple plot is "sensually expressed in Erradi's whirling, energetic performance, and visually told by the brilliant, soft camerawork of Virginie Surdej, expressing the character's ups and downs," according to The Film Verdict's Adham Youssef. THR critic Lovia Gyarkye also praises Erradi, declaring, "The actress is a gripping screen presence, her portrayal often saving Ayouch 's narrative from its own contrivances." And IndieWire critic Esther Zuckerman agrees, "Erradi 's performance sometimes carries 'Touda' when the script by Ayouch and Maryam Touzani lacks."

Grand Tour (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd Grand Tour
Drama | Portugal/Italy/France | dir. Miguel Gomes

The first Cannes competition film for Portuguese director Miguel Gomes (best known for his Arabian Nights trilogy) is a playful travelogue set in 1917-18, when Edward, a timid British civil servant stationed in Burma, gets cold feet when his fiancée Molly arrives for their wedding and flees, traveling throughout Asia—with Molly in pursuit through the second half of the film. Shot like a documentary (with footage clearly from the present day), often in black-and-white 16mm, with narration driving what little plot there is, Grand Tour isn't an unequivocal success, writes The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw; he finds the film "six parts beguiling to one part exasperating" but adds, "[I]t leaves you with a gentle, bemused smile on your face." IndieWire's David Ehrlich also has issues witht he film's emphasis on the external (seeing the sights) over the internal (its characters' emotions): "[B]ut for all the luminous beauty of its images, 'Grand Tour' sorely lacks a current strong enough to sustain the thoughts that flow between them." But Variety critic Jessica Kiang calls Grand Tour an "enchanting" "antidote" for our troubled times that offers "joyful rewards" for viewers who go along for the journey.

Despite the somewhat mixed reviews, Gomes took home the festival's award for Best Director.

Jim Henson Idea Man (2024)


tbd Jim Henson: Idea Man
Documentary | USA | dir. Ron Howard
Streams on Disney+ beginning May 31

After directing documentaries on The Beatles (The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years), Pavarotti, and José Andrés' World Central Kitchen (We Feed People), Ron Howard now illuminates the varied career of Muppets creator Jim Henson, who found his way into the TV business as a puppeteer but was also an animator, actor (he was the original voice of Kermit the Frog and Ernie), and director (The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth).

Time Out's Phil de Semlyen finds Howard's film "as toothless as Cookie Monster 2.0" but still "a nostalgic treat." And for Daniel Fienberg of THR, it's "a very conventional movie that dedicates its time to proving how unconventional Jim Henson was." /Film's Chris Evangelista believes it's "frequently charming," but "for a subject so innovative and groundbreaking, Idea Man feels rather standard." IndieWire critic Kate Erbland is more positive on the film, writing, "Howard leans into honesty. The film is so much better for it, even as it can 't quite capture the full magic and scope of Henson's life and work. What could?"

Kinds of Kindness (2024)

Searchlight Pictures / Festival de Cannes

tbd Kinds of Kindness
Comedy/Drama/Anthology | USA/UK | dir. Yorgos Lanthimos
Opens in theaters on June 21

Comprised of three short films set in contemporary America and featuring the same core group of actors—Best Actor winner Jesse Plemons, Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qualley, Hong Chau, Joe Alwyn, and Mamoudou Athie—playing different characters in each, the latest from writer-director Yorgos Lanthimos felt like a return to the form of his earlier work (Dogtooth and Alps) for many critics and a turn away from his Academy Award nominees The Favourite and Poor Things. This makes sense because Lanthimos reunited with Efthimis Filippou, the writer of those earlier films and The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer. But not every critic enjoyed this darker Lanthimos. Time's Stephanie Zacharek finds Kindness "too parched and mannered to be either disturbing or funny or both—and not even its capable cast can rescue it." EW's Maureen Lee Lenker believes that the "audacity that has so defined Lanthimos and Stone 's work together remains, but here, it takes on a nastiness that becomes tedious the longer the film stretches on." Screen Rant critic Patrice Witherspoon admits it "often delivers entertainment," but also cautions that the film "drags holistically and is best treated as an indulgence to watch great actors do bizarre things for 165 minutes."

More positive is Screen Daily's Fionnuala Halligan, who declares the film a "profoundly puzzling, dizzyingly disturbing and dark-hearted set of loosely-connected stories which manage to be discordantly amusing and strangely exhilarating – a cinematic salt-rub." Writing for IGN, Siddhant Adlakha enjoys the "nasty absurdism" of the "three vicious, amusing stories," which harken back to "Lanthimos' meanest and most sardonic work." And Farah Cheded of The A.V. Club declares it "peak Lanthimos" thanks to how the stories "build upon and complicate one another, gelling into something haunting that fits the touted "fable" description."

Limonov—The Ballad (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd Limonov—The Ballad
Drama | Italy/France/Spain | dir. Kirill Serebrennikov

Kirill Serebrennikov's fourth consecutive feature to compete for the Palme d'Or, following 2018's Leto, 2021's Petrov's Flu, and 2022's Tchaikovsky's Wife, is an adaptation of Emmanuel Carrère biographical novel about writer, political agitator, and militant Eduard Limonov (Ben Whishaw). It's also the director's English-language debut. Written by Serebrennikov and Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski (Ida, Cold War), this "deeply enjoyable picture" features a "glorious performance" by Whishaw, according to The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw. IndieWire critic Ryan Lattanzio thinks you see "the vivid presence of Whishaw shining through his interpretation of the character" in a film that is "recklessly beautiful, wildly entertaining" and "never stops moving as restlessly as its real-life protagonist did." Less enthusiastic is Dave Calhoun of Time Out, who finds the film "too enamoured by certain elements of its antihero 's story and blinkered to others," but admits it's "energetic and engrossing." And Variety's Jessica Kiang believes "obviousness bedevils this movie" and Serebrennikov's "salacious yet oddly sanitized biopic mostly as a delivery system for a rather dated aesthetic of DGAF cool."

Motel Destino (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd Motel Destino
Thriller | Brazil/France/Germany | dir. Karim Aïnouz

After 2019's Invisible Life won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard section of the festival, Brazilian filmmaker Karim Aïnouz made his English-language debut last year and entered the main completion with Firebrand (coming to U.S. theaters June 14). In the competition for the Palme d'Or for the second year in a row, Aïnouz returns to his native turf of Brazil, specifically the hot, coastal northeastern Cearà region, where this erotic noir takes place. Co-written with Wislan Esmeraldo and Mauricio Zacharias, Motel Destino is set at the roadside sex motel of the title run by the volatile Elias (Fábio Assunção) and his younger wife Dayana (Nataly Rocha). Their world is thrown off-kilter with the arrival of 21-year-old Heraldo (Iago Xavier). Screen Daily's Fionnuala Halligan appreciates the film's "sly sense of humour" helmed by a director "who is trying his hand at several styles and finding out he's adept at all of them." At IndieWire, Ryan Lattanzio declares Destino a "dangerous, noxious gas can of a psychosexual thriller, lurid and as pitch-dark as the desert at night." And The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw likes the "garish glee" of Hélène Louvart's (Disco Boy, La Chimera) cinematography and the terrific "central trio: three intensely and unselfconsciously physical performances in which their bodies are frequently on show, sensual but fragile." Variety critic Guy Lodge also praises how Aïnouz and Louvart "shoot sex as sex" in this "Olympically horny" film that "once you submit to ... becomes its own kind of blast, throbbing with sound and color and movement, and genuinely hilarious in its unabashed lubriciousness."

Rumours (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd Rumours
Comedy | Canada/Germany | dir. Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, and Galen Johnson

After directing together on The Green Fog, their tribute to Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, Guy Maddin once again teams with brothers Evan and Galen Johnson for this surreal comedy that gets its title from the Fleetwood Mac album. According to THR's Leslie Felperin, it's a "frequently hilarious" comedy that "sometimes feels like a skit show that just barely holds together until the filmmakers and cast bring it all home for a terrific climactic closure." The setting is the G7 summit where Cate Blanchett as the German Chancellor, Denis Ménochet as the President of France, Charles Dance as the President of the United States, Roy Dupuis as the Prime Minister of Canada, Takehiro Hira as the Prime Minister of Japan, and Alicia Vikander as the President of the European Commission all get lost in the woods with "furiously masturbating bog zombies" and a "giant brain the size of a hatchback." For Looper's Audrey Fox, the "end result is an uneven yet still entertaining satirical romp, bolstered by engaging performances from its top-notch cast." And Jonathan Romney of Screen Daily believes "Rumours doesn't quite maximise" its potential, but what sustains the film "are the performances, performed with relish by an ensemble cheerfully riffing on national stereotypes."

The Surfer (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd The Surfer
Thriller | Australia/Ireland | dir. Lorcan Finnegan

The latest from director Lorcan Finnegan (Vivarium, Nocebo) stars Nicolas Cage as a man who returns to the Australian beach of his childhood to surf with his son only to be humiliated and prevented from surfing by a group of locals. This sends Cage's unnamed character into a downward spiral for which the actor "rises brilliantly to the challenge, cranking the acting dial from befuddled to vexed to outraged to volcanic," according to The Observer's Xan Brooks, who declares Surfer a "crisply scripted" (by Thomas Martin) and "gloriously demented B-movie thriller." For Screen Daily's Tim Grierson, "Cage 's commitment to this fracturing reality gives it a solid anchoring," but "The Surfer 's grim commentary on masculinity and material success proves only sporadically haunting." Variety's Owen Gleiberman finds it "amusing to a point", but with an "overly broad and cursory quality." But Tim Robey of The Telegraph believes Cage's performance in this "deft psychological thriller" belongs "quite high up in the canon."

Three Kilometres to the End of the World (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd Three Kilometres to the End of the World
Drama/Thriller | Romania | dir. Emanuel Parvu

The third feature from Romanian director Emanuel Parvu examines the conservative and corrupt tendrils of a small village in the Danube Delta. Written with producer Miruna Berescu, the screenplay's inciting incident is the brutal attack (not shown) of 17-year-old Adi and how it impacts his relationship with his parents and the community in which he grew up. For some critics, what's missing is Adi's perspective. Variety's Guy Lodge acknowledges Parvu's Romanian New Wave bona fides, but notes, "Somewhat overlooked in this furious face-off between love, hate, tradition and justice is the perspective of Adi himself." Ryan Lattanzio of IndieWire agrees that the film "is missing a key point of view: That of the victim, whose assault is a Trojan horse into the film 's more macro interest in how bigotry and conformity entwine." Less critical is Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian, who sees a "tough, sinewy drama about a whole community that wants to look away from others' differences and its own culpability." And Screen Daily critic Wendy Ide sees a "disaster unfolding in slow motion. Superbly acted and deliberately paced, the film is a compulsive account of the shattering of a family, and of a life changed forever."

Wild Diamond (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd Wild Diamond (Diamant Brut)
Drama | France | dir. Agathe Riedinger

The only debut feature to play in competition for the Palme d'Or at this year's festival, Wild Diamonds follows 19-year-old Liane (Malou Khebizi), whose obsession with beauty and desire to become famous leads to an audition for the reality TV series Miracle Island. Set in the coastal town of Fréjus on the Côte d'Azur, writer-director Agathe Riedinger's film is "an unpolished gem" that "sparkles with lusty energy and strong performances," according to The Film Verdict's Stephen Dalton. For THR critic Lovia Gyarkye, Wild Diamond "features gorgeous and frank observations about influencer culture, but it struggles to assert itself narratively." Steve Pond of TheWrap is more positive, seeing "a film that manages to be both empathetic and unforgiving," and Variety's Owen Gleiberman believes this "startlingly bold and true French drama" should make audiences feel "blessed by the arrival of a filmmaker this accomplished."

The disappointments

Beating Hearts (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd Beating Hearts (L'amour ouf)
Rom-com/Drama/Musical | France | dir. Gilles Lellouche

Writer-director Gilles Lellouche's follow-up to 2018's Sink or Swim is a maximalist adaptation of Irish author Neville Thompson 's 1997 novel Jackie loves Johnser OK?. Lellouche and co-writers Audrey Diwan and Ahmed Hamidi move the action from the suburbs of Dublin to a northern French town where Clotaire (Malik Frikah), a hot-headed troublemaker, and Jackie (Mallory Wanecque), a smart girl being raised by her widowed father (Alain Chabat), fall in love. After an incident lands Clotaire in jail, the story picks up a decade later with Clotaire played by François Civil and Adèle Exarchopoulos as Jackie, who is now married.

THR's Jordan Mintzer struggled to find anything to appreciate except the last five minutes in this "hodgepodge of movie clichés and overwrought scenes," adding, "Watching his decade-spanning saga of violent crime and amour fou is like having Lellouche repeatedly punch you in the face while he keeps shouting: Don 't you get how fou this amour really is? Don't you??" The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw is slightly more positive, but admits that "Civil and Exarchopoulos (and Frikah and Wanecque) give it everything they 've got and that is a great deal. But this can 't prevent Beating Hearts from being an unsatisfying experience." For Screen Daily critic Tim Grierson, "[T}his unapologetically sentimental drama actually works better in its first half," but he credits cinematographer Laurent Tangy with "striking compositions, often utilising spotlights, sunsets and other dramatic lighting to give Jackie and Clotaire 's courtship a swooning movie-ish grandeur." Writing for Variety, Guy Lodge also praises Lellouche and Tangy's ability to create "consistent, cartwheeling kineticism" in what is a "mad indulgence, but also one fully attuned to the mindset of its two besotted lead characters."

Horizon: An American Saga - Chapter 1 (2024)

Warner Bros. / Festival de Cannes

tbd Horizon: An American Saga - Chapter 1
Western | USA | dir. Kevin Costner
Opens in theaters on June 28 (followed by Chapter 2 on August 16)

Kevin Costner's first directorial effort since 2003's Open Range is just the opening salvo in an intended four-part series (Chapter 2 is completed, while Chapter 3 is in production). But after the film's mixed reception in Cannes, one has to wonder if Costner will get a chance to complete his epic. With four central storylines that have yet to connect (though they all seem to be heading to a settlement called Horizon), the film was accused by several critics of playing like a TV miniseries. In his review for IGN, Siddhant Adlakha dismisses Chapter 1 as a "meandering, regressive snooze," and Collider critic Chase Hutchinson finds it "frequently derivative, completely unmemorable, and with an utter lack of any new ideas." RogerEbert.com's Robert Daniels is a little more even-handed, noting that it "suffers from its grand scale, competing visions, and regressive politics. And yet, there is a mystique to the very audacity of attempting it." And Vulture critic Bilge Ebiri adds, "Horizon is a gorgeous, sprawling, and at times moving blast of old-fashioned storytelling — but for now, it 's half a movie."

On the positive side, The Telegraph's Robbie Collin finds it "earnest, stately and – even in the face of dire odds – humane and hopeful; full of crisply drawn characters and wide landscapes golden with promise, and without a crumb of cynicism in sight." And Rory O'Connor of The Film Stage believes "Costner hasn 't forgotten where to point a camera, and outside all the table-setting, Horizon has moments designed to astonish."

Marcello Mio (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd Marcello Mio
Comedy | France | dir. Christophe Honoré

Writer-director Christophe Honoré and actress Chiara Mastroianni team up for the fourth time, following On a Magical Night, Beloved, and Love Songs, for this meta-exploration of identity. Playing herself, Mastroianni begins to dress up as her deceased father, the legendary Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni, while her mother—played by her actual mother, Catherine Deneuve—worries that her daughter might be having a breakdown. It's a "vastly indulgent but gossamer-weight bit of frippery" that is "so wink-wink it can barely see straight, so inside-baseball it 's practically buried under the pitcher's mound," according to Guy Lodge of Variety.

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw isn't much kinder, calling Mio a "peculiar and tiresome piece of cine-narcissism," an "all-but-unbearable, precious piece of whimsy," and an "an indulgent doodle of a film," while admitting Deneuve "injects some real humour" into the film. Writing for IndieWire, Ben Croll is slightly more positive, finding that the film "offers a heartfelt and even occasionally moving show of artistic trust and collaboration, playing as an unambiguous love note from a filmmaker to his favorite star." And The Film Vedict's Oris Aigbokhaevbolo believes there are good "performances alongside a solid collection of songs" in what is a "pleasant distraction" for "viewers who like the idea of European movie stars having fun onscreen."

Megalopolis (2024)

American Zoetrope / Festival de Cannes

tbd Megalopolis
Drama/Sci-fi | USA | dir. Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola returned to the Cannes competition for the first time since winning the Palme d'Or in 1979 for Apocalypse Now with a project he has been dreaming about for 40 years and for which he invested $120 million of his own money. Loosely based on the the Catilinarian Conspiracy of 63 BC, Coppola's epic stars Adam Driver as Cesar Catalina, a genius architect who seeks to overthrow Mayor Franklyn Cicero (Giancarlo Esposito) and the ruling upper class to create a new utopian city. Caught between the two men is Julia Cicero, the mayor's daughter, who loves Cesar. This description just scratches the surface of a film that inspired a wide range of reactions upon it's premiere and includes Aubrey Plaza as a reporter named Wow Platinum and Jon Voight as a perverted billionaire.

On the negative side are The Film Verdict's Stephen Dalton, who sees a "muddled misfire of overcooked kitsch and undercooked ideas," and BBC critic Nicholas Barber, who finds Megalopolis "magnificently messy in pretty much every respect." Geoffrey Macnab of The Independent is more positive, claiming it's not the "car crash it could have been. It is, though, deeply flawed and very eccentric." The Playlist's Rafaela Sales Ross isn't "convinced it works" but is "thrilled it exists," and Time critic Stephanie Zacharek will "take a messy, imaginative sprawl over a waxen, tasteful enterprise any day." Manohla Dargis of The New York Times sees a "fascinating film aswirl with wild visions, lofty ideals, cinematic allusions, literary references, historical footnotes and self-reflexive asides." And Vulture's Bilge Ebiri is also positive on the film, writing, "Megalopolis is often caught between its own dreams and what is merely possible. It certainly has moments of dazzling invention." For Justin Chang of The New Yorker, "Megalopolis isn 't just about time; it is time—at least in the sense that the film, more than forty years in the making, comes to us as an astounding repository of the past."

Despite Coppola's best efforts, the film is still awaiting a conventional U.S. distributor (and a release date), though IMAX has committed to giving Megalopolis a limited large-format release this fall.

The Most Precious of Cargoes (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd The Most Precious of Cargoes
Animation/Drama | France | dir. Michel Hazanavicius

In 2011, writer-director Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist might have lost the Palme d'Or to Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, but it did beat the latter out for the Best Picture Oscar. Hazanavicius has not found success like that since, though his latest, an animated tale about a baby girl thrown from a train bound for Auschwitz and rescued by a woodcutter's wife, played in competition this year. Based on a novel by French writer Jean-Claude Grumberg, Cargoes proved divisive among critics. THR's Leslie Felperin labels the film a "disappointment, mawkish and excessively manipulative, thanks especially to Alexandre Desplat 's syrupy score." And Screen Daily critic Jonathan Romney agrees that the score "like the film itself, never finds an appropriate register for addressing this most painful of themes." However, in her review for IndieWire, Leila Latif declares Cargoes to be "an unflinching but elegant Holocaust fable," and Variety's Peter Debruge believes "Hazanavicius finds a poignant way to address not only the horrors of the Holocaust, but the kindness that combated it, crafting an indelible parable destined to be watched and shared by generations to come."

Oh, Canada (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd Oh, Canada
Drama | USA | dir. Paul Schrader

After adapting Affliction more than 20 years ago (and helping Nick Nolte to win an Academy Award), writer-director Paul Schrader returns to the work of novelist Russell Banks for his third film (after Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters in 1985 and Patty Hearst in 1988) to compete for the Palme d'Or. Oh, Canada stars Richard Gere as Leonard Fife, a revered documentarian on his deathbed who is now ready to tell the truth about why he fled to Canada when he was young. Jacob Elordi plays Fife as a young man, and Uma Thurman is Emma, Fife's wife. "The movie appears to circle endlessly around its own emotions and ideas without closing in," according to Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian, who also calls the film "muddled, anticlimactic and often diffidently performed." THR's David Rooney similarly finds Canada "slight and stubbornly page-bound, too unsatisfyingly fleshed out to give its actors meat to chew on." But Patrice Witherspoon of Screen Rant is more positive: "With sincerity and style, Schrader offers a thoughtful film about life and legacy." Writing for IGN, Chase Hutchinson claims it's a "frequently fascinating and often moving film despite its many, often glaring, flaws," and The Playlist's Rafaela Sales Ross believes it "plays not as a statement of repentance but as an exasperated, impossibly moving love letter from a dying man."

Parthenope (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd Parthenope
Drama/Fantasy | Italy/France | dir. Paolo Sorrentino

In his previous feature, The Hand of God, writer-director Paolo Sorrentino served up his own memories in a love letter to his native Naples. That love letter continues with his first film focused on a female protagonist (played by newcomer Celeste Dalla Porta), named after the mythical siren who washed upon the city's shores. As he follows Parthenope's life from her birth in 1950 until today, Sorrentino makes another beautiful-looking film, but it doesn't come together for IndieWire's David Ehrlich, "Parthenope is just a long movie made by a middle-aged man who almost drives himself insane trying to imagine what life would be like as an unbelievably hot woman." Screen Daily critic Lee Marshall adds, "Lush, sensual, dripping with desire, this paean to Naples' desperate beauty comes with a male gaze so intense and dazzling that one assumes no extra lighting was needed on set." But The Film Verdict's Deborah Young believes "Sorrentino captures the passion and decadence, the misery, tragedy and baroque riches of his native Naples." And in his review for Variety, Siddhant Adlakha declares this "intoxicating reflection on the way people and places are seen, and the way they see themselves" to be an "exquisite treatise on cinematic beauty."

The Second Act (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd The Second Act
Comedy | France | dir. Quentin Dupieux

In less than a year, French DJ turned writer, director, cinematographer, editor, and composer Quentin Dupieux has brought Yannick to the Locarno Film Festival (and MUBI streaming service) and Daaaaaali! to the Venice Film Festival. Now he has opened the 2024 Cannes Film Festival with a comedy about the film industry and the making of the first film written and directed by AI about a bizarre love triangle involving David (Louis Garrel), his friend Willy (Raphaël Quenard), and Florence (Léa Seydoux) the girl he wants to pawn off to him. Vincent Lindon also appears as Guillaume, Florence's father. For Variety critic Peter Debruge, The Second Act is a "frivolous fun-house mirror" of a film and a "slender meta-textual doodle." TheWrap's Steve Pond finds it "little more than an amusing trifle, as meta as that trifle may be." Featuring a "satisfying, almost musical symmetry," it's a "timely, self-aware, offbeat comedy that dials down the writer-director 's signature goofball sci-fi surrealism in favour of something a little more thoughtful and discursive," according to Stephen Dalton of The Film Verdict. Writing for THR, Jordan Mintzer is also positive on the film, "It 's cinema as a massive turntable where you can remix, scratch and sample concepts to create your own special sound."

The Shrouds (2024)

Festival de Cannes

tbd The Shrouds
Horror/Thriller | France/Canada | dir. David Cronenberg

Two year ago David Cronenberg's Crimes of the Future competed for the Palme d'Or. This year the 81-year-old director offered up his most personal work to date, an exploration of grief in his own inimitable style. Vincent Cassel (made up to look like the director) plays Karsh, the creator of GraveTech, a controversial technology that allows the living to watch their deceased loved ones decompose. After multiple graves, including his wife's, are vandalized, Karsh enlists the help of his former brother-in-law (Guy Pearce) to uncover what happened and why. Diane Kruger also stars as Karsh's wife Becca and her twin Terry, as well as the serving as the voice of an AI assistant called Hunny. "It is indeed a day to grieve when the most shocking thing about a David Cronenberg film is how dull it is," mourns Fionnuala Halligan of Screen Daily. Similarly downbeat, Variety critic Owen Gleiberman believes, "The Shrouds could almost be a Saturday Night Live parody of Cronenberg." But the film does have its defenders, including The Film Verdict's Stephen Dalton, who admits it's "no masterpiece, but it throbs with the kind of quietly mesmerising psycho-sexual weirdness that no other director can replicate." And IndieWire critic David Ehrlich writes, "Its morgue-like coldness eventually reveals itself to be deeply comforting to some degree — if not while you 're watching it, then perhaps as its big ideas begin to seep into your bone marrow during the days and weeks that follow."

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All photos above courtesy of Festival de Cannes and Quinzaine 2024.