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The 7 Most Anticipated & Buzzed-About Premieres At The Cannes Film Festival!

Written by Emma Kassel. Published: June 01 2024
(Photo: American Zoetrope)


The 77th annual Festival De Cannes concluded with a stunning and joyful ceremony last Saturday night. Greta Gerwig, chairing the competition jury, gave the Palme d'Or, the festival's highest honor, to Anora, a hilarious, terrifying, and ultimately very moving account of a sex worker's crazy adventures in New York. Along with Anora, we’re here to recount the most anticipated films that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this year!


1. Anora

Kicking it off with the Palme d’Or winner, Anora focuses on a young Uzbek-American stripper from Brighton Beach, a Russophone neighborhood in New York City, named Ani. Her supervisor, who speaks a bit of Russian, puts her in touch with clients who speak the language, and she’s hired by a Russian oligarch's son, sparking a romantic relationship to blossom that eventually results in their elopement. When his wealthy and powerful parents find out he married a sex worker, an annulment disrupts their idyllic marriage. Anora is the 5th consecutive Palme d'Or winner distributed by Neon; previous winners include the Oscar-winning film Parasite, as well as Anatomy of a Fall, Triangle of Sadness, and Titane. This is filmmaker Sean Baker’s 8th feature film and the 3rd to premiere at Cannes. Safe to say this is set to get a lot of attention as it received the highest marks in the main competition.


2. The Substance

A fading star uses a drug available on the black market that replicates cells to momentarily transform herself into a more youthful and attractive version of herself. This comedic body horror film is sure to intrigue audiences when it gets a release date, as it won best screenplay written by Coralie Fargeat. Demi Moore plays an Oscar winner, Elizabeth, whose career is seemingly over when a network executive, played by Dennis Quaid, tells her that she’s going to be replaced with a younger model. This younger model, who is portrayed by Margaret Qualley, will do whatever it takes to stay in Elizabeth's body. The film is weird, grotesque, and ultimately fun.


3. Emilia Pérez

Starring Zoe Saldana, Karla Sofía Gascón, Selena Gomez, and Adriana Paz, this musical crime comedy follows a lady who’s assigned to help a leader of a Mexican cartel by assisting in her sex reassignment surgery to confirm her gender and avoid detection by the authorities. The film was reportedly given a 9-minute standing ovation, and all 4 leads took home the award for best actress together. Scenes include car chases, shoot outs, and extensive musical numbers that are sure to take you on an emotional rollercoaster throughout the course of the film. Emilia Pérez has already been aquired by Netflix, so it shouldn’t be that long of a wait until we can see the adventure on our screens.




4. Oh, Canada

Oh, Canada, written and directed by Paul Schrader, is based on the 2021 novel Foregone by the late Russel Banks. The narrative explores the existence of a deeply troubled filmmaker who is on the verge of dying. This individual is an American who sought refuge in Canada to evade being drafted for the Vietnam War. Richard Gere plays the unreliable narrator, Leonard Fife, in the modern day recalling his past, while Jacob Elordi plays the same character in flashbacks. Uma Thurman and Michael Imperioli star in the film as well, which covers themes such as mortality, memory, and looking inwards.


5. Kinds of Kindness

This anthology film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, who also directed the Oscar-winning films Poor Things and The Favourite, is an absurdist dark comedy described as a “triptych fable”. The film comprises three separate stories that are loosely related. “The Death of R.M.F." centers on a guy who, after severing ties with his influential employer, attempts to take control of his fate. "R.M.F. is Flying" shows a man who is certain his spouse is a fraud after she was reported missing and has returned. In the last section, "R.M.F. Eats a Sandwich", a cultist is tasked with locating a certain individual who can raise the dead. The cast is star-studded with each actor playing a different role in each story. Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qualley, Hunter Schafer, Joe Alwyn, Hong Chau, Mamadou Athie, and Jesse Plemons (who won best actor) star in the film set to be released on June 21.




6. Megalopolis

Directed, written, and produced by Francis Ford Coppola, Megalopolis takes place in a fictitious modern America after a catastrophic event, making this a remarkable science-fiction drama. A huge ensemble makes up the cast, with notable actors including Aubrey Plaza, Adam Driver, Shia LeBeouf, Nathalie Emmanuel, and lots more. With the ability to manipulate time, idealist architect Cesar Catilina (Driver) seeks to reconstruct it as a sustainable utopia, but fraudulent mayor Franklyn Cicero (Giancarlo Esposito) opposes him and is adamant about maintaining the existing status quo. Julia, Franklyn's socialite daughter (Emmanuel), is torn between them as she looks for purpose in life after becoming weary of the influence her parents gave her. This film is decades in the making, with Coppola financing much of it himself. The film takes avant garde to the next level -- there is even a bit where Driver, on-screen, directly addresses and has a scripted conversation with a member of the audience. This is no doubt a big part of the reason the film is having difficulty finding a distributor.




7. Bird 

Bird showcases Bailey, 12, who shares a home in North Kent with her brother Hunter and her single father Bug. Since Bug doesn't have much time for his children, Bailey, who is about to enter adolescence, looks elsewhere for excitement and attention. “Thank you, this is really lovely, but I really want to go and party right now,” Andrea Arnold, the film's director said after a 7-minute standing ovation. She has won the jury prize 3 times for her films American Honey, Fish Tank, and Red Road. Barry Keoghan, who recently made waves with his performance in Saltburn, plays Bug, while the two children are portrayed by Jason Buda and Nykiya Adams.


Which films are you most excited to see?