Cannes 2023: 12 Films We’re Looking Forward To
For the next 12 days, the most prestigious and glamorous who’s who of global cinema will sashay around the little French town of Cannes. This year’s competition jury includes names like Denis Ménochet, Brie Larson and Paul Dano, and is led by Cannes-favourite Ruben Östlund. The jury clearly has its work cut out. This year’s line-up includes cinema’s finest – Wes Anderson, Kore-eda Hirokazu, Catherine Breillat, Todd Haynes, Ken Loach and more. Among those making their comebacks are Martin Scorcese, who returns to Cannes’ official selection after 37 years; and Breillat, who will release her first feature film in a decade. And of course, there will be red-carpet appearances by the likes of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Anushka Sharma and Aditi Rao Hydari. India will be represented by four films: Anurag Kashyap’s Kennedy starring Rahul Bhat; Kanu Behl’s Agra; Yudhajit Basu’s short film Nehemich and Manipuri filmmaker Aribam Syam Sharma's award-winning Ishanou (1990), which will play as part of Cannes Classics.
Here are the most-anticipated movies from the 76th edition of the Cannes film festival.
Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon
Killers of the Flower Moon will mark Scorsese’s first film in the official selection since his 1986 film After Hours. Based on David Grann’s bestselling book of the same name, the film revolves around the true story of a series of grisly murders in Oaklahoma in the Twenties. Scorsese’s frequent collaborators – actors Robert De Niro and Leonardo Di Caprio – play scammers who are after a wealthy family of Osage people, while Jesse Plemmons plays a straightlaced lawman. The film is part of the ‘Out of Competition’ section.
Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City
Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Margot Robbie, Willem Dafoe and more – welcome to Asteroid City. The candy-coloured, vibrant trailer introduces us to a space convention happening in a fictional desert in 1955. Described as a “sci-fi romantic comedy”, the film brings together characters from different walks of life, leading to their collective transformation. As per usual, Anderson has directed, co-produced and co-written the film.
Kore-eda Hirokazu’s Kaibutsu (Monster)
The last film Kore-eda directed (Shoplifters, 2018) won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. The Japanese director returns with another Japanese-language film, Monster, about a mother, a teacher and a child. As each of the three talk about their experiences, a story emerges that makes us see the characters in a different light. Kore-eda is known for telling stories that are quiet, deeply touching and explore dysfunction with sensitivity.
Maïwenn’s Jeanne Du Barry
The 76th edition of Cannes features six female directors in competition, setting a new record for the film festival. This year will open with Jeanne Du Barry, a French biographical drama film written, directed and produced by Maïwenn. She also stars in the film as Jeanne Du Barry, lover to King Louis XV (played by Johnny Depp). The film revolves around Barry’s navigation of the treacherous royal world as an outsider.
Catherine Breillat’s L’ete Dernier (The Last Summer)
Catherine Breillat’s last film, Abuse of Weakness (2013), was a provocative examination of power and greed. Ten years later, Breillat returns with The Last Summer, chronicling a torrid affair between a brilliant lawyer and her husband’s son from another marriage. Like most of the director’s filmography, this film promises to explore power dynamics, love and female desire.
Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Kuru Otlar Ustune (About Dry Grasses)
Another Cannes darling, Turkish screenwriter and director Nuri Bilge Ceylan was last at the festival with his 2018 film, The Wild Pear Tree. About Dry Grasses follows a young art teacher completing mandatory service in a rural village while dreaming of moving to Istanbul. His hope of leaving the suffocating place is crushed when he’s accused of abusing a student. Expect deliberate, slow storytelling: much like The Wild Pear Tree and Winter Sleep (2014), About Dry Grasses has a runtime of over three hours.
Ken Loach’s The Old Oak
After premiering 18 films at Cannes, 15 of which were in competition, Ken Loach has said The Old Oak might be his last film. The 87-year-old veteran director tells the tale of a conflicted town, torn between the decline of their community and the entrance of new Syrian refugees. When an unlikely friendship develops between the landlord of a club and a young Syrian woman, it gives the town a chance to reconcile.
Anurag Kashyap’s Kennedy
Kashyap is another Cannes regular — in the past, Gangs of Wasseypur (2012), Bombay Talkies (2013), Ugly (2013) and Psycho Raman (2016) have been screened under different sections — and this will be the first time he’s part of the prestigious Midnight Screenings as a director. Starring Rahul Bhat as a dirty cop who is dead as per official records and on a murder spree, Kennedy is Mumbai noir at its finest. With chase scenes that take you across the city by night and an outstanding background score (performed by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra), this is one of Kashyap’s best films to date.
Kanu Behl’s Agra
Kanu Behl premiered his debut film, Titli, at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section in 2014. Now, almost a decade later, he’s back with Agra, which has been selected for the Director’s Fortnight section. The film follows a young man who is battling immense loneliness and sexual repression in a broken, middle-class home. Behl describes Agra as a “reverse coming-of-age” story, with a boy coming to terms with the delusion and transactionality. The film’s cast includes yesteryear actor Rahul Roy, Priyanka Bose and Mohit Agarwal. You can read more about it here.
James Mangold’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
When it comes to cinema’s most beloved characters, Indiana Jones has few competitors. Harrison Ford has played the role in four movies over three decades and at 80, he reprises the role for the fifth installment, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. This is the first film in the franchise to not be directed by Steven Spielberg and features a mixed bag of new and old characters. The grand finale might not be a part of the competition, but it is sure to find its fans at the festival, especially since the film also stars Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
Pedro Almodovar’s Strange Way of Life
A queer Western drama that brings together Internet’s Daddy Pedro Pascal and the original emo hero, Ethan Hawke? Yes, please. The short film features the two actors as men who “love each other” and meet after 25 years. The film will be screened as part of Special Screenings and marks the director’s second English-language film. Almodovar was once set to direct Brokeback Mountain (2005) and perhaps, this will be our glimpse at the director’s vision of the queer Western film.
Wim Wenders’ Perfect Days
Wenders is one of cinema’s living legends and has previously debuted 12 of his films at Cannes. He also took home the Palme d’Or for Paris, Texas in 1984. This year, he returns to the main competition section with Perfect Days, a German-Japanese film that follows Hirayama (Koji Yakusho), a toilet cleaner who spends his days reading books and pursuing music. Wenders will also have a special screening of his documentary Anselm, an immersive portrait of the artist Anselm Kiefer.