The 76th annual Cannes Film Festival kicks off today (Tuesday) and is set to dazzle film fans all over the world with its glamour, stars on the famous red-carpet steps outside the Palais des Festivals and, of course, a first look at many of 2023’s most anticipated films.
There’s the final return of Indiana Jones and another team-up between Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese.
We’ve also got Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore teaming up together for Todd Haynes’ May December, a period drama with Alicia Vikander and Jude Law, and Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke steaming up the screen in a gay Western film from Pedro Almodóvar.
Here we look at the 10 films that will be showing at Cannes and are already generating a lot of buzz…
Jeanne du Barry
Johnny Depp’s first acting role since his court battles with ex-wife Amber Heard sees him play King Louis XV of France, who fell madly in love with the working-class courtesan Jeanne du Barry, also known as Madame du Barry, played by the movie’s director, Maïwenn.
Against all social rules, he scandalously moves her to his palace at Versailles where her arrival also scandalises the court.
The French-language film also stars Benjamin Lavernhe, Pierre Richard, Pierre Richard, Melvil Poupaud, Pascal Greggory and India Hair.
Featuring as the opening film of the festival, Jeanne du Barry has courted further controversy after Maïwenn reportedly admitted to assaulting a French journalist by pulling his fair and spitting in his face.
Cannes Film Festival boss Thierry Fremaux has also come out and denied actress Adele Haenel’s claims that the industry will ‘do anything to defend its rapist chiefs’, as well as touching upon criticism of a Depp-led film opening this year’s festival.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the festival’s opening night, as per Variety, Fremaux told journalists: ‘If you thought that it’s a festival for rapists, you wouldn’t be here listening to me, you would not be complaining that you can’t get tickets to get into screenings.’
He added: ‘To tell you the truth, in my life, I only have one rule, it’s the freedom of thinking, and the freedom of speech and acting within a legal framework.
‘If Johnny Depp had been banned from acting in a film, or the film was banned we wouldn’t be here talking about it.’
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Harrison Ford is back for one final adventure as the derring-do archaeologist Indiana Jones in the fifth film in the franchise, directed by James Mangold, and premiering at Cannes.
The fourth film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, was not particularly well-received by critics or many fans back in 2008, although it was a box office hit, grossing over $790million on a $185million budget.
This time around, 80-year-old Ford has Phoebe Waller-Bridge in tow, playing his headstrong niece Helena, with the duo finding themselves in a race against time to retrieve a legendary artifact that can change the course of history.
It’s 1969, meaning Indy is put into the context of the Space Race against the Soviet Union.
Meanwhile, Jürgen Voller, played by Mads Mikkelsen, is a NASA member and ex-Nazi involved with the moon-landing program who wishes to make the world into a better place as he sees fit.
John Rhys-Davies is returning to his role of Sallah, while Antonio Banderas, Toby Jones and Boyd Holbrook also join the cast.
It marks the first Indiana Jones movie not written by George Lucas or directed by Steven Spielberg, although both serve as executive producers.
We’re only just coming off the back of the Wes Anderson craze on TikTok and fans’ obsession over an AI-generated version of Star Wars directed by the auteur, and Anderson is now here with his latest film.
Asteroid City is a science fiction romantic comedy drama (of course) that shows the itinerary of a Junior Stargazer convention becoming spectacularly disrupted by world-changing events.
The trailer has teased The Grand Budapest Hotel director Anderson at his finest with his unique stylings, pastel shades and vintage vibe all in place.
He has also assembled perhaps the most impressive cast of his career to date – and that’s saying something.
Tom Hanks makes his deadpan Anderson debut alongside Margot Robbie, Steve Carell and Liev Schreiber.
They are joined by past Anderson collaborators including Scarlett Johansson, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Edward Norton and Jeff Goldblum.
Strange Way of Life
The trailer release for Strange Way of Life in April got many fans all hot and bothered, with the 30-minute queer Western triggering immediate comparisons to Brokeback Mountain – fitting considering Pedro Almodóvar was offered the chance to direct the 2006 Oscar-winning film with Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger.
The short tells the story of Pedro Pascal’s cowboy character Silva as he travels on horseback across the desert to meet his old friend who he hasn’t seen in 25 years, Sheriff Jake, played by Ethan Hawke.
The duo have been glimpsed in the clip beginning to unravel their surprising romantic past with one another in dramatically-scored and shot scenes, harking back to Hollywood’s glory days of Westerns.
There’s also gunslinging, horse riding, fighting in the dust and The Last of Us star Pascal tending to Hawke on his sickbed.
‘Years ago, you asked me what two men could do living together on a ranch. I’ll answer you now,’ Pascal tells him in a comment that likely single-handedly drove a large chunk of the online reaction.
Killers of the Flower Moon
Martin Scorsese is back at Cannes, 47 years after he debuted Taxi Driver to boos, walk-outs and a condemnation from jury president, the playwright Tennessee Williams.
It then went on to win the festival’s top honour, the Palme d’Or.
Once more, his latest film stars Robert De Niro, as well as Leonardo DiCaprio, with whom he has previously worked on The Aviator, Gangs of New York and The Departed.
Killers of the Flower Moon is an Apple Original film based on the non-fiction book by David Grann about a series of mysterious murders in Oklahoma in the 1920s of the Osage tribe, which sparked a major FBI investigation involving J Edgar Hoover.
The cast also features Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, John Lithgow and Brendan Fraser.
It will be Scorsese’s first Western and his most expensive project to date with the movie reportedly having a budget of around $200million (£159million).
Previous Cannes prize-winner Todd Haynes, for Velvet Goldmine in 1998, is back again with a romantic drama starring Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore.
Haynes has made a name for himself with movies including unconventional Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There and romantic period piece Carol with Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.
May December follows an actress (Portman) researching the real-life woman (Moore) she is set to play in a film, 20 years after her and her husband’s notorious tabloid romance gripped the nation, thanks in part to their large age disparity.
Their relationship starts to buckle under the pressure of examination into their past.
Filmed in the atmospheric city of Savannah, Georgia, the film also features Charles Melton, Piper Curda, Elizabeth Yu and Gabriel Chung.
Firebrand is set to debut in competition at Cannes this month, directed by Karim Aïnouz and based on the 2013 novel Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle.
It stars Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander as Katherine Parr, the sixth and final wife of Henry VIII, who survived him.
Named Regent while Henry is fighting overseas, Katherine has done everything she can to push for a new future based on her radical Protestant beliefs.
When an increasingly ailing and paranoid King returns, he turns his fury on the radicals, charging Katherine’s childhood friend with treason and burns her at the stake, forcing Katherine to fight for her own survival.
Filmed on location at Derbyshire’s Haddon Hall for an era-appropriate vibe, the film features Jude Law as the latest in a long line of handsome men cast to play the Tudor king in his final days.
Sam Riley and Eddie Marsan play Thomas and Edward Seymour, while Simon Russell Beale, Ruby Bentall, Erin Doherty and Patsy Ferran also star.
The Zone of Interest
The Zone of Interest is loosely based on the 2014 Martin Amis novel of the same name, set in Auschwitz concentration camp.
An A24 co-production directed by Jonathan Glazer, the film follows commandant Rudolf Höss and his wife Hedwig as they strive to build a dream life for their family in a house and garden next to the camp.
It was filmed on location at Auschwitz in 2021, the location of one of the most notorious Nazi concentration camps of the Holocaust.
It stars Christian Friedel and Sandra Hüller in the lead roles, alongside Daniel Holzberg, Sascha Maaz and Max Beck.
British-born Glazer has previously had critical success with his 2013 flick Under the Skin, starring Scarlett Johansson, and his film debut Sexy Beast in 2000 starred Sir Ben Kingsley and Ray Winstone.
A drama written and directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, this marks his return to a Japanese-language project for the first time since the international success of 2018’s Shoplifters, which won him the Palme D’Or at Cannes that year.
He was also nominated for an Oscar for best international feature film.
The film stars Sakura Andō as a mother who confronts a teacher after noticing disturbing changes in her son Minato’s behaviour.
However, as the story unfolds through the eyes of mother, teacher and child, the truth gradually emerges.
It also features Eita Nagayama as the teacher, Hori, Soya Kurokawa as Minato, and Yūko Tanaka as the school’s headteacher.
Kore-eda will once again have a film showing in competition at Cannes, having also enjoyed the distinction with Like Father, Like Son in 2013 (which won the Jury Prize), Our Little Sister and After the Storm.
In 2021, he directed South Korean drama Broker, which once more competed at Cannes last year.
He also helmed The Truth in 2019 with Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche and Ethan Hawke.
Disney has the honour of closing the 2023 Cannes Film Festival with Pixar’s latest offering, Elemental.
Presented out of competition, it’s the latest in a long line of films from the studio that have debuted there, including Up, Inside Out and Soul.
Elemental is directed by Peter Sohn, who helmed The God Dinosaur back in 2015 and adorably voiced Buzz’s robo-cat companion SOX in last year’s Lightyear.
They official synopsis reads: ‘In a city where fire, water, land, and air residents live together, a fiery young woman and a go-with-the-flow guy are about to discover something elemental: How much they actually have in common.’
Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie voice central characters Ember and Wade, while Catherine O’Hara and Wendi McLendon-Covey are also in the voice cast.
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