Cannes announces 70th edition line-up

Kidman, Farrell, Pattinson and Moore for red carpet.

by Richard Mowe

Festival director Thierry Frémaux and president Pierre Lescure at the announcement this morning
Festival director Thierry Frémaux and president Pierre Lescure at the announcement this morning Photo: Richard Mowe
Cannes Film Festival’s artistic director Thierry Frémaux was on chipper form when he breezed into the UGC Normandie cinema on the Champs d’Elysées in Paris today (April 13) for a media gathering to unveil the programme for the landmark 70th edition of the world’s largest celebration of cinema - and brandished the slim programme from the first edition in 1946.

Today with its bumper offerings overflowing on all fronts it is doubtful whether even one section could have fitted into the little publication. Frémaux, as if to underline the way the festival has boomed over the decades, noted that his selectors had to work their way through more than 1,930 titles from all corners of the globe to be whittled down to the final selection of 49 feature films with four screening Out of Competition and three Midnight Shows, representing 29 different countries. Among them are nine first-time filmmakers and 12 by women directors. The coming days will see confirmations of the Cannes Classics and the members of the Competition jury under Pedro Almodovar.

With the shadow of the French elections just before the Festival starts on May 17, Frémaux hoped the festival would continue its mission of dedication to the Seventh Art (of cinema) and “the promise of a better life together” through film as conveyed through the vision of filmmakers.

Festival director Thierry Frémaux
Festival director Thierry Frémaux Photo: Richard Mowe
The honour of opening the Festival goes to Arnaud Desplechin’s Ismael’s Ghosts (Fantômes d’Ismael) with Mathieu Amalric, Marion Cotillard and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Desplechin, who has had three films premiered in Cannes, deals with a filmmaker who is besieged by ghosts.

The Competition fields a diverse selection of familiar names and new faces with Sofia Coppola, Todd Haynes, Michael Haneke, Lynne Ramsay, François Ozon, Fatih Akin, Bong Joon-ho, and Yorgos Lanthimos all making the final mix, with others such as Luc Besson’s Valérian falling by the way side.

Coppola unites the omnipresent Nicole Kidman with Colin Farrell (they’re also to be seen together in Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Killing Of A Sacred Deer) as well as Kirsten Dunst for The Beguiled, loosely inspired by Don Siegel’s 1971 film with Clint Eastwood. Kidman makes it a quartet with a role in James Cameron Mitchell’s Out of Competition entry How To Talk To Girls At Parties and Jane Campion’s Season two of Top of the Lake.

Michel Haneke, who has won the Palme d’Or, twice is in with the shout of a third for Happy End, brings together again Isabelle Huppert and Jean-Louis Tringtignant (from Amour) for Happy End, a family drama set against the refugee crisis (a theme of several films in the Festival) which Frémaux says also explores the director’s own world of cinema.

Colin Farrell in The Killing Of A Sacred Deer by Yorgos Lanthimos, part of the Cannes official Competition selection
Colin Farrell in The Killing Of A Sacred Deer by Yorgos Lanthimos, part of the Cannes official Competition selection Photo: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival
German cinema, much to the fore with last year’s Toni Erdmann, will be back in the limelight with the return of Turkish-German Fatih Akin and In The Fade (Aus dem Nights) with Diane Kruger about a woman seeking revenge, which the director has described as “an updated Taxi Driver”.

Accoladed by Frémaux as “a major artist” Lynne Ramsay (Ratcatcher, We Need To Talk About Kevin) directs Joaquin Phoenix as a damaged war veteran now rescuing women trafficked in the sex trade in the thriller You Were Never Really Here.

Todd Haynes following his Cannes success with Carol two years ago, revisits the world of childhood with Wonderstruck, featuring Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams and Amy Hargreaves.

Although absent from the Croisette for a few years, Jacques Doillon makes a high-profile return with a film about sculptor Auguste Rodin, who is played by Vincent Lindon. Another French director Michael Hazanavicius (The Artist) casts an inward glance on the world of cinema in Le Redoutable, about the relationship between director Jean-Luc Godard and Anne Wiazemsky, 20 years his junior. Louis Garrel plays the director and Stacy Martin as his protegé with a cast including Bérénice Bejo and Jean-Pierre Mocky.

Compatriot François Ozon has also found favour with the selectors with a Hitchcockian erotic thriller L’Amant Double, featuring two actors he has directed in the past: Jérémie Renier (who featured in Criminal Lovers and Potiche and Marine Vacth (a revelation in Young & Beautiful).

Thierry Frémaux
Thierry Frémaux Photo: Richard Mowe
Robert Pattinson will be seen in the indy neo-grindhouse caper Good Time, directed by brothers Josh and Benny Safdie. Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, whose The Lobster broke out at Cannes in 2015, was inspired by Euripedes for The Killing Of A Sacred Deer about a surgeon whose life is cast asunder by a teenage boy. Family issues also invest Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories with Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson dealing with adult siblings under the influence of their ageing father.

South Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho (Snowpiercer), enlists Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton for Okja, about a young girl who tries to stop a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend – a massive animal named Okja. The film is made by Netflix.

Under special events Frémaux has included a virtual reality project from Alejandro G Iñárritu, entitled Carne y Arena, as well as two television projects, David Lynch’s Twin Peaks revival and season two of Jane Campion’s Top Of The Lake. Al Gore whose film An Inconvenient Truth bowed in Cannes and took him to a Nobel prize, returns to the topic of global warming and Paris agreements with An Inconvenient Sequel by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk while Vanessa Redgrave deals with migration in her documentary Sea Sorrow.

The sidebar Un Certain Regard section with 16 titles to date and two more to come will open with Mathieu Amalric’s film about singing legend Barbara (played by Jeanne Balibar) and will include the return of Laurent Cantet (The Class) who stays with the educational world for L’Atelier about group dynamics in a young people’s writing workshop, and Sundance critical hit Wind River.

Opening Film

Ismael’s Ghosts by Arnaud Desplechin


  • Loveless by Andrey Zvyaginstev
  • Good Time by Benny and Josh Safdie
  • You Were Never Really Here by Lynne Ramsay
  • L’Amant Double by François Ozon
  • Jupiter’s Moon by Kornél Mandruczó
  • A Gentle Creature by Sergei Loznitsa
  • The Killing Of A Sacred Deer by Yorgos Lanthimos
  • Radiance by Naomi Kawase
  • The Day After by Hong Sang-soo
  • Le Redoubtable by Michael Hazanavicius
  • Wonderstruck by Todd Haynes
  • Happy End by Michael Haneke
  • Rodin by Jacques Doillon
  • The Beguiled by Sofia Coppola
  • 120 Heartbeats Per Minute by Robin Campillo
  • Okja by Bong Joon-ho
  • In The Fade by Fatih Akin
  • The Meyerowitz Stories by Noah Baumbach

Out of Competition

  • Blade Of The Immortal by Takaski Miike
  • How To Talk to Girls at Parties by John Cameron Mitchell
  • Faces, Villages by Agnes Varda and JR

Special Screenings

  • An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power by Al Gore
  • 12 Days by Raymond Depardon
  • They by Anahita Ghazvinizadeh
  • Clair’s Camera by Hong Sang-soo
  • Promised Land by Eugene Jarecki
  • Napalm by Claude Lanzmann
  • Demons In Paradise by Jude Ratman
  • Sea Sorrow by Vanessa Redgrave

Virtual Reality

Alejandro González Iñárritu VR exhibit (Carne Y Arena)

Un Certain Regard

  • Barbara by Mathieu Amalric
  • The Desert Bride by Cecelia Atan and Valeria Pivato
  • Closeness by Kantemir Balagov
  • Beauty and the Dogs by Kaouther Ben Hania
  • L’Atelier by Laurent Cantet
  • Lucky by Sergio Castellitto
  • April’s Daughter by Michel Franco
  • Western by Valeska Grisebach
  • Directions by Stephan Komandarev
  • Out by Gyorgy Kristof
  • Before We Vanish bu Kiyoshi Kurosawa
  • Fregs by Mohammad Rasoulof
  • The Nature of Time by Karim Moussaoui
  • Jeune Femme by Léonor Serraille
  • Wind River by Taylor Sheridan
  • After the War by Annarita Zambrano

Midnight Screenings

  • A Prayer Before Dawn by Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire
  • The Merciless by Byun Sung-hyun
  • The Villainess by Jung Byung-gil

70th Anniversary Events

  • Top Of The Lake: China Girl by Jane Campion
  • Come Swim by Kristen Stewart
  • 24 Frames by Abbas Kiarostami
  • Two episodes of Twin Peaks by David Lynch

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