You Were Never Really Here
Six years after We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lynne Ramsay returns to the big screen with another adaptation of equally tough material. You Were Never Really Here is based on Jonathan Ames' novella about a former FBI agent who rescues children from prostitution, bludgeoning their traffickers to death with a hammer. Joaquin Phoenix stars and 14-year-old newcomer Ekaterina Samsonov is the child he tries to save. Needless to say, things don't go quite to plan.
Todd Haynes has a magical touch when it comes to Cannes. His film Carol had everyone swooning in the aisles in 2015, but his latest film looks like a major departure from the American director. Wonderstruck, an adaptation of the best selling YA novel by Brian Selznick, tells the story of two deaf children's interconnected lives across 50 years. Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams star, but it's the supernatural elements that could prove to be the big talking point here.
South Korean director Bong Joon-ho teamed up with British author Jon Ronson and Netflix for this creature-feature about a hitherto unknown animal that a young girl must protect from corporate bad guys. From the director of the excellent cult thriller Snowpiercer, this is likely to be anything but straightforward kids fare, with Tilda Swinton on board as the Okja's scientist inventor. This will be one of the first films from Cannes the rest of us can catch when it debuts on Netflix June 28.
Brothers Josh and Benny Safdie direct Robert Pattinson — as much of a fixture at Cannes as his former Twilight co star Kristen Stewart — in this short sharp take on the bank heist plot line. Pattinson plays the bank robber trying to evade the police. After well received supporting roles in Map to the Stars and The Lost City of Z, this may well prove to be Pattinson's most impactful role to date.
120 Beats Per Minutes
Robin Campillo has helped pen a Cannes D'Or winner before, writing 2008's The Class, a semi-autobiographical account of schooling problematic kids. In 120 Beats Per Minute, he writes and directs this story about the AIDS direct action advocacy group Act Up in 90s Paris, starring Adèle Haenel.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
The Lobster director Yorgos Lanthimos has demonstrated a real knack for producing commercial, big name films that deliver arthouse punch. The Killing of a Sacred Deer goes into similarly singular territory with Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, and Alicia Silverstone in a story about a teenager's attempt to bring a brilliant surgeon into his dysfunctional family. The younger cast members include Raffey Cassidy (Tomorrowland) and Barry Keoghan (Norfolk and Dunkirk).
The Florida Project
Sean Baker broke out in spectacular lo-fi fashion with his iPhone 5S shot 2015 film Tangerine, a Christmas Eve in L.A. story about two transgender sex workers causing chaos on Sunset Boulevard. The Florida Project plays with form too, a story about six-year-old kids on summer break while their parents deal with real life difficulties, shot on 35mm. The title refers to Disney World Florida, but expect an earthier experience from Baker.
Coppola's remake of the 1971 Clint Eastwood film about a civil war soldier taking refuge at a Virginia boarding school for girls switches up the story to tell it from the female perspective. Sexual rivalry, tension, and twists abound in this Southern gothic tale with Nicole Kidman, Kristen Dunst, and Elle Fanning. Colin Farrell plays the soldier who falls at their feet.
How to Talk to Girls at Parties
Nicole Kidman stars in four films at this year's Cannes and this, from Hedwig and Shortbus director John Cameron Mitchell, is surely the oddest. That might be expected of a short story by Neil Gaiman set in 70s Croydon where regular south London boy (Alex Sharp) falls for a sweet looking girl (Elle Fanning) who turns out to be an alien in peril. And where does Kidman fit into all this? Playing a punk icon who must help the kids save E.T. and the universe.
Television premieres are now staples of the film festival circuit and this year's Cannes includes the first look at Jane Campion's second season of Top of the Lake. But it's David Lynch's return to Twin Peaks that will surely be as buzzed about as any film at the festival. As is Lynch's way, the story itself is more of a mystery than who killed Laura Palmer.
Text Colin Crummy