After a completely virtual 2020 and scaled-down proceedings amid an uncertain 2021, the illustrious Cannes Film Festival is back in a big and splashy way. This year marks its 75th run on the French Riviera, with events taking place between 17th and 28th May.
There has already been criticism surrounding the official festival's failure to honour the 50:50 gender parity pledge it made back in 2018 (a meagre three out of 18 films have been directed by women this year). But Cannes Directors' Fortnight – the more offbeat sidebar which runs at the same time – has been applauded, with 11 out of the 23 films on its lineup directed by women.
Here are all the must-see picks not to miss this year...
Crimes Of The Future
Director David Cronenberg, the master of 'gross' body horror, is back – which should be all you need to know about this shudder-inducing release. Starring Kristen Stewart, Léa Seydoux and Viggo Mortensen, it explores a distant future where humans have evolved past their biological form. Expect much gore and, erm, ears sewn onto the wrong places.
Jessie Buckley plays a young widow who goes on holiday to the English countryside in the wake of a personal tragedy. But not all is as it seems. Come to think of it, something looks a little off about all the men she meets while she's there, who appear to stalk her and instigate guilt in her about her past. This unsettling horror, screening as part of the Directors' Fortnight, is directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Devs) and also stars Rory Kinnear and I May Destroy You's Paapa Essiedu.
Two words: Baz Luhrmann. The visionary mastermind behind big-budget epics The Great Gatsby and Moulin Rouge! has turned his lens on a sweeping biopic of the king of rock and roll. Austin Butler reportedly beat the likes of Harry Styles, Miles Teller and Ansel Elgort to the hip-gyrating titular role in this musical drama which follows Elvis' rise to fame alongside his complicated relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks).
Black Panther's Letitia Wright and actor Tamara Lawrance star in the haunting story of June and Jennifer Gibbons, real-life twin sisters from the only Black family in a small town in Wales in the '80s. Ostracised by the community, the pair retreated into their own fantasy world, refusing to communicate with anyone but each other. Eventually a chilling incident lands them in Broadmoor, the notorious psychiatric hospital.
Triangle Of Sadness
Filmed on a deserted island in Greece and the iconic yacht Christina O, whose famous passengers have included Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe, this drama is a curious observation of the behaviour of the super rich. Woody Harrelson plays a fanatic captain helming a cruise which sinks, leaving the survivors – including an influential model couple (Harris Dickinson and Charlbi Dean) – marooned on an island without their beloved screens.
The Stars At Noon
Set in 1984 amid the political intrigue and violence of the Nicaraguan Revolution, Joe Alwyn stars as an aloof English businessman who strikes up a passionate romance with a headstrong American journalist (Margaret Qualley). The pair soon become embroiled in a web of conspiracy and lies, finding both their lives in danger.
Director Kelly Reichardt is known for cinephile favourites including First Cow and Certain Women. Now the minimalist auteur is back with a funny and moving drama starring Michelle Williams and Andre 3000, screening at Directors' Fortnight. Observing the tricky intersection of art and the demands of family, it follows a sculptor handling the stresses of opening a new show.
Three Thousand Years Of Longing
Idris Elba as a wish-granting genie? Inject it now. Helmed by Mad Max director George Miller, this is a fantasy romance following a lonely scholar (Tilda Swinton) travelling through Istanbul. One night she is offered three wishes in exchange for a mystical djinn's freedom. But if what she wants is love and companionship, can he – should he – make her dreams come true?
Sick Of Myself
If you loved the utter chaos and humanity of The Worst Person In The World, this is surely one for you. Another Norwegian hit, this comedy-drama follows a creative couple whose unhealthy competitiveness takes a turn when one of them finally has a breakthrough as a contemporary artist. There are no words of congratulation here as their partner responds by crafting a ridiculous public persona to regain their status and notoriety.
Some mothers would go to astonishing lengths to protect their children. This is very much the case in this simmering psychological thriller set in a rain-drenched Irish fishing village. Emily Watson plays a mother reckoning with the devastating consequences on her community and family when she protects the actions of her son (Paul Mescal).