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Taking a Closer Look at the Cannes Line-Up

By  · Published on April 15th, 2017

Sophia Coppola, Yorgos Lanthimos, Noah Baumbach, ‘Twin Peaks,’ and more…

The official lineup for the 70th Cannes Film Festival, which will run from May 18–28, was announced April 13. While a few more screenings will undoubtably be added as we creep nearer to the festival, the selections announced feature a lot worth getting excited over — including, for the first time, two television shows (Twin Peaks and Top of the Lake) and a virtual reality film (Carne y Arena). Also, considering that The Killing of a Sacred Deer and The Beguiled are both in the main competition, there is, assuming equal probability, an 11.1% chance that a film starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell will take home the top prize. Considering

This year, the festival jury will be headed by acclaimed Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, with French actress Sandrine Kiberlain presiding over the Camera d’Or jury and Romanian director Cristian Mungiu overseeing the short and student film juries.

Without further ado, here’s a closer look at twelve of the 49 announced titles:

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Starring: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Alicia Silverstone, and Barry Keoghan

About: A successful surgeon (Farrell) bonds with a teenager of questionable repute. Consequences ensue.

‘Sacred Deer’ reteams Lanthimos with ‘The Lobster’ star Colin Farrell
Reasons to be Excited: In the US, Lanthimos’ most recent film, The Lobster, was one of the few highlights of the cinematically underwhelming summer of 2016 (it was released in 2015 throughout Europe and parts of Asia). With seemingly two different television projects in the works and in the midst of filming The Favourite, a historical political drama set in the court of Queen Anne, Lanthimos appears to be in an ideal position to continue his upward trajectory in a major way. Also posed to have something of a breakout year is Sacred Deer star and relative newcomer Barry Keoghan, who also has a role in the upcoming Dunkirk.

When Can We See It?: IMDb says 2017, so hopefully by the end of this year.

Happy End

Director: Michael Haneke

Starring: Isabelle Huppert

What It’s About: A “portrait” of a bourgeois family in Calais with the European refugee crisis as a backdrop. [Note: if you think there will be a “Happy End” to this story, you’ve never seen a Haneke film.]

Reasons to be Excited: Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke is arguably one of the festival’s favorite people. His last two films, The White Ribbon (2009) and Amour (2012), not only both premiered at Cannes but took home the Palme d’Or. And Isabelle Huppert is, of course, always a reason to be excited.

When Can We See It?: TBD.

Top of the Lake: China Girl

Directors: Jane Campion and Ariel Kleiman

Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Nicole Kidman, and Gwendolyn Christie

About: Detective Robin Griffin (Moss) is back, this time investigating the murder of an Asian girl whose body washes up on Sydney’s Bondi Beach.

‘Top of the Lake’ (2013)
Reasons to be Excited: When a series isn’t necessarily intended to have a second season, does well, and then a second season is announced, one can’t help but be a little suspicious. That said, both Campion and Moss are back, the additions to the cast are far from disappointing, and even if the motivation behind making season 2 wasn’t necessarily the purest, that doesn’t mean the outcome can’t still be good. Between this and Twin Peaks, the rest of 2017 seems to be promising for murder mysteries on the TV front, though Top of the Lake has an advantage with those who like their murder mysteries to unfold slightly less like an acid trip.

When Can We See It?: Sundance TV still hasn’t given a release date for season 2, but it will be this year.

Wind River

Director: Taylor Sheridan

Starring: Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen

About: US Fish and Wildlife agent Lambert (Renner) finds the brutally raped and murdered body of an eighteen-year-old girl on a Native American reservation, and proceeds to investigate with the help of FBI agent Banner (Olsen).

Reasons to be Excited: Wind River is considered Taylor Sheridan’s directorial debut (we’re all pretending 2011’s Vile didn’t happen, I guess), and after garnering screenwriting acclaim with Sicario and Hell or High Water, hopes were high when the film premiered at Sundance earlier this year. Reviews were generally decent, but not overly enthusiastic, dampening the buzz. But still, if nothing else, a new film score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis is always something to look forward to.

When Can We See It? August 4, in theaters.

You Were Never Really Here

Director: Lynne Ramsay

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix

What It’s About: “A war veteran’s attempt to save a young girl from a sex trafficking ring goes horribly wrong.” Adapted from the well-received novella of the same name by Jonathan Ames.

Reasons to be Excited: It’s been six years since Ramsay’s last feature film, We Need To Talk About Kevin, and it’s looking like You Were Never Really Here has the potential to be just as good. Ramsay has demonstrated she’s more than capable of adapting novels dealing with graphic and controversial subject matter for the screen, and Joaquin Phoenix can definitely pull off mentally unhinged crusader type.

When Can We See It?: Unknown, but Amazon Studios has the rights, so hopefully sooner (i.e. this year) rather than later.


Director: Todd Haynes

Starring: Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, Oakes Fegley, and Millicent Simmonds

About: A girl in the 1920s sneaks away from home to see her idol while a boy in the 1970s runs away from home following the death of his mother. Adapted from the illustrated novel of the same name by Brian Selznick.

‘Hugo’ (2011)
Reasons to be Excited: Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret adapted extremely well to film in Scorsese’s Hugo, and considering the similarity in style between the novels, one would anticipate there being at least a similar potential. However, unlike Hugo, Selznick will be adapting his own work this time. Historically, this tends to go either very well or very poorly, so we’ll see.

When Can We See It?: Some time later this year.

Visages, Villages

Director: Agnès Varda and JR

Starring: A documentary collaboration with French street artist JR, it sounds like both will feature heavily in the film as well.

Synopsis: According to Varda in an interview: “We went to the countryside and met people in villages. The title in French is: Visage Villages. We met people, listened to them, and I took photos of them, and he enlarged them and made huge images out of them.”

Reasons to be Excited: It sounds like it has the potential to be something along the lines of the brilliance that is Exit Through the Gift Shop, but perhaps with just a little more hope for humanity. Also, Varda is a living legend, and unlike some living legends who are mostly living off their legends at this point, her newer work — the most recent being the autobiographical documentary The Beaches of Agnès (2008) — demonstrates that she has very much still got it.

When Can We See It?: There doesn’t seem to be a US distributor yet, so unknown.

The Beguiled

Director: Sophia Coppola

Starring: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning

What It’s About: The trailer below should give you a pretty good idea. If it looks or sounds weirdly familiar to you, you’ve probably either read the book or watched the 1971 film adaptation starring Clint Eastwood.

Reasons to be Excited: It’s an intriguing story, and Coppola’s brought together a great cast. However, even though Coppola argues that she’s shifting the focus more towards the dynamics among the female characters and away from the soldier, considering how, from the trailer, the dynamics themselves seem remarkably consistent (the Freud is strong with this one), it seems like it leans somewhat towards the more unnecessary side of the remakes scale. After all, the failure of Don Siegel’s 1971 version is generally regarded to not have been a fault of the films so much as abysmal mis-marketing. Still, it definitely looks like it could be an atmospheric, engaging film, if also a slightly repetitive one.

When Can We See It? In theaters June 23.

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

Directors: Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk

Starring: Al Gore and Climate Change

About: All the stuff that’s happened since the first one.

Reasons to be Excited: As a science nerd and person who enjoys living on earth and breathing non-toxic air, I am all for trying to get more science and tech non-fiction into the mainstream.

When Can We See It? In theaters July 28.

Twin Peaks

Director: David Lynch

Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook, and literally a hundred other people ranging from Tim Roth to Amanda Seyfried.

About: The most descriptive statement I could find comes from Showtime president/CEO David Nevins, who said back in January of the revival that, “the core of it is Agent Cooper’s odyssey back to Twin Peaks.”

Reasons to be Excited: If you were not aware that Twin Peaks is kind of a big deal, you’ve either been living under a rock or in a coma since 1989 and only just woke up. In that aforementioned interview Nevins also claimed that this new series is “the ‘pure heroin’ version of David Lynch” — which, depending on your opinion of Lynch, is either great or terrible news. Even for those who aren’t fans of Lynch, seeing how this revival fares, both critically and commercially, will be interesting to watch.

When Can We See It? Episodes 1 and 2 will premiere May 21 on Showtime. Episodes 3 and 4 will then be made available on Showtime’s digital platform, but otherwise the episodes will premiere the old-fashioned way, because David Lynch “believes in weekly TV.”

The Meyerowitz Stories

Director: Noah Baumbach

Starring: Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman

About: Estranged adult siblings deal with the impact their father has had on their lives.

Reasons to be Excited: Baumbach has established his niche as Woody Allen lite — i.e., comparable sense of humor and aesthetic, no stepdaughter-wife or noticeable fascination with pairing barely legal actresses with middle-aged men — and all signs point that he seems pretty comfortable there and intends to stay. There is probably only one way in which Lynch and Baumbach’s new projects are comparable and that is that if you like their old work, odds are in favor these will also be up your alley. If you don’t, it looks unlikely that you’ll be won over.

When Can We See It?: Netflix has acquired global rights, so later this year.


Director: Bong Joon Ho

Starring: Ahn Seo-hyun, Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, and Lily Collins

About: A young girl (Ahn) fights to keep a powerful company from taking away her best friend, a giant creature named Okja.

Reasons to be Excited: To be perfectly honest, the trailer did not wow me. In fact, I was singularly unimpressed — “I took nature and science, and I synthesized,” seriously? — but Bong Joon Ho gave us Snowpiercer, and for that I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Plus, he’s lined up a pretty stellar cast.

When Can We See It? June 28 on Netflix.

Full Cannes Lineup:

Opening Night Film

Ismael’s Ghost, Arnaud Desplechin


The Day After, Hong Sangsoo

Loveless, Andrey Zvyagintsev

Good Time, Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie

You Were Never Really Here, Lynne Ramsay

Jupiter’s Moon, Kornél Mandruczo

L’amant Double, François Ozon

The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Yorgos Lanthimos

A Gentle Creature, Sergei Loznitsa

Radiance, directed by Naomi Kawase

Wonderstruck, Todd Haynes

Happy End, Michael Haneke

In the Fade, Fatih Akin

Rodin, Jacques Doillon

The Beguiled, Sofia Coppola

Le Redoutable, Michel Hazanavicius

Okja, Bong Joon-ho

120 Battements Par Minute, Robin Campillo

The Meyerowitz Stories, Noah Baumbach

Un Certain Regard

April’s Daughter, Michel Franco

Lucky, Sergio Castellitto

Jeune Femme, Léonor Serraille

Western, Valeska Grisebach

Wind River, Taylor Sheridan

Directions, Stephan Komandarev

After the War, Annarita Zambrano

Dregs, Mohammad Rasoulof

Out, György Kristóf

The Nature of Time, Karim Moussaoui

Before We Vanish, Kurosawa Kiyoshi

L’atelier, Laurent Cantet

Beauty and the Dogs, Kaouther Ben Hania

Barbara, Mathieu Amalric

Closeness, Kantemir Balagov

The Desert Bride, Cecilia Atan and Valeria Pivato

Out of Competition

Blade of the Immortal, Takashi Miike

How to Talk to Girls at Parties, John Cameron Mitchell

Visages, Villages, Agnès Varda

Special Screenings

12 Jours, Raymond Depardon

They, Anahita Ghazvinizadeh

An Inconvenient Sequel, Ronni Cohen and Jon Shenk

Top of the Lake: China Girl, directed by Jane Campion & Ariel Kleiman

Promised Land, Eugene Jarecki

24 Frames, Abbas Kiarostami

Napalm, Claude Lanzmann

Come Swim, Kristen Stewart

Demons in Paradise, Jude Ratman

Sea Sorrow, Vanessa Redgrave

Clair’s Camera, Hong Sangsoo

Twin Peaks, David Lynch

Midnight Screenings

The Villainess, Jung Byung Gil

The Merciless, Byun Sung-Hyun

Prayer Before Dawn, Jean Stephane Sauvaire

Virtual Reality Film

Carne y Arena (Flesh and Sand), Alejandro G Inarritu

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Ciara Wardlow is a human being who writes about movies and other things. Sometimes she tries to be funny on Twitter.