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The Buzz from Cannes

by Sarah Soliman

One of the most anticipated cinephile events of the year returned in full force this summer, after having to cancel in 2020. Cannes is back and having had to wait an additional year for this slate of films, we’re even more eager than usual to hear the buzz about (and of course eventually see) the newest films from some of the most exciting filmmakers working today.

This week on The Marquee, enjoy a roundup of reviews of some of the buzziest films coming out of the festival, plus some fun Cannes-related extras!

A Hero • Asghar Farhadi
Farhadi has been nominated for three Academy Awards, and his films A Separation and A Salesman both won Best Foreign Language Film. He’s also a Cannes regular, where A Salesman won Best Screenplay in 2016. A Hero is being described as a layered melodrama about the moral dilemma that unfolds after one man’s attempt at a good deed.

Annette • Leos Carax
You might have seen Carax’s last feature length film, 2012’s enigmatic and utterly captivating Holy Motors, and, if you haven’t, consider putting it on top of your to-watch list right away. Nearly a decade later, Carax returns with this dark musical starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard.

Benedetta • Paul Verhoeven
Paul Verhoeven is known for his provocative, often graphic, and divisive films, and Benedetta—about an erotic relationship between two nuns—almost certainly continues in that tradition.

Bergman Island • Mia Hansen-Løve
Hansen-Løve is a somewhat under-the-radar director, known for her delicate slice of life films. In Bergman Island, a filmmaking couple played by Tim Roth and Vicky Krieps (of Phantom Thread fame) go to a writer’s retreat on the island of Faro, where iconic director Ingmar Bergman lived and worked. A Bergman-haunted movie about moviemaking—sounds right up our cinephile alley!

Drive My Car • Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
Coming off a Golden Bear win at Berlinale for his film Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car is one of Cannes’ most highly praised films. Like another Cannes favorite, Lee Chang-dong’s Burning (a prizewinner at the festival in 2018), Drive My Car is a Haruki Murakami adaptation. As with Burning, and much of Murakami’s work, critics are calling Drive My Car a quiet and poetic mystery.

The French Dispatch • Wes Anderson
Wes Anderson just might have the most recognizable signature style of any filmmaker currently working, and that style is on display once again in The French Dispatch. This anthology film centered around stories being told in “The French Dispatch,” a section of a fictional American newspaper, stars Anderson favorites such as Anjelica Huston, Bill Murray, and Tilda Swinton, as well as newcomers to the Anderson world, including Timothée Chalamet and Elisabeth Moss.

While you’re waiting for The French Dispatch, which is scheduled to be released in October, you can watch some of the films Anderson drew from for inspiration—collected on this handy Letterboxd list for easy reference.

Red Rocket • Sean Baker
Sean Baker’s previous films, Tangerine (2015) and The Florida Project (2017), examined the worlds of marginalized groups of people (trans sex workers and the hidden homeless, respectively) with depth and empathy. Word is his newest film was one of the few that got jury president Spike Lee to his feet for a standing ovation.

The Souvenir: Part II • Joanna Hogg
The Souvenir (2019) was hailed as a new classic of British cinema, garnering 8 British Independent Film Awards and winning The Attenborough Award for the Best British or Irish Film of the Year from the London Film Critics’ Circle. The sequel finds Honor Swinton Byrne’s character Julie 5 years after the events of the first film, processing the grief and trauma of a devastating relationship.

Titane • Julia Ducournau
Ducournau’s first feature, Raw (2016), is a coming-of-age feminist horror film and a prize-winner at Cannes’ International Critics’ Week. Her follow-up is being called a bold, dream-like ride that firmly establishes Ducournau as a master of body-horror.

For some visual enjoyment (and what kind of movie fans would we be if we didn’t enjoy looking at something beautiful?), Mubi has collected poster images from some of this year’s Cannes films. You can also read more of their festival coverage in Leonardo Goi’s Cannes Dispatch.