PARIS – New films by Wes Anderson, Alice Rohrwacher, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Todd Haynes and Wim Wenders will compete for the Cannes Film Festival’s coveted top honor, the Palme d’Or, as will a record number of films directed by women.
Cannes artistic director Thierry Frémaux and president Iris Knobloch, who took over the post last year from Pierre Lescure, announced a lineup heavy on big-name international auteurs, along with some new faces, in a press conference Thursday in Paris.
Among the 19 films selected for Cannes’ prestigious competition slate are Anderson’s sci-fi homage “Asteroid City," Wenders’ “Perfect Days”; Kor-eda’s “Monster”; Alice Rohrwacher’s “La Chimera"; and Haynes’ “May December,” a romance with Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore. Ken Loach, long a Cannes regular, will return with “The Old Oak.” Jonathan Glazer will premiere his first feature since 2013's “Under the Skin” with his Martin Amis adaptation “Zone of Interest.”
After a scaled-down 2021 event and a comeback festival in 2022, this year's Cannes finds the festival back on level ground and its organizers triumphant that their mission — celebrating the best in world cinema as an inherently theatrical experience — has persevered.
“The films are back in theaters and the public is back in theaters,” said Knobloch. “The moviemakers, the artists, the professionals are all in agreement. Nothing can replace the cultural event represented by a release in a theater for a movie.”
Joining Rohrwacher, the Italian director of “Happy as Lazzaro,” in competition are five more female directors: France’s Catherine Breillat with “Last Summer”; Austria’s Jessica Hausner with “Club Zero”; France’s Justine Triet’s “Anatomy of a Fall”; Senegalese-French director Ramata-Toulaye Sy with “Banel & Adama”; and Tunisia’s Kaouther Ben Hania with the documentary “Olfa’s Daughters.”
Cannes has often come under criticism for selecting few films by women for its prestigious competition lineup. Only two female filmmakers have ever won the Palme d’Or: Jane Campion in 1993 for “The Piano” and Julia Ducournau in 2021 for “Titane.” While six out of 19 films is a new high, it still falls below the parity that some have sought.
Several of Cannes’ splashiest premieres had already been announced. “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” will debut in Cannes, along with a special tribute to Harrison Ford, as will Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon,” his big-budget adaptation for Apple of David Grann’s non-fiction bestseller. Fremaux said he urged Scorsese to screen “Killers of the Flower Moon” in competition at the festival, but it isn't currently scheduled to compete for the Palme.
On Tuesday, Cannes said that the Pedro Almodóvar short “Strange Way of Life,” with Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke, will also premiere at the festival.
Cannes gets underway May 16 with the opening-night selection “Jeanne du Barry,” starring Johnny Depp as King Louis XV. The film, directed by and co-starring the French actress and filmmaker Maïwenn, has been billed as Depp’s comeback film following his explosive trial last year with Amber Heard, his ex-wife. The festival runs through May 27.
The much-anticipated HBO series “The Idol”, from “Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson and starring the Weeknd and Lily-Rose Depp, will also debut in Cannes. Steve McQueen, the director of “12 Years a Slave” and the film anthology “Small Axe,” will present his “Occupied City," a documentary about Amsterdam under Nazi occupation during World War II.
The jury that will decide the Palme d’Or will this year be led by the Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund, a two-time Palme winner. After winning Cannes top honor for 2017’s “The Square,” Östlund won last year for the social satire “Triangle of Sadness.”
Cannes is coming off a movie year that has reinforced the French festival’s position as arguably the premiere international launching pad for film. Three of this year’s best-picture nominees at the Oscars premiered in Cannes: “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Elvis” and “Triangle of Sadness.”