Still the glitzy grande dame of European film festivals, Cannes is where awards season campaigns are born and rising stars solidify their status as industry power players. Thrillingly, the line-up almost always combines blockbusters and indie gems, with last year’s showcase featuring everything from Top Gun: Maverick and Elvis to Triangle of Sadness and Aftersun, all of which went on to secure Oscar nominations. So, which hotly anticipated releases will premiere on the Croisette this time around? Ahead of the festival’s 76th edition, due to run from 16 to 27 May, these are the 11 films you just can’t miss this Cannes 2023.
Killers of The Flower Moon
Martin Scorsese’s atmospheric adaptation of David Grann’s page turner, which recounts the true story of an oil-rich Native American community in ’20s Oklahoma whose members are murdered under mysterious circumstances, has been a long time coming—two years, to be precise, meaning expectations are sky high. Leonardo DiCaprio takes the lead alongside Lily Gladstone, John Lithgow and recent Oscar winner Brendan Fraser, with Jesse Plemons playing a Texas ranger investigating the case and Robert De Niro as the mastermind behind the crimes. Expect sweeping shots of rolling plains and a heartbreaking insight into a now forgotten but blisteringly urgent piece of American history.
The latest perfectly-framed, delightfully kooky romp from Wes Anderson looks set to be as Andersonian as it gets: the sun-drenched tale of attendees at a junior stargazer and space cadet convention in a ’50s desert town whose lives are upended by the arrival of an alien. Cue an immediate lockdown and the proliferation of existential dread as the eccentric set of students, parents and enthusiasts—embodied by the likes of Jason Schwartzman, Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Maya Hawke and Margot Robbie—wonder what the future will hold.
Julianne Moore and Riverdale’s Charles Melton are at the heart of Todd Haynes’s delicate drama following a woman in the public eye whose romance with an employee more than two decades her junior sparks a tabloid scandal that grips the nation. Many years later, the now married couple are preparing to send their children to college when a movie star (Natalie Portman) enters their lives, hoping to better understand their family before she stars in a film about them. As they each attempt to process their past and face the prospect of becoming empty-nesters, emotions run high and all hell threatens to break loose.
A historical epic centred on Henry VIII’s sixth and final wife, Katherine Parr, as played by the enigmatic Alicia Vikander, Karim Aïnouz’s account of poisonous rivalries and palace intrigue will also see Jude Law embody the grizzled, formidable monarch. He’ll be joined by The Crown’s Erin Doherty as trailblazing writer and condemned heretic Anne Askew, as well as Eddie Marsan and Sam Riley as politically-minded brothers Edward and Thomas Seymour. Parr fell for the latter upon her arrival at court, but having caught the King’s eye, was unable to resist his advances. After taking the throne, though, she comes into her own and begins wielding considerable power—and refuses to give up on love.
The Wonders and Happy as Lazzaro’s Alice Rohrwacher is back at Cannes, rounding out her lyrical, richly rendered trilogy on Italian identity and history with a story told from an outsider’s perspective: a young British archaeologist (Josh O’Connor) who is drawn into the shadowy world of nocturnal tomb raiders who will do whatever it takes to secure prized Etruscan artefacts in the ’80s. As he navigates this expansive criminal network, Isabella Rossellini lends support as a retired opera singer, as does the director’s sister, Alba, as an international trafficker of precious objects.
Since winning the Palme d’Or with his tender, touching Shoplifters, Hirokazu Kore-eda has helmed projects in French (the Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche-starring tearjerker The Truth) and Korean (the gentle and moving Broker, with Parasite’s Song Kang-ho). Now, he is returning to his native Japanese with this Rashomon-esque nail-biter told from three perspectives: that of a mother, a teacher and a young boy who become involved in a violent altercation at school. Sakura Ando and Eita Nagayama deliver knockout turns, and the hair-raising score is the work of the late, great maestro Ryuichi Sakamoto.
Strange Way of Life
A Pedro Almodóvar release is always cause for celebration, even if it’s a short (who could forget the ravishing, restrained Tilda Swinton vehicle The Human Voice). It’s even more so when it’s a 30-minute-long queer western starring Ethan Hawke and The Last of Us’s Pedro Pascal, both dressed exclusively in Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello. The pair play a sheriff and a rancher, old friends who reunite decades after having worked together as hired gunslingers–though it soon emerges that their meeting isn’t a coincidence. While the Spanish auteur is keeping further details close to his chest, he has promised plenty of surprises and a sensitive exploration of contemporary masculinity.
The Old Oak
The king of kitchen sink realism and chronicler of British injustices, Ken Loach is turning his deeply empathetic and unflinching gaze back towards the north east of England—where both the heart-wrenching I, Daniel Blake and Sorry We Missed You were set—for this nuanced study of community, loss, fear and prevailing hope. It centres on a pub, the last left standing in a declining former mining village in county Durham, and the only remaining public space for those who still live nearby. When falling house prices lead to an influx of Syrian refugees in the area, tensions erupt. But then, the pub’s landlord (Dave Turner) forms an unlikely friendship with a young Syrian (Ebla Mari), and they wonder if these two marginalised factions might be able to find common ground.
Jessica Hausner (Little Joe) has enlisted the haunting Mia Wasikowska to lead this eerie psychological thriller which takes place at an elite boarding school where an influential teacher seeks to introduce a new subject which she calls “conscious eating”. Having formed strong bonds with five students, she encourages the teenagers to drastically reduce their consumption, challenge societal norms and withdraw from their parents. Before her fellow educators—played by Borgen breakout Sidse Babett Knudsen and Limbo’s impressive Amir El-Masry, among others—realise what’s happening, it’s already too late.
The New Boy
Cate Blanchett’s big-screen follow-up to her masterful, Oscar-nominated role in Tár will be as a renegade nun who runs a remote monastery in ’40s Australia in indigenous filmmaker Warwick Thornton’s rousing religious saga. Her delicately balanced world is disrupted when, suddenly in the dead of night, a nine-year-old Aboriginal orphan (the captivating newcomer Aswan Reid) arrives in desperate need. What follows is an incisive examination of colonialism, spiritual struggles and the true cost of survival.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
The fifth and final instalment of the rip-roaring, Harrison Ford-led action adventure franchise will feature Antonio Banderas, Mads Mikkelsen as the steely villain, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge as the double-crossing goddaughter of our titular hero. She breaks the beloved archaeologist, now on the cusp of retirement, out of his reverie, embroiling him in a perilous mission to locate a mysterious dial that has the power to change the course of history. Under James Mangold’s direction, this expedition sees him jumping off planes, riding horses in the subway and driving tuk tuks off rooftops. The only thing missing is (presumably) a reunion with Ke Huy Quan’s Short Round.
This story was originally published on British Vogue.