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A Preview of the 2024 Cannes Film Festival

This Tuesday, May 14th, the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival kicks off, with a bevy of new and exciting titles from classic and contemporary filmmakers around the globe. Some of the most eagerly anticipated works of 2024 make their debut here, whether in or out of competition for the Palme d'Or. 

RogerEbert.com will be there at the French Riviera with bells on, with Associate Editor Robert Daniels and contributors Isaac Feldberg, Ben Kenisberg, and Jason Gorber covering the buzziest premieres we can get our hands on.

To gear up for this year's fest, please enjoy this video preview of the title's we're most excited to see and cover, hosted by Chaz Ebert. Note: Please find the text of the video below it.

It’s that time again. The French Riviera is gearing up for the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival. And one of the most anticipated films that will premiere there this year is the latest from the director of Poor Things, Yorgos Lanthimos, entitled Kinds of Kindness.

This year’s Cannes slate seems to be packed once again, and hopefully we’ll get to see them all. Rumors have it that French Film Festival workers are planning demonstrations and possibly strikes during the festival to protest low wages.  We’ll keep our fingers crossed that it all gets resolved before opening night. This years’ competition slate is very strong with exciting new releases including:

Bird, from director Andrea Arnold and starring Barry Keoughan.

Anora, the story of a young sex worker, from director Sean Baker.

Oh, Canada directed by Paul Schrader and starring Uma Thurman, Richard Gere and Jacob Elordi.

Italian director Paolo Sorrentino, a longtime Cannes regular, returns with Parthenope starring Gary Oldman.

Chinese director Zhangke Jia, brings his latest film to the competition with Caught by the Tides.

It’s not Cannes without Catherine Denouve, and she returns in a new competition film: Marcello Mio from director Christophe Honoré.

David Cronenberg is also back on the Croisette with his latest, The Shrouds, starring Vincent Cassel, Diane Kruger, and Guy Pearce about a man who invents a device to connect with the dead.

While Cronenberg is considered to be the master of “body horror”, this year director presents her take on the genre with The Substance, starring Margaret Qualley, Demi Moore, and Dennis Quaid.

That’s a lot to look forward to! But I’m guessing the most talked about film this year will be “The Apprentice” from director Ali Abassi and starring Sebastian Stan as a young Donald Trump alongside his mentor Roy Cohn, played by Jeremy Strong.

And if all that wasn’t enough, American Master Francis Ford Coppola returns to Cannes with his first film in competition since the legendary debut of Apocalypse Now in 1979.  Megalopolis, his self-funded passion project with an all-star cast, is sure to be one of the hottest tickets in town. Our film critic, Matt Zoller Seitz was disturbed that Megalopolis had not found a distributor as yet. But, it seemed to work! A deal for distribution seems to be in the works.

All of those films will be competing for the Palme d’Or presented by Jury President Greta Gerwig and the rest of the jury including American actress Lily Gladstone, French actress Eva Green, French actor Omar Sy, Lebanese director Nadine Labaki, Italian actor Pierfrancesco Favino, Turkish screenwriter Ebru (AY-BRU ZHAY-lan) Ceylan, the Spanish director of the Oscar-nominated Society of the Snow: J.A. Bayona, and Palme d’Or-winning Japanese director Kore-eda Hirokazu.

Of course, there are always exciting films presented out of competition as well. Nine years ago, George Miller stunned the festival on opening night with his masterful Mad Max: Fury Road. This year, he’s returning with a prequel, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth.

Each year the festival presents an honorary Palme d’Or to individuals who have helped shaped the world of cinema over the course of their career. This year, for the first time, the award will be presented to an organization rather than an individual. Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation studio headed by Hayao Miyazaki, will receive an honorary Palme. And at the closing ceremony, an honorary Palme will be presented to legendary filmmaker and visionary, George Lucas.

The Cannes Classics section, now in its 20th year, continues to grow as it highlights restorations of important classics and documentaries about the world of cinema itself. This year features restorations of Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas, Rita Hayworth in Gilda, and The Seven Samurai from Akria Kurosawa. In addition, there are profiles of Faye Dunaway, Francois Truffaut, Elizabeth Taylor and a documentary about Jim Henson directed by Ron Howard.

Cannes Classics is also presenting the first 3 and a half hours of a newly restored Napoleon directed by Abel Gance in 1927. This legendary silent film has not been seen in it’s original version since it’s initial release almost 100 years ago. Unfortunately, it’s showing the day the festival officially opens, and I’m not sure if my jet lag will allow me to attend the screening. c’est la vie.

Since 2017, Cannes has slowly begun exhibiting more and more VR content. This year, there will be a full competition among VR projects and I’m very much looking forward to it.

While our coverage of this year’s festival won’t give you a full virtual reality experience, we do hope to share with you a taste of everything going on in Cannes. So throughout the festival, be sure to check in at RogerEbert.com/Cannes for daily reports by our writers along with our regular video reports. And if you’re in Cannes, don’t forget to stop by the Roger Ebert Conference Center at the American Pavilion, where I’ll be launching my new book It’s Time to Give a Feck.
We’ll see you there.

Chaz Ebert

Chaz is the CEO of several Ebert enterprises, including the President of The Ebert Company Ltd, and of Ebert Digital LLC, Publisher of RogerEbert.com, President of Ebert Productions and Chairman of the Board of The Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation, and Co-Founder and Producer of Ebertfest, the film festival now in its 24th year.

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