After a virtual event in 2020 and a scaled-down festival last year, the 75th Cannes film festival has announced a lineup packed full of previous Palme d’Or winners and festival favourites for what it hopes will be a return to full capacity – and maximum buzz.
Meanwhile, Croisette favourites such as David Cronenberg, Claire Denis, Park Chan-wook and James Gray will also vie for the prize.
No British directors have so far been announced as having films which will play in either the official competition selection or the sidebars. But at least one film is set in the UK: Silent Twins, which stars Letitia Wright and Tamara Lawrance as June and Jennifer Gibbons, twins from the only Black family in a small town in Wales in the 1970s who are sent to Broadmoor after a crime spree.
Only three of the 21 directors with films in competition are female, meaning the festival is falling far short of the gender parity pledge it signed in 2018.
The festival will open on a gory note, with a French remake of acclaimed Japanese zombie film One Cut of the Dead by the director of The Artist. Hazanavicius’s Final Cut stars Romain Duris, Bérénice Bejo and Bejo and Hazanavicius’s daughter, Simone.
The horror theme continues with Crimes of the Future, Cronenberg’s visceral body-chopping sci-fi about the future of human evolution. Viggo Mortensen plays a notorious avant garde artist who, along with his partner (Léa Seydoux), “publicly showcases the metamorphosis of his organs in avant garde performances”. Kristen Stewart is an investigator from the National Organ Registry who makes an uncomfortable discovery.
Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Broker is set in a world in which infants can be placed in baby boxes and dropped off anonymously to be cared for by others, while in Decision to Leave, Park Chan-wook directs the story of a detective who falls for a mysterious widow.
Cristian Mungiu, whose abortion drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days won the Palme d’Or in 2007 returns to the festival with RMN, a long-awaited multi-strand drama set in contemporary Romania.
Two-time Palme d’Or winners Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne return with Tori and Lokita, about two African refugees whose friendship is tested when they settle in Belgium.
Joe Alwyn and Margaret Qualley play a couple struggling to escape the Nicaraguan Revolution in The Stars at Noon, a romantic thriller from Claire Denis.
Triangle of Sadness, the latest film from Force Majeure director Ruben Östlund is a social satire about a group of celebrity fashionistas shipwrecked on a desert island along with their yacht’s Marxist captain (Woody Harrelson) and crew.
Two US directors have made the cut: James Gray, whose autobiographical drama Armageddon Time about his childhood in Queens stars Anne Hathaway, Anthony Hopkins and Jeremy Strong; and Kelly Reichardt, back with her fourth collaboration with Michelle Williams. Showing Up is billed as a “sharply funny portrait of an artist on the verge of a career-changing exhibition”. Judd Hirsch co-stars.
Out of competition, documentaries include Ethan Coen’s study of Jerry Lee Lewis and The Natural History of Destruction, the third film by Ukrainian film-maker Sergei Loznitsa dealing with the tragedies of 20th-century European history.
Previously announced is a Tom Cruise career retrospective, as well as the premiere of the belated sequel Top Gun: Maverick. The film will premiere just over a week before it opens in the US.
Cruise, who turns 60 shortly after the festival at the end of May, will discuss his 40-year career at an in-conversation audience on the Croisette.
Cannes’ fond relationship with blockbusters hit a peak around seven years ago with the premiere of George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, which won rave reviews before winning six Oscars the following spring.
Miller’s follow-up to that film, Three Thousand Years of Longing, starring Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba, will also screen for the first time at the festival.
Nine years ago, Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby opened Cannes, repeating the trick of Moulin Rouge in 2001.
This year sees the stage set for the first screening of Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic, starring Austin Butler as the singer and Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker.
Notable firsts elsewhere in the lineup include Saim Sadiq’s Joyland, the first film from Pakistan to make the official selection, which plays in Un Certain Regard. In the Midnight Screening section, Squid Game star Lee Jung-jae’s first film, Hunt, will premiere.