Cannes Film Festival 2023 Lineup: Wim Wenders, Steve McQueen, The Weeknd and a Record Number of Female Directors

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The Cannes Film Festival unveiled the lineup for its 76th edition on Thursday, spotlighting a collection of new works from such mega-watt auteurs as Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson, Catherine Breillat, Wim Wenders, Kore-eda Hirokazu and Todd Haynes. These filmmakers will premiere films both in and out of competition, meaning only a select few will have a chance at capturing the Palme d’Or, the festival’s highest honor. All of the directors are a familiar presence on the Croisette, having screened movies there before.

A sense of déjà vu is a familiar occurrence when it comes to Cannes, which has been faulted for being overly clubby and not as eager to highlight the changing face of cinema as other major festivals. This year, however, it did make strides in terms of representation. After being criticized for failing to highlight more women in its lineup, Cannes will break its own record with six films from female directors. They include Alice Rohrwacher’s “La Chimera,” Jessica Hausner’s “Club Zero,” Breillat’s “Last Summer,” Justine Triet’s “Anatomie d’une chute,” Ramata-Toulaye Sy’s “Banel et Adama,” and Kaouther Ben Hania’s documentary’s “Olfa’s Daughters.” Out of these, only Sy and Ben Hania are competition newcomers.

The competition will have an Italian flavor with the latest films from Nanni Moretti (“The Sun of the Future”), Marco Bellocchio (“Rapito”) and Rohrwacher, who was in competition before with “The Wonders” and “Happy as Lazzaro,” which won the Jury Prize and the screenplay award, respectively.

Besides “Olfa’s Daughters,” the competition includes another politically-minded documentary, “Jeunesse” by Chinese director Wang Bing, who was previously at Cannes with “Dead Souls.” The helmer also has “Man in Black” in Special Screenings. Wenders, a Palme d’Or-winner for “Paris, Texas,” is back in the hunt with “Perfect Days,” one of two films he will screen at Cannes.

Fremaux noted the rare presence of two documentary features in competition. Documentaries have also won top prizes at recent festivals, such as the latest editions of the Berlinale (Nicolas Philibert’s “On the Adamant”) and Venice (Laura Poitras’ “All The Beauty and the Bloodshed”). Cannes has its own history with documentaries. For instance, Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 911” went on to win the Palme d’Or from Quentin Tarantino’s jury in 2004.

Outside of the core competition, Cannes’ Un Certain Regard will showcase a wide range of emerging and up-and-coming directors from around the world, including a large delegation of films from the African continent, and a first film from Mongolia with Zoljargal Purevdash’s “If Only I Could Hibernate.” Un Certain Regard will kick off with the French film “Le Règne Animal” by Thomas Cailley, whose feature debut “Les Combattants” won a few Cesar Awards.

Over the course of its eight decades, Cannes has become the most famous celebration of moviemaking in the world. Its star-studded red carpets, glitzy parties, haute couture, Mediterranean vistas — all mixed in with a generous dash of sunshine — are virtually synonymous with the glamorous side of the film business. But that industry is changing, with studios increasingly focused on promoting their streaming services, while facing cutbacks and layoffs along with the prospect of a possible recession. Although the lineup had a number of films from major studios, just as 2022’s edition featured the premieres of “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Elvis,” it’s unclear how celebratory people will be feeling and how freely they will be spending on parties and movies that are available to buy.

For its part, Cannes has been operating as if nothing, not even an economic downturn, can stop the rosé from flowing. In recent weeks, the festival has been teasing cinephiles with splashy announcements about Scorsese returning to the Croisette with “Killers of the Flower Moon,” 38 years after winning best director with “After Hour,” as well as Disney’s “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” and Pedro Almodóvar’s short film, “Strange Way of Life.”

Steve McQueen will be back at the festival with “Occupied City,” a film about Amsterdam during its occupation by the Nazis. McQueen previously won the Golden Camera at Cannes with “Hunger.”  Other revered directors slated for Special Screenings include Wenders, again, with “Le Bruit du Temps” and Kleber Mendonca Filho with “Pictures of Ghosts.”

Thierry Frémaux , the festival’s director, hosted the opening press conference in the shadow of the Champs-Élysées alongside Cannes’ new president Iris Knobloch, a former WarnerMedia executive.

“We saw more than 2,000 films. These numbers are extravagant and, at the same time, reflect the health of world cinema and the aspiration to make films everywhere,” said Fremaux at the jam-packed conference. He also applauded the wider international scope of the competition which appears to have fewer French movies. Among the French competition entries are “The Passion of Dodin Bouffant,” a period romance directed by Tran Anh Hung, and starring Juliette Binoche and Benoit Magimel.

Fremaux said the Official Selection is not locked, with more films expected to be unveiled in the coming days. Some movies rumored to potentially pop-up at the festival include Ladj Ly’s follow up to “Les Miserables,” as well as Yorgos Lanthimos’s “Poor Things.”

Fremaux noted that there was a strong contingent of Hollywood talent expected to touch down in the South of France. These emissaries include Anderson with “Asteroid City,” starring an ensemble cast that includes Tom Hanks, Margot Robbie, Scarlett Johansson and Tilda Swinton; Haynes with “May December” with Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore; and HBO’s “The Idol,” the Weeknd-led series from “Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson. Other notable projects include Karim Aïnouz’s Henry VIII drama “Firebrand” with Alicia Vikander and Jude Law, as well as Jonathan Glazer’s “The Zone of Interest,” an adaptation of Martin Amis’ Auschwitz-set novel. Ken Loach, arguably the most successful director in the history of Cannes, having premiered more than a dozen films there and winning the Palme d’Or twice, is back in the Palais with “The Old Oak.” He will have a chance to win the top prize a third time.

But he won’t face off against Scorsese. “Killers of the Flower Moon,” a nearly-$200 million historical drama that examines the serial murders of members of the oil-wealthy Osage Nation, will play out of competition. Frémaux said he tried and failed to convince Scorsese to vie for the Palme d’Or but hasn’t given up on hopes. The premiere will be among the most A-list heavy, as the film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Jesse Plemons, and Brendan Fraser, along with newcomer Lily Gladstone.

As previously announced, the festival will open with Maiwenn’s period drama “Jeanne du Barry” starring Johnny Depp. Ruben Östlund, the Swedish director who won the Palme d’Or twice for “The Square” and “Triangle of Sadness,” will preside over the festival. The 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival will run May 16-27.

“Asteroid City”
Courtesy of Pop. 87 Productions/

COMPETITION

“Club Zero,” Jessica Hausner

“Asteroid City,” Wes Anderson

“The Zone of Interest,” Jonathan Glazer

“Fallen Leaves,” Aki Kaurismaki

“Les Filles D’Olfa” (“Four Daughters”), Kaouther Ben Hania

“Anatomie D’une Chute,” Justine Triet

“Monster,” Kore-eda Hirokazu

“Il Sol Dell’Avvenire,” Nanni Moretti

“La Chimera,” Alice Rohrwacher

“About Dry Grasses,” Nuri Bilge Ceylan

“L’Ete Dernier,” Catherine Breillat

“The Passion of Dodin Bouffant,” Tran Anh Hung

“Rapito,” Marco Bellocchio

“May December,” Todd Haynes

Firebrand,” Karim Ainouz

“The Old Oak,” Ken Loach

“Perfect Days,” Wim Wenders

“Banel Et Adama,” Ramata-Toulaye Sy

“Jeunesse,”Wang Bing

UN CERTAIN REGARD

“Los Delincuentes” (“The Deliquents”), Rodrigo Moreno

“How to Have Sex,” Molly Manning Walker

“Goodbye Julia,” Mohamed Kordofani

Crowra (The Burti Flower),” João Salaviza & Renée Nader Messora

“Simple Comme Sylvain,” Monia Chokri

“Kadib Abyad” (“The Mother of All Lies”), Asmae EL Moudir

“Los Colonos” (“The Settlers”), Felipe Galvez

“Augure” (“Omen”), Baloji Tshiani

“The Breaking Ice,” Anthony Chen

“Rosalie,” Stéphanie Di Giusto

“The New Boy,” Warwick Thornton

“If Only I Could Hibernate,” Zoljargal Purevdash

“Hopeless,” Kim Chang-hoon

“Terrestrial Verses,” Ali Asfari & Alireza Khatami

“Rien a Perdre,” Delphine Deloget

“Les Meutes,” Kamal Lazraq

“Le Regne Animal,” Thomas Cailley

“The Idol”
HBO

OUT OF COMPETITION

“Killers of the Flower Moon,” Martin Scorsese

“The Idol,” Sam Levinson

“Cobweb,” Kim Jee-woon

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” James Mangold

“Jeanne du Barry,” Maiwenn

MIDNIGHT SCREENINGS

“Omar la Fraise,” Elias Belkeddar

“Kennedy,” Anurag Kashyap

“Acide,” Just Philippot

SPECIAL SCREENINGS

“Retratos Fantasmas,” (“Pictures of Ghosts”), Kleber Mendonca Filho

Anselm,” Wim Wenders

“Occupied City,” Steve McQueen

“Man in Black,” Wang Bing

CANNES PREMIERE

“Le Temps D’Aimer,” Katell Quillevere

Cerrar Los Ojos,” Victor Erice

“Bonnard, Pierre et Marthe,” Martin Provost

“Kubi,” Takeshi Kitano

Cannes Film Festival 2023 Lineup: Wim Wenders, Steve McQueen, The Weeknd and a Record Number of Female Directors

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