Last month we learned that the upcoming 2022 edition of Directors’ Fortnight (aka Quinzaine) taking place between May 18th to the 27th will be topper Paolo Moretti’s last mandate and shockingly, the Société des Réalisateurs de Films are currently rethinking the name of the section and their own mandate. Highlights from last year’s edition include A Night of Knowing Nothing, Hit the Road, A Chiara, the Camera d’Or winner Murina and The Souvenir Part II. We’re once again expecting a generous supply of European and French films, solid international title discoveries and a repeat focus on films from the United Kingdom. Here are twenty films that could be in the mix for the 54th edition:
The Almond and the Seahorse – 🇬🇧
Celyn Jones & Tom Stern
Veteran cinematographer Tom Stern (longtime DP for Clint Eastwood’s films) moved behind the camera for his first feature which is co-directed alongside Celyn Jones who co-wrote the project with Kaite O’Reilly and is part of the cast. Adapted from the stage play by O’Reilly, filming on The Almond and the Seahorse began in late April of 2021 on a story about how an archaeologist and an architect fight to re-imagine a future after traumatic brain injury leaves them adrift from the people they love. Rebel Wilson toplines the project which also includes Charlotte Gainsbourg, Trine Dyrholm, Celyn Jones, Meera Syal, Alice Lowe and Ruth Madeley. This cerebral essay looks to fully embrace notions of loss and gain.
Sales: Bankside Films
Burning Days – 🇹🇷
A filmmaker who has had a strong presence on the film festival circuit, Emin Alper fourth feature in his first decade of filmmaking follows 2012’s Beyond the Hill (Berlin), 2015’s Frenzy (TIFF, Venice) and 2019’s A Tale of Three Sisters (Berlin). Invited for The Cinefondation’s Atelier in 2020, production on Balkaya began last summer and tells the story of Emre, a young attorney-general, who is newly appointed to the small town of Balkaya. He finds himself slowly being dragged into politics and inevitably comes closer to Murat, the owner of the local newspaper. Presented as a political psychological thriller, this will explore themes of sexual frustration and political isolation.
Bora Bora – 🇪🇸
Currently at the three films preemed on the Croisette mark with Birdsong (2008 – Directors’ Fortnight selection), The Death of Louis XIV (2016 – Special Screenings) and Liberté (2019 – Un Certain Regard), Catalan independent filmmaker Albert Serra would move onto a rather secretive project starring the likes of Benoît Magimel, Sergi López and Cécile Guilbert sometime during 2021. Bora Bora does indeed take place on French Polynesia island and tells the story of a writer who goes back to her homeland to only find herself disoriented and confused about her romantic yearnings. Here we’ll likely look at the deflated feeling of not knowing how to follow up critical acclaim, and the film might take a jab at international politics.
Sales: Films Boutique
Bowling Saturne – 🇫🇷
In only her fifth feature film, Patricia Mazuy could possibly return to Cannes two plus decades since her last film was feature. Her debut feature Peaux de vaches was selected in the Un Certain Regard section in 1989 and she would reappear in the same section in 2000 with Saint-Cyr. Her latest titled Bowling Saturne (formerly known as Les jeunes filles à la peau blanche dans la nuit) went into production in February with Arieh Worthalter, Achille Reggiani and Y Lan Lucas. Penned by Patricia Mazuy and Yves Thomas, this focuses on Guillaume, a police chief who inherits the family bowling alley upon his father’s death but has to focus on his town being stalked by a murderer. This thriller feels like its got some tingly Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri nocturnal, multi-genre vibes to it with small town opaqueness as well.
Sales: Totem Films
The Eternal Daughter – 🇬🇧
It’s not inconceivable for Joanna Hogg to receive a homecoming of sorts in the section that double programmed her last two features in The Souvenir and The Souvenir: Part II in 2021. Hogg made the most of pandemic restrictions and shot the small scale The Eternal Daughter with A24 reteaming with the filmmaker. Featuring Tilda Swinton, this is a ghost story about a middle-aged daughter and her elderly mother who must confront long-buried secrets when they return to their former family home, a once-grand manor that has become a nearly vacant hotel brimming with mystery. We can’t wait to check into this room.
Enys Men – 🇬🇧
With two decades of filmmaking under his belt, all signs are telling us that Mark Jenkin is on the precipice of a breakout. Filmed in Cornwall in the U.K., his sixth feature film entitled Enys Men is set in 1970s, and was filmed in 2020. A horror film that focuses on the issues surrounding the gentrification of a small Cornish fishing village, this features * Mary Woodvine and Edward Rowe in the hot seat. * Pictured above.
Sales: Protagonist Pictures
La Grande Magie – 🇫🇷
We could make the argument that Noémie Lvovsky is reality still an unknown outside of French-speaking auds sphere – which is a shame because she is a one person wrecking ball. Having contributed to cinema as an actress (generous in both the comedy and dramatic form), she is also already at her seventh feature mark as a director. Her films have played at prestige fests, won prestige awards (Prix Delluc) and she has co-written screenplays for the likes of Arnaud Desplechin, Philippe Garrel, Valéria Bruni Tedeschi. She was selected for the Directors’ Fortnight section with the closing film Camille Rewinds (2012) and should return to the section. Adapted from Eduardo di Filippo’s play and written by Maud Ameline and Florence Seyvos, La Grande Magie stars Lvovsky, Denis Podalydès, Judith Chemla, Paolo Mattei, Sergi López, François Morel, Damien Bonnard and Rebecca Marder in a musical set in the 1920s. This is about a relationship that is running on fumes and gets put to one ultimate, possibly final test when a magician makes the husband’s wife disappear. Production took place back in June of 2021, and we expect this to be light on its feet and for there to be light at the end of the tunnel for the narrative’s couple in peril.
Sales: Indie Sales
Les Harkis – 🇫🇷
Continuing on his pace of a feature film every three or four years, Philippe Faucon‘s eleventh feature film will have climbed about a half century back in history and shot on location for Les Harkis. Featuring Théo Cholbi, Omar Boulakirba, Amine Zorgane, Pierre Lottin and Yannick Choirat, this takes place during the Algerian war and specifically looks at the end of the conflict via one infantry. Faucon isn’t a mainstay on the Croisette but saw his critically acclaimed 2015 film Fatima be profiled in the Directors’ Fortnight.
Sales: Pyramide International
The Happiest Man in the World – 🇲🇰
Teona Strugar Mitevska
A Cinefondation’s Atelier selected project in 2020, Macedonian filmmaker Teona Strugar Mitevska‘s fifth feature film (written by Mitevska and Elma Tataragić) would have gone into production at some point last year.
Her last three features including God Exists Her Name Is Petrunya were all Berlinale selections.The Happiest Man in the World explores the legacy of the Yugoslav War and revolves around a 40-year-old single woman living in Sarajevo, who feels her biological clock is ticking. She goes to a dating event, where she is matched with a 43-year-old banker but he is looking for forgiveness rather than love. Could be a great combustion drama featuring love and hate.
Sales: Pyramide International
The Integrity of Joseph Chambers – 🇺🇸
If we’re going to get a sampling of Americana on the Croisette this year I’d love to see indie helmer Robert Machoian make his Cannes debut with The Integrity of Joseph Chambers. This is coming off his masterwork The Killing of Two Lovers – and becomes a second consecutive project with actor/producer Clayne Crawford. Filmed in December of 2020 in Alabama, Crawford is joined by Jordana Brewster, Michael Raymond-James and Jeffrey Dean Morgan in a tale about a husband/father who finds that it’s more difficult than he expected to kill his own food. An unexpected hunting incident forever alters his life. Essentially we’re expecting an essay on the psychological cost-benefit and trade-offs of making a calculated choice.
Sales: Visit Films
Kung Fury II: The Movie – 🇸🇪
In 2015, Swedish filmmaker David Sandberg premiered what we could coin as the calling cards of calling cards with his 30 minute short film homage to the 80’s American cinema (specifically the type of films we find in the Cannon catalogue) in the Directors’ Fortnight section. That momentum is the reason why the filmmaker lassoed the likes of Michael Fassbender, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Alexandra Shipp, Jorma Taccone and the voice of David Hasselhoff. The film was stalled but appears to be in the clear for a showing in 2022. Kung Fury II: The Movie is set in 1985’s Miami — everyone is safe thanks to Kung Fury and his Thundercops but evil is lurking not too far behind. Expect plenty of fight and action sequences.
Men – 🇬🇧
Already an established filmmaker with only two features under his belt (2014’s Ex Machina and 2018’s Annihilation), our pandemic times did not slow down Alex Garland — in fact, it actually made him rethink the type of cinema he wants to devote himself to. Production on Men began in March of 2021 with Jessie Buckley and Rory Kinnear and the A24 folks dated the film with a May 20th release (it drops in France shortly after on June 1st). This is about a young woman (Jessie Buckley) who goes on a solo vacation to the English countryside after the death of her ex-husband.
La Maternal – 🇪🇸
After a decade plus of working in film, Catalan filmmaker Pilar Palomero is fully immersed in feature filmmaking launching in 2020 with her coming-of-age award-winning Schoolgirls and quickly moving onto her sophomore film La Maternal which follows a young teen who becomes pregnant — an examination on being shunned by society and the stress-test that is placed on the rapport with her own mother. The film employs several screen debuts for several non-actors including protagonist played by Carla Quílez.
Contact: Elle Driver
Nocebo – 🇮🇪
The post-production timing feels just about right for Irish filmmaker Lorcan Finnegan to return to the Croisette. His debut feature Vivarium was selected for the Critic’s Week. Naturally shot in the filmmaker’s backyard and The Philippines as well, Nocebo stars Eva Green, Mark Strong and Filipino actress Chai Fonacier. Written by Garret Shanley, Finnegan’s sophomore film is another psychological thriller and sees Green’s character suffering from a mysterious illness that puzzles her doctors and frustrates her husband (Strong) until help arrives in the form of a Filipino carer. Expect plenty of irregularities, for the protgonsit to run the full gamut of emotions until the well is dry and for the narrative to bind some outlandish premise with some mystery-infused mythology.
Sales: XYZ Films
Petite Fleur – 🇦🇷
Buenos Aires born filmmaker has been a Cannes Film Festival mainstay with five of his feature films premiering at the festival in what began as a first way of screenplays for three of Pablo Trapero’s films in Leonera (Competition – 2008), Carancho (Un Certain Regard – 2010) and Elefante Blanco (Un Certain Regard – 2012), and then Santiago Mitre saw his 2nd feature outing Paulina premiere in Critics Week in 2015 and The Summit preem in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2017 edition. His fourth Petite Fleur has actually been sitting in post-production for some time now (he is currently working on another feature in Argentina, 1985 which could leapfrog this film and also get intio Cannes). Set for a release in France on June 29th, this French language film stars Daniel Hendler, Vimala Pons, Melvil Poupaud, Sergi López, Françoise Lebrun and Eric Caravaca in what sounds like new Groundhog Day type film for stay at home dads but with a side dish of murdering one’s neighbor. Written by Santiago Mitre and Mariano Llinas, and based on the novel Petite Fleur (Jamais ne meurt), we expect this knee-slapper to pose amoral, bombastic and might not digress from a political undercurrents in Mitre’s body of work.
Plus que jamais – 🇫🇷
Sadly Gaspard Ulliel’s last screen performance will be found here alongside Vicky Krieps and supporting player Bjørn Floberg in Emily Atef‘s fifth feature film. While Atef was last seen in at the Berlinale with Three Days in Quiberon, she has nonetheless been present on the Croisette with The Stranger In Me (2008’s Critics’ Week) and was also at the fest for what would become Kill me – it was selected for the Cinéfondation. Filmed in April of 2021, written by Emily Atef and Lars Hubrich, Plus que jamais tells the tale of a woman in a happy relationship, whose life takes an unexpected turn when she finds out she is suffering from a rare lung disease. Helene decides to leave everything behind – heading towards Norway. This will be part odyssey, part self discovery and we might be pulling out the tissues for more reasons that one.
Sales: The Match Factory
Sans retour – 🇰🇷
Expect Davy Chou to bring a lot of soul to Seoul with the cross continent Sans retour (Beautiful Forgiveness). His third feature follows the 2012 selected Berlinale docu Golden Slumbers and 2016 Cannes Critics’ Week selected Diamond Island. Starring Ji-Min Park, Oh Kwang-Rok, Guka Han, Seo Yeong-Kim, Heo Jin with Yoann Zimmer and Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, this follows a 25 year Freddie as she makes a trip to her birthplace Korea for the very first time. She decides to track down her biological parents, but her journey takes a surprising turn. We’re expecting this to possibly be a poetic, cataclysmic and cathartic search on identity.
School Town – 🇨🇳
Nanjing based animator and filmmaker Liu Jian has been hard at work on his third feature film — which was reported to have begun School Town back in 2018. Following Piercing I (2010) and the hyper violent Have A Nice Day (2017), this animated project would be the 2nd instalment in a planned “Time Trilogy” and would include some autobiographical elements. This tells the story of Lao Wang is a middle-aged man. He works in a security department of a college which is located at a big school town. He lives a calm life until freshman Xiao Wang has a conflict with his roommate. We’re expecting some sort of generational conflict, difficult resolutions, the safety of a mild-mannered and normal pace of life to be disrupted by darker matter.
The Store – 🇸🇪
Selected for Cannes’s 2020 Cinefondation L’atelier, Hanna Sköld‘s third feature film (which was also selected for the Venice Gap Financing Market last year) is a mix of live action and stop-motion animation. Filmed in Turin, The Store is a highly personal film for the filmmaker – as the fantasy, satire drama about a group of employees in a low-cost supermarket is a familiar backdrop for Sköld. There appears to be links here between corporate bullying and hierarchical structures with social class and classism and the how different forms of violence that obstruct women’s health.
When the Waves are Gone – 🇵🇭
With not one but three features currently in post-production, like the prolific Hong Sang-soo, Filipino filmmaker Lav Diaz will definitely be a name we find on the film festival circuit in 2022 – Cannes, Locarno and Venice might all be targeted launching pads. A filmmaker who premiered Norte, the End of History (2013) in the Un Certain Regard section and The Halt (2019) in the Directors’ Fortnight we think that the next feature out of the gate might be is When the Waves are Gone. Shot in Philippines and Portugal, this is inspired by Alexandre Dumas’ “The Count of Monte Cristo,” two friends pull a bank heist. Herminigildo is imprisoned, Brigido returns to their home island with the loot and becomes its tyrant ruler. Herminigildo emerges 30 years later. So we’re looking at the theme of corruption and where the moral compass points in glorious Super 16 on Kodak black-and-white stock.