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2024 Cannes Film Festival Predictions – Directors' Fortnight

Film Festivals

2024 Cannes Film Festival Predictions – Directors’ Fortnight

2024 Cannes Film Festival Predictions – Directors’ Fortnight

In their inaugural edition and first mandate, Artistic Director Julien Rejl oversaw a significant transformation of the Directors’ Fortnight, not only altering its name but also reshaping its curation philosophy. The programming team embraced films that were not submitted to the other sections along the Croisette. Whether this approach persists remains uncertain, it adds an element of unpredictability to this section. We’ve so far learned of the visual identity of the festival was designed by Takeshi Kitano and just today, the section will have its first-ever public award in the Le Choix du Public de la Quinzaine. As the second-year edition is about to be unveiled, we figure that there are several former participants of the Quinzaine hold hopes of securing a second chance, third or sixth chance at cracking this line-up — that possibility remains uncertain. Here are fifteen films that we believe could make for ideal film selections for this section:

Ariel – 🇪🇸
Lois Patiño
Producer: Rodrigo Areias
World Sales: TBC.

Argentinean filmmaker Matías Piñeiro joined forces with Spanish filmmaker Lois Patiño for what is a free adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest set to mouthwatering visual backdrops and a bit of isolation. Ariel stars Irene Escolar and Agustina Muñoz and tells the tale of an Argentine actress of Galician origin (Muñoz) who is visiting her family in a Galician village on the border with Portugal. While visiting the house where her grandmother spent her childhood, she also takes advantage of these days to rehearse the texts in Portuguese of William Shakespeare’s A Tempestade, as she had been invited by a theater company to perform the play in the Azores archipelago. She travels to the islands by boat, but when she arrives, she doesn’t find anyone from the company. Prior to that the Patiño and Piñeiro tandem brought their short film “Sycorax” to the Quinzaine in 2021 — we figure that this is an expansion of this process.

Planète B – 🇫🇷
Aude Léa Rapin
Producer: Les Films du Bal’s Eve Robin.
World Sales: Orange Studio

Production on Planète B, Aude Léa Rapin‘s sophomore feature, took place back in March of last year so they’ve been most likely gunning for a Croisette showing. Rapin premiered her debut feature Heroes Don’t Die (read ★★★ review) in the Critics’ Week of 2019. Working in the dystopian thriller sub-genre, this follows Julia, one of the activists who mysteriously disappeared after participating in a violent protest. After being shot in the eye by a flash-ball gun, Julia fainted and woke up in an unknown world, known as Planet B. This stars Adele Exarchopoulos, Souheila Yacoub, India Hair, Jonathan Couzinié and Marc Barbé. Jeanne Lapoirie is the cinematographer here.

Dao – 🇫🇷
Alain Gomis
Producers: Les films du Worso’s Sylvie Pialat and Benoît Quainon, SRAB Films’ Christophe Barral and Toufik Ayadi.
World Sales: The Party Film Sales

Filmed in the backdrop of Guinea-Bissau (and Paris), celebrated French-Senegalese filmmaker Alain Gomis has landed at all major prestige film fests in Locarno, Berlinale and Venice (with the exception of Cannes) and his last feature in 2022’s Rewind & Play is still making the rounds. Production took place in May of 2023 on his sixth feature. Dao centres on Gloria, who is marrying her daughter in the Paris banlieue today. Not long ago, in Guinea-Bissau, she was attending the ceremony which consecrated her dead father as an ancestor. From one ceremony to the other, between past and present, life and death, reality and fiction, Gloria reconciles with her history, finds her place, and knows a moment of peace. Gomis re-teams with cinematographer Céline Bozon here.

Der Spatz im Kamin – 🇨🇭
Ramon Zürcher
Producer: Silvan Zürcher
World Sales: Zürcher Film GmbH

Locarno and Venice are both valid options for this latest film from the Zürcher Bros. which we’ve been keeping tabs on since it moved into production in the summer of 2022. After The Strange Little Cat (2013) and The Girl and the Spider (2021), The Sparrow in the Chimney stars Britta Hammelstein, Luise Heyer, Andreas Döhler and Maren Eggert…and sees Karen (Eggert) and Markus (Döhler) live with their children in Karen’s parents’ house. Karen’s sister Jule (Hammelstein) travels with her family to Markus’ birthday party. While Karen takes everyone’s breath away with her domineering manner, Jule is the complete opposite. Gradually a front forms against Karen until everything escalates into a fiery inferno. An inferno that destroys the old to create the new. This featured is signed by Ramon Zürcher.

Eight Postcards from Utopia – 🇷🇴
Radu Jude & Christian Ferencz-Flatz
Producer: Sagafilm’s Alexandru Teodorescu.
World Sales: TBC.

Coming off his career highlight in Do Not Expect Too Much From the End of the World (currently available on Mubi) and no stranger to the Quinzaine section (at least in terms of shorts) with three offerings to date (the most recent being 2022’s “The Potemkinists”), Radu Jude teamed with researcher in critical theory and philosophy of history/media Christian Ferencz-Flatz for Eight Postcards from Utopia. A found-footage documentary assembled exclusively out of post-socialist Romanian advertisements, this brings together these documents of Romania’s long transition period, they are made to speak about life, love and death, about the body and human frailty, about nature and the supernatural, about recent history, and, of course, about socialism and capitalism. Jude re-teams with film editor Catalin Cristutiu.

Familiar Touch – 🇺🇸
Sarah Friedland
Producers: Matthew Thurm, Alexandra Byer.
World Sales: TBC.

If we’re basing ourselves with the American indie offerings that included last year, this micro portrait might fit the agenda.  Sarah Friedland‘s feature debut comes from a non-film work experience which informed her on the parameters we find in Familiar Touch — which is described as a coming of (old) age film. It follows an octogenarian woman’s transition to life in assisted living as she contends with her conflicting desires and self-narratives amidst her shifting age identity and memory.

Grand Tour – 🇵🇹
Miguel Gomes
Producer: Uma Pedra No Sapato.
World Sales: The Match Factory

Having premiered a whopping five features films in the Quinzaine (his most recent item was the co-directed The Tsugua Diaries), Portuguese filmmaker Miguel Gomes has a permanent home in the section but the big question: is 2024 the year he moves into the Main Competition? Gomes has Selvajaria in post-production and the speculation talk is that Grand Tour (co-written by Miguel Gomes, Mariana Ricardo, Telmo Churro and Maureen Fazendeiro) would have leaped-frogged the former and is ready to launch. Slapping the clapperboard in the month of March of last year, this begins in Rangoon, Burma, in 1917. Edward a civil servant for the British Empire, runs away from his fiancée, Molly, the day she arrives to get married. During his travels, however, panic gives way to melancholy. Contemplating the emptiness of his existence, the cowardly Edward wonders what has become of Molly… Yet Molly, determined to get married and amused by his move, follows his trail on this Asian grand tour. Gonçalo Waddington and Crista Alfaiate star. Worth noting is that frames from that trip with film scenes shot in 16mm. Cinematographer Rui Poças was onboard.

Horizonte – 🇨🇴
Cesar Augusto Acevedo
Producers: Inercia Films’ Paola Andrea Perez Nieto, Ciné-Sud Promotion’s Thierry Lenouvel.
World Sales: TBC.

Camera d’Or winner in 2015 for his Critics’ Week debuted Land and Shade. Almost a decade later, we now receive Cesar Augusto Acevedo‘s sophomore feature – a project that started shooting in November of 2022 and could easily find itself in just about any section along the Croisette. A project selected for the 2018 Cannes Cinefondation The Residence, Horizonte is about two ghosts, a mother and son, search for the boy’s missing father on a journey, both physical and spiritual, through a world ravaged by war. Only through great sacrifice will they mend the fragile bonds that bind them and perhaps find redemption… Claudio Cataño and Paulina Garcia star.

If I Had Legs I’d Kick You – 🇺🇸
Mary Bronstein
Producers: Richie Doyle, Conor Hannon, Sara Murphy, Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, Ryan Zacarias.
Distributor: A24.

The Quinzaine folks welcomed three American micro-indie films last year, so we think that this is another great option — the under-the-radar A24 project fits the bill in more ways than one. A long-awaited sophomore project featuring Danielle Macdonald, Rose Byrne, Ella Beatty, Josh Pais and A$AP Rocky, Mary Bronstein‘s If I Had Legs I’d Kick You moved into production fairly late in the year of 2023. A dramedy — with her life crashing down around her, Linda, a Long Island-based therapist and mother, navigates her way through an emotional minefield. If included there’ll be some Croisette connections to the past and present. Hubby Ronald Bronstein was in the section with previous films, and this year’s jury president Greta Gerwig was featured in Bronstein’s debut film, 2008’s Yeast.

Les Pistolets en plastique – 🇫🇷
Jean-Christophe Meurisse
Producers: Mamma Roman’s Marine Bergère and Romain Daubeach, Kick’n Rush’s Antoine Blesson and Nicolas Descalles.
World Sales: Charades

Maybe the Quinzaine will be the next box for Jean-Christophe Meurisse‘s bingo card. After showcasing Apnée in the Critics’ Week in 2016 and Bloody Oranges as an Out of Comp – Midnight Screening in (2021) we have this ready third feature film in the waiting. Les pistolets en plastique went into production in June of last year and tells the tale of a man named Uzès who gets arrested during his trip in Denmark and accused of murdering his wife and three children. Though maintaining his innocence, he remains jailed as police investigate. Jonathan Cohen, Laurent Stocker, Charlotte Laemmel and Delphine Baril star.

Morlaix – 🇫🇷
Jaime Rosales
Producers: Iwaso Films, Fresdeval Films, Les Productions Balthazar.
World Sales: TBC.

I would not bet the farm on this prediction as there’d not be much time in post production, but veteran Spanish filmmaker Jaime Rosales has gifted the Croisette with the majority of his film works (five features in total) with Petra (2018) being his last time in Quinzaine section. Fitted in red, white and blue, shot in France, Morlaix landed Melanie Thierry and Alex Brendemühl for a tale about Gwen, a young Breton high school student, who is torn between reasonable love for Thomas, a childhood sweetheart, and her passionate attraction for Jean Luc, the newcomer. One day when she and her group of friends go to the cinema, they discover a film where the plot could be a mirror of what the young girl is experiencing. Production took place late last year – see set visit here.

Noise – 🇰🇷
Kim Soo-jin
Producers: TBC.
World Sales: Finecut.

The Quinzaine folks might add this high octane horror thriller debut from a filmmaker who saw his short “The Line” be part of the 2013 edition of the Cinefondation shorts. Kim Soo-jin‘s Noise centres on a deaf woman trying to find her younger sister who has vanished in an apartment building plagued with mysterious noises and an eerie presence. With the help of her sister’s boyfriend, she searches the building, encountering an array of hysterical and peculiar residents including a neighbour who threatens to kill her as he complains of noise from upstairs. Lee Sun-bin and Kim Min-seok topline.

Rabia🇩🇪
Mareike Engelhardt
Producers: Films Grand Huit’s Lionel Massol and Pauline Seigland.
World Sales: Kinology

Production on Rabia — filmmaker Mareike Engelhardt‘s directorial debut took place in January of last year and it housed the likes of Megan Northam, Lubna Azabal and Natacha Krief with Cinematographer Agnès Godard behind the lines. Driven by the promise of a new life, Jessica (19) and her best friend Laila left for Syria to join Daech. But when they arrive, they find themselves locked up in a women’s house run by the authoritarian and charismatic Madame. When Jessica rebels, a game of domination and submission begins between her and the director. Between fascination and fear, Jessica will have to give up her humanity to survive within this system.

Transamazonia🇩🇪
Pia Marais
Producers: Volos Films’ Stefano Centini, Chu-Ti Chang, O Par’s Camilo Cavalcanti and Viviane Mendonça, Pierrick Baudouin, Guilherme Coelho, Tom Dercourt, Sophie Erbs, Christoph Friedel, Jean-Marc Fröhle, Alex C. Lo, Fernando Loureiro, Claudia Steffen, Murielle Thierrin.
World Sales: The Party Film Sales

After featuring her first trio of films at the likes of Berlinale, Rotterdam, Locarno Film Festivals (her sophomore feature At Ellen’s Age was developed at the Cannes’ Résidence), Pia Marais’ might break into Cannes with what is tipped as an ecological thriller. Transamazonia follows Rebecca, the daughter of missionary Lawrence Byrne, who was declared a “miracle” after she survived a plane crash as a child, deep in the Amazon Forest. Years later, Rebecca, who became a famous healer in the region, and her father find themselves embroiled in an escalating conflict when illegal loggers invade the land belonging to the indigenous people they are evangelizing. This is topped by actress Helena Zengel.

Viet and Nam – 🇻🇳
Truong Minh Quy
Producers: Epicmedia Productions Inc.
World Sales: TBC.

Last year the section gifted us Vietnamese cinema with the Camera d’Or winning Inside The Yellow Cocoon Shell, and they could return to this national cinema with Viet and Nam. A filmmaker who has hit the likes of Rotterdam, Berlinale and Locarno Film Festivals with his shorts and features, we believe that Truong Minh Quy‘s third feature film is poised for a Croisette showing. Shot on 16mm film, the TorinoFilmLab and Cinéfondation L’Atelier (2021) film project is about two lovers named Nam and Việt. Before leaving Vietnam in a container alongside future migrants, Nam, a young miner, seeks to find the remains of his father, a soldier killed during the civil war. But Nam’s lover, Việt, wishes they could stay forever in the depths of the coal mine. Here is a more complete profile on the project.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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