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The Conversation: A Cannes Opener… 2017 Cannes Film Festival Predictions

And as we await the unveiling of the Venice Film’s Festival’s 2016 program, we look ahead to what may be in store for the Croisette in 2017. Following Thierry Fremaux’s best line-up in years (which included three selections from women directors in the main comp, and two of those people weren’t even French actresses first), it’s safe to say, considering items in production, quite a few renowned auteurs are set to duke it out next year.

Let’s begin with Isabelle Huppert—true, she’s not a director, but she’s a regular performer in formidable auteur fare, and her presence automatically lends a title a certain edge. 2017 could share a few elements with the 2012 line-up, namely with the return of two films starring Huppert from directors whose previous Cannes comp titles starred the actress. Hong Sang-soo (who was bypassed at the fest for his latest project) began shooting a new feature starring Huppert on the Croisette this year, tentatively titled La Camera de Claire. And also, currently filming is the latest film from Michael Haneke, Happy End, his fourth collaboration to feature her.

Continuing with major French language auteurs gearing new projects, Michel Hazancivius should be ready with Redoubtable, a sort of biopic on Jean-Luc Godard (if his film The Search could make it to comp, surely this will be a likely title bandied about several months from now). Speaking of Huppert, Serge Bozon reunites with the actress, casting her alongside Gerard Depardieu in Mrs. Hyde, although this may land in Un Certain Regard or Directors’ Fortnight (where Tip Top premiered in 2013).

Several months have passed since the last news on the latest from Leos Carax, a musical featuring Sparks, with names like Adam Driver and Rooney Mara circling, but no word on when production starts. Same goes for Alain Guiraudie, who premiered his latest, Staying Vertical in comp, and announced plans for another project, Pays Perdu. More likely are English language features from Jacques Audiard, with The Sisters Brothers, and the highly anticipated High Life from Claire Denis. Martin Provost has his Catherine Deneuve/Catherine Frot starrer The Midwife in post-production, while Bruno Dumont moves forward with a musical on Joan of Arc, and Philippe Garrel will be completed with L’Amant d’un jour. Garrel was famously locked out of the 2015 Main Competition with his In the Shadow of Women, as was his colleague Arnaud Desplechin’s My Golden Days. Desplechin may return to the comp again with his star studded Ismael’s Ghosts. Although he’s not exactly a Cannes regular, the exciting news of a new feature narrative from Erick Zonca (who directed a television feature after his excellent 2008 Tilda Swinton starrer, Julia) is filming Black River with Depardieu and Sandrine Kiberlaine.

Moving along, highly anticipated, long gestating projects like Argentinean Lucrecia Martel’s Zama, should finally be ready in time (although several sources have pegged this as a possible Venice 2016 prediction). Ukrainian auteur Sergey Loznitsa seems to have stalled the long awaited Babi Yar, but instead, we could likely expect his next narrative feature, A Gentle Creature to be complete. Another Russian language drama in attendance could be Andrey Zvyagintsev’s domestic drama Loveless.

On the American side, Alexander Payne is filming the comedic satire Downsizing, but a more likely lock, should it be developed in time, is a newly rumored reunion between Paul Thomas Anderson and actor Daniel Day Lewis in what’s described as a period drama about the 1950s New York fashion industry. More English language hopefuls are Terry Gilliam’s long gestating passion project The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Yorgos Lanthimos with one of two titles (sources seem unclear about whether he’ll move forward with The Favourite or The Killing of a Sacred Deer first), Ruben Ostlund’s The Square, and the exciting return of Lynne Ramsay with You Were Never Really Here starring Joaquin Phoenix. Plus, Britain’s Clio Barnard has Dark River cooking. Todd Haynes reunites with Julianne Moore for Wonderstruck, and considering the well-received Carol in the 2015 edition, we hope he returns.

From other corners of the globe, Filipino master Lav Diaz quietly announced a new project, When the Waves Are Gone, and Joachim Trier returns to Norway with Thelema. Fellow Scandinavian Lisa Langseth will also have the highly notable Euphoria, filmed in English and starring Eva Green, Alicia Vikander, and Charlotte Rampling. And then, of course, Finland’s Aki Kaurismaki should have his Refugee completed. From Hungary, two Cannes players may return, including Kornel Mundruczo with Superfluous Man, and the sophomore feature from Laszlo Nemes, Sunset.

Iran’s Asghar Farhadi may have his Almodovar produced project starring Penelope Cruz ready. We’re also incredibly excited for the return of Mexican auteur Carlos Reygadas with his Where Life Begins. Meanwhile, Italy’s Matteo Garrone takes a crack at Pinocchio.

Plenty of other names are rumored to have items in development, such as Roy Andersson, and Abderrahmane Sissako, but neither have announced definite updates. Frustratingly, a lack of concrete word from something new by Abdellatif Kechiche, including announced projects like The Real Wound or Ineffable Love would seem to indicate nothing is forthcoming anytime soon.

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2021: France (Bruno Dumont), Passing (Rebecca Hall) and Nightmare Alley (Guillermo Del Toro). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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