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2018 Cannes Film Festival Predictions

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The Conversation – Cannes Predictions II: La France

The Conversation – Cannes Predictions II: La France

Perhaps more contentious than any other competition titles are the French language items jockeying for coveted slots which are announced last. Both Claire Denis and Jacques Audiard will be ready with high profile English language debuts starring American actors. Will these count against the French allotment? Audiard’s last title, Dheepan, won the Palme d’Or in 2015, so if The Sisters Brothers is completed in time, this would be a shoe-in. And Denis has consistently been locked out of competition at Cannes since her celebrated 1988 debut Chocolat, many see her sci-fi epic High Life, starring Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche, as her re-entry ticket.

Of those who have a supposed edge are a potential new film from Abdellatif Kechiche, who has a second chapter (Pray for Jack) to last year’s Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno, which competed in Venice. Kechiche famously won the 2013 Palme d’Or for Blue is the Warmest Color, so he’s a likely person of interest. Then, Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Livre d’Image is a highly touted item from its producers (in 2014 Godard took home a jury prize for Goodbye to Language) and Olivier Assayas, who took home a Best Director prize for Personal Shopper in 2016 has the Juliette Binoche comedy Non-Fiction. Potentially, Assayas’ wife Mia Hansen-Love could make her first bow in comp at Cannes this year with Maya, as well. And then Stephane Brize, whose The Measure of a Man (2015) netted Vincent Lindon Best Actor has A War ready to go. Another hotly rumored item is Pierre Schoeller’s ambitious One Nation, One King (he was last in UCR with the awesome gator postered The Minister in 2011) for this year’s competition.

Many others seem more tenuous. Bruno Dumont is back with a follow-up to his 2014 Li’l Quinquin, but Coincoin and the Extra Humans most assuredly seems destined for Directors’ Fortnight, where the first installment premiered. Other regulars who have been programmed all over the place are Christophe Honore with Plaire and Philippe Faucon’s follow-up to 2015’s Fatima with Amin. Valeria Bruni Tedeschi went to competition in 2013 with A Castle in Italy and this year is back with Les Estivants (aka The Summer Holidaymakers). Julie Bertuccelli has the high-profile Catherine Deneuve headliner Claire Darling, while Romain GavrasMr. Freeze and Yann Gonzalez’s A Knife in the Heart seem primed for Directors’ Fortnight. Others who could land in a sidebar are Michel Ocelot with the animated Dilili a Paris, Mikhael Hers with Amanda, and Felix Moati with Deux Fils. Claire Burger, co-director of 2014’s Party Girl, has C’est ca l’amour ready as a solo project. Likewise, Vanessa Filho’s debut Gueule D’ange starring Marion Cotillard could could make an appearance. And then actor Gilles Lellouche, who has assembled an impressive cast for his Le Grand Bain, might also sway into the program.

While many are highly anticipating the latest project from Gaspar Noe, what’s described as a drug trip cum hellacious nightmare with Psyche, production isn’t expected to be complete until this Spring. The last time Noe premiered a work-in-progress at Cannes, his 2009 masterpiece Enter the Void was unfairly maligned by the press. Venice seems a likelier birthplace for the next Noe, but, maybe not.

Eva Ionesco, whose 2011 premiere My Little Princess went to Critics’ Week, has reunited with Isabelle Huppert for Golden Years, which could potentially land back in Critics’ Week or perhaps the Fortnight. Speaking of the Ionesco clan, Eva’s son Lukas Ionesco stars in Jessica Forever from directors Caroline Poggi and Jonathan Vinel, which seems a prize selection for Critics’ Week. Other Critics’ Week contenders could be Lou Jenet’s Curiosa, which stars Niels Schneider and Amira Casar, or Laure de Clermont-Tonerre’s Mustang starring Matthias Schoenaerts and Connie Britton (which will most likely get a title change upon receiving US distribution).

SURE BETS: High Life; The Sisters Brothers; Maya; A War; La Livre D’Image; Non-Fiction

DARK HORSES: One Nation, One King; Pray for Jack; Mustang; Curiosa; Golden Years; Jessica Forever; Claire Darling; Plaire; Amin; Les Estivants; Coincoin and the Extra Humans; Amanda; A Knife in the Heart; C’est ca l’amour; Deux Fils; Gueule D’Ange; Le Grand Bain

LONG SHOTS: Psyche; Mr. Freeze; Dilili a Paris

The Conversation – Cannes Predictions I: North & South America
The Conversation – Cannes Predictions II: France
The Conversation – Cannes Predictions III: Europe
The Conversation – Cannes Predictions IV: U.K / Ireland / Australia
The Conversation – Cannes Predictions V: Russia / China / Japan / South Korea / Asia
The Conversation – Cannes Predictions VI: Middle East / Africa / India

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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