Roll up, roll up, it’s our annual list of U.S. and international movies that could have festivals (and audiences) salivating in 2023. As ever, two of our main criteria are that the project is already in production and hasn’t yet been declared for a festival. This isn’t an exhaustive list but a healthy snapshot of some highlights from around the world. Enjoy!
Dune: Part Two
Denis Villeneuve’s anticipated Dune sequel recently wrapped filming. The sci-fi follow-up is currently set for a November 2023 debut and expectations are that it will launch on the Lido like the first film in the series. Pic sees Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Dave Bautista, Stellan Skarsgard, Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem returning with new cast members Florence Pugh, Austin Butler, Lea Seydoux and Christopher Walken. Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment’s official synopsis reads: “This follow-up film will explore the mythic journey of Paul Atreides as he unites with Chani and the Fremen while on a warpath of revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the known universe, he endeavors to prevent a terrible future only he can foresee.”
How Do You Live
Legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki returns with this secretive project which is said to have been adapted for the screen by Miyazaki from Genzaburo Yoshino’s 1937 book of the same name. That story follows a teenage boy in Tokyo who moves in with his uncle after his father dies. The novel is said to be one of the director’s favorites. Toho is releasing the pic in Japan on July 14, 2023. Studio Ghibli has not shared any further details about the pic, which will be Miyazaki’s first feature-length film in a decade. A Cannes debut is conceivable and would mark Miyazaki’s first premiere on the Croisette as a director.
Inshallah A Boy
It has taken Jordanian director Amjad Al Rasheed more than six years to bring his debut feature to fruition but thanks to a raft of post-production prizes over the past six months from the Venice and Cairo film festivals, it is finally over the line. The drama probes Jordan’s inheritance culture under which women are pressured to relinquish their rights to property to male relatives. Mouna Hawa stars as a woman whose in-laws lay claim to her home when her husband dies suddenly. Her only way out of the situation is to conceive a boy. The film is lead-produced by festival regular Rula Nasser, whose recent credits include The Alleys, Amira and Rebel.
Alex Garland (Ex Machina) has reteamed with A24 for this action epic which has Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog) set to star alongside Wagner Moura (The Shining Girls), Stephen McKinley Henderson (Dune) and Cailee Spaeny (The First Lady). Details about the film’s plot are being kept under wraps, but the pic is set for a 2023 launch.
Strange Way of Life
Spanish maestro Pedro Almodóvar has completed this new short film. The film features Ethan Hawke, Pedro Pascal, Jason Fernández, José Condessa, and George Steane. In 2021, Almodóvar launched The Human Voice, another English-language short starring Tilda Swinton, at Venice. The filmmaker has yet to share release plans for this short.
Argentinian filmmaker Lisandro Alonso’s latest film is an ambitious historical drama set across four distinct sections, which examine the indigenous peoples of the Americas and how they’ve inhabited their specific environments across the centuries. The film shot in Almería, Spain, and stars Viggo Mortensen. Alonso’s last pic, Jauja, was a breakout at Cannes back in 2014.
Beast and Everest filmmaker Baltasar Kormákur has adapted Ólafur Jóhann Ólafsson’s bestselling Icelandic novel Touch for the big screen. Ólaffson co-wrote the script with Kormákur. The romantic drama spans several decades and continents as it follows one widower’s emotional journey to find his first love who disappeared 50 years ago. Focus will release domestically, with Universal Pictures International handling overseas distribution (excluding Iceland).
Festival regular and former festival head Rajkumar Hirani, best known for his potent social issue dramas, directs Shah Rukh Khan for the first time in this thriller billed as an exploration of illegal backdoor routes dubbed ‘Donkey Flights’ by Indian nationals to immigrate to countries such as Canada and the USA. The film is said to launch in late 2023. Taapsee Pannu and Boman Irani also star.
Nikolaj Arcel’s epic historical drama, starring Mads Mikkelsen, is currently set for a festival-friendly autumn 2023 release. Set in the mid-1700s, the film follows Danish King Frederik V as he declares that the wild heath of Jutland should be tamed, cultivated, and colonized so that civilization can spread and new taxes be generated for the royal house.
Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson’s first English-language feature is currently in post-production. Lydia Leonard (Archipelago), Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner), and Sverrir Gudnason (Borg Vs. McEnroe) star in the pic, which follows a motley group of people with a chronic fear of flying who are stranded in the wintry north. Sigurdsson’s last pic, Under The Tree, debuted at Venice in 2017.
The Zone of Interest
The latest from cult British filmmaker Jonathan Glazer has been anticipated for some time. Few details about the film have been shared, but the plot is said to be inspired by British author Martin Amis’s 2014 novel 2014 of the same name. The well-received book tells the story of a Nazi officer who has become enamored with the camp commandant’s wife. Cold War DoP Lukasz Zal is cinematographer and A24 is among partners on the project, which is in post-production.
Yorgos Lanthimos has assembled a stellar cast for his latest. Emma Stone, Margaret Qualley, Willem Dafoe, and Mark Ruffalo are all aboard. The plot will follow the story of Belle Baxter — a young woman brought back to life by an eccentric but brilliant scientist. Poor Things will be Lanthimos’s first feature effort since 2018’s The Favourite, which debuted at Venice. The Greek filmmaker has been a regular on both the Lido and Croisette.
Kuru Otlar Üstüne
Cannes darling Nuri Bilge Ceylan is bound to drum up considerable festival interest with his latest feature, which translates as On Dry Grass. The film follows a young teacher who hopes to get a job in Istanbul after mandatory duty in a small village. After a long wait, he loses hope of escaping his gloomy life but his colleague Nuray helps him regain perspective. Celebrated auteur Ceylan won the Palme d’Or in 2014 for Winter Sleep.
Based on real-life events, Michael Winterbottom’s film is a political thriller that unfolds during the British Mandate in 1930s Tel Aviv. The pic follows two Brit police officers, Thomas Wilkin (Douglas Booth) and Geoffrey Morton (Harry Melling), in their hunt for poet and Zionist activist Avraham Stern, who is plotting to evict British authorities. The film is set for a 2023 release.
Love Lies Bleeding
Saint Maud filmmaker Rose Glass’s next film is billed as a romantic thriller that “examines a romance fueled by ego, desire, and the American Dream.” Glass is directing from a script she co-wrote with Weronika Tofilska. Film4 developed the project alongside the filmmakers and will co-finance alongside A24, which is producing and handling the pic’s global release. With Kristen Stewart attached to star in a leading role, the pic will find no difficulty landing a prime festival spot.
Oliver Hirschbiegel’s long-gestating gangster project Das Engelsgesicht (The Angel Face) will finally come to light this year. The project sees Moritz Bleibtreu star as German mafia hitman Giorgio Basile, aka “Angel Face,” who was connected to the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta crime syndicate and became a state witness against the Italian mafia in 1998. Christian Limmer writes the script based on Andreas Ulrich’s novel of the same name. Given this was a project that Downfall director Hirschbiegel first boarded in 2008, this will be the year audiences discover if it’s worth the wait.
Korean auteur Park Chan-wook is set to make his second foray into TV with The Sympathizer, a drama series adaptation of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, produced by and co-starring Robert Downey Jr. The book is an espionage thriller and cross-culture satire about the struggles of a half-French, half-Vietnamese communist spy during the final days of the Vietnam War and his resulting exile in the U.S. Director Park is on board as co-showrunner and also will direct. Currently in production, this seems a long shot to debut at a festival, but what a draw it would be. Film festivals are programming more high-end, auteur-driven series at their events.
Andrew Haigh is finishing up his latest film, which comprises a buzzy cast of Claire Foy, Paul Mescal, and Andrew Scott. Haigh wrote the film’s script, which tells the story of a screenwriter who is pulled back to his childhood home where he discovers that his long-dead parents are in fact living and look the same age as the day they died. Haigh’s last pic, Lean on Pete, debuted at Venice.
Jean-Bernard Marlin’s gangland-set fantasy revolves around a former gang member who believes his daughter is the only one who can save his Marseille community from an apocalyptic curse uttered by a rival gang member in his dying breath. Like his debut feature Shéhérazade, the cast is made up of mainly of non-professional actors. That gritty romance debuted in Cannes Critics’ Week in 2018 and went on to win best first film in the French César awards the following year, as well as most promising actress and actor for its big screen debutants Kenza Fortas and Dylan Robert.
Killers Of The Flower Moon
Apple is said to be eyeing a Cannes 2023 debut for Martin Scorsese’s latest pic, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. Deadline reported earlier this year that potential plans for the film include a full-blown theatrical release through Paramount following a splashy premiere on the Croisette. The Eric Roth-scripted fact-based drama follows a series of mysterious murders of wealthy Osage Native Americans after oil deposits are discovered under their land. The subsequent investigation led to the foundation of the FBI.
DogMan marks Luc Besson’s comeback film after a three-year hiatus, following less than spectacular box office performances for 2019 action thriller Anna and ambitious 2017 sci-fi extravaganza Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. In the interim, Besson has weathered multiple sexual assault allegations and the financial collapse of his company EuropaCorp. Deadline hears that his new film is altogether more personal work, with an indie feel. X-Men and Finch star Caleb Landry Jones plays a young man, dogged by illness and bruised by life, who finds salvation through his love of dogs. Besson’s early films The Big Blue, The Fifth Element and Fanfan played Out of Competition in Cannes and his Aung San Suu Kyi biopic The Lady debuted at Toronto in 2011, but the director has not debuted films on the festival circuit over the past decade.
Bruno Dumont’s sci-fi drama is billed as the idiosyncratic French director’s most ambitious film to date. The work brings together the intriguing trio of Anamaria Vartolomei (The Happening), Camille Cottin (Call My Agent!) and Lyna Khoudri (The French Dispatch), alongside Fabrice Luchini. Previously announced cast member Lily Rose Depp dropped out ahead of the shoot over the summer. Dumont has returned to his beloved Northern France for the talerevolving around two opposing forces from the depths of outer space, who unleash an apocalyptic conflict on the region’s picturesque Opal Coast. Dumont has described the work as a “space and earth opera”, saying the battle is a metaphor for the internal struggle in every human between good and evil.
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar
Details about Wes Anderson’s second Roald Dahl adaptation have been scarce. The Netflix film is said to star Benedict Cumberbatch, Dev Patel, Ralph Fiennes, and Ben Kingsley. However, there is no release date. The original Roald Dahl book is made up of several short stories. It is currently unknown which stories Anderson will cover in his pic, and Netflix hasn’t shared any release plans.
There are more concrete details about Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City, which Focus Features has set for a Cannes-friendly June 16 limited release. The film will go wide on June 23. The pic is written by Anderson and is based on a story he co-wrote with Roman Coppola, which takes place in a fictional American desert town circa 1955. The synopsis reads: ‘The itinerary of a Junior Stargazer/Space Cadet convention (organized to bring together students and parents from across the country for fellowship and scholarly competition) is spectacularly disrupted by world-changing events’.
Maria Bakalova stars in and produces her first Bulgarian project since her breakout performance in Borat 2. Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov direct the dark comedy, which sees Bakalova star alongside fellow Bulgarian actor Julian Kostov. Described as a “military satire,” Triumph is inspired by well-known events in the chaotic aftermath of the fall of communism in the 1990s when a task force comprised of high-ranking Bulgarian army officers and psychics embarked on a top-secret military operation in the small village of Tsarichina to dig up an elusive alien artefact that would change the course of history. Bakalova and Kostov produce via their banner Five Oceans.
Production on Sofia Coppola’s movie wrapped earlier this month. The pic is based on the memoir Elvis And Me by Priscilla Beaulieu Presley and stars Cailee Spaeny as Priscilla and Jacob Elordi as Elvis. Published in 1985, Presley’s intimate account of her life with Elvis became a New York Times bestseller and an international sensation. Coppola wrote the screenplay. It’s unclear when the film will land. Coppola, a longtime festival favorite, picked up the best director gong at Cannes in 2017 for The Beguiled.
Cult filmmaker S. Shankar returns with Indian 2, a prequel to his 1996 classic Indian. The Tamil-language pic follows a vigilante who attempts to eliminate corruption from the system by killing corrupt bureaucrats. The film is produced by Lyca Productions and Red Giant Movies.
Steve McQueen’s long-gestating doc is based on the illustrated history book Atlas Of An Occupied City, Amsterdam 1940-1945, written by author, filmmaker, and McQueen’s wife, Bianca Stigter. The book uncovers traces of World War II in Amsterdam, guiding the reader through the Dutch capital. The doc is said to have a $5M+ budget, and with McQueen on board, it will be a hot property on the festival circuit when ready.
Austrian helmer Jessica Hausner returns to the director’s chair with this psychological drama set in an elite school. Mia Waskiowska stars as a new teacher who forms a strong bond with five of the students, however the relationship goes on to take a dangerous turn. The film boasts a strong international line-up with British-Egyptian actor Amir El-Masry, Danish star Sidse Babett Knudsen, French actors Elsa Zylberstein and Mathieu Demy and newcomer Luke Barker rounding out the cast. The project marks the second English-language feature from Hausner following 2019’s sci-fi horror Little Joe, which saw star Emily Beecham score a best actress award in Cannes. Given that all Hausner’s projects have landed either at Cannes or Venice, this one is likely to land at an A-list festival this year.
Netflix has set Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín’s latest for a 2023 release. The pic is billed as a black comedy and will tell the story of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet who will be depicted as a 250-year-old. The film will star Jaime Vadell (Tres Tristes Tigres) as Pinochet alongside co-star Gloria Münchmeyer (La Luna En El Espejo). Larraín is a regular on the festival circuit and debuted his last three films at Venice, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if this pic also lands on the Lido.
The Old Oak
Ken Loach returns to the North East of England for his next pic. The film is based around The Old Oak, the last remaining pub in a small English village where local people are leaving because the mines have closed. Houses are cheap and available, thus making it an ideal location for Syrian refugees. The film is set for a 2023 release and will likely see two-time Palme d’Or winner Loach return to the Croisette. The filmmaker has debuted 16 works at Cannes.
Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov is bringing to screen the story of radical Russian poet and dissident Eduard Limonov, a figure who grew up in what is now the Ukranian city of Kharkiv and escaped the Soviet Union to head to the U.S. Ben Whishaw stars as Limonov. Pawel Pawlikowski and Ben Hopkins have penned the script based on the book by Emmanuel Carrere, which chronicles Limonov’s outrageous life as a poet, a butler for a New York millionaire and literary success in Paris. Serebrennikov’s last three features Tchaikovsky’s Wife, Petrov’s Flu and Leto, have all played in Competition in Cannes.
This big-budget biopic of racing mogul Enzo Ferrari has been in the works with director Michael Mann for nearly 20 years and 2023 looks set to be the year it finally crosses the finish line. Adam Driver, Penélope Cruz and Shailene Woodley star in this project which follows Ferrari, a former racecar driver, whose future is in peril as bankruptcy threatens to ruin the company he and his wife built. Set in the summer of 1957, their rocky marriage struggles to cope with mourning the loss of one son and the acknowledgment of another. Ferrari decides to go all in on one race – 1,000 miles across Italy’s iconic Mille Miglia. Mann’s movies aren’t festival regulars but this would be a fun splash on the Lido.
Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania’s long-gestating docu-drama is inspired by the larger-than-life character of a mother who lost two teenage daughters to radicalization, after they ran away to Libya to join ISIS with their boyfriends. Tunisian-Egyptian actress and producer Hend Sabry plays the woman in scenes recreating her real-life story, intercut with interviews. Ben Hania’s last film was well-received Venice title The Man Who Sold His Skin. Her previous feature Beauty And The Dogs world-premiered in Cannes Un Certain Regard in 2017.
The Breaking Ice
Fresh from his English-language debut Drift, which premieres in Sundance, Singaporean director Anthony Chen has this Chinese-language drama being readied for festivals in 2023. Zhou Dongyu, who starred in Oscar-nominated Hong Kong drama Better Days, heads the cast along with Liu Haoran and Qu Chuxiao. The story revolves around a woman’s blossoming relationship with two men over a few short days in winter. China’s Huace Pictures is producing with Chen and Meng Xie’s Canopy Pictures.
A Haunting In Venice
Kenneth Branagh continues his Agatha Christie run with upcoming mystery film A Haunting in Venice, which is based on the British whodunnit author’s book Hallowe’en Party. In keeping with tradition, Branagh has set an all-star cast with Kyle Allen, Camille Cottin, Jamie Dornan, Tina Fey, Jude Hill, Ali Khan, Emma Laird, Kelly Reilly, Riccardo Scamarico and Michelle Yeoh. Branagh will reprise his role as inspector Hercule Poirot and Michael Green adapts the script, which is set in eerie, post-World War II Venice on All Hallows’ Eve. Will Venice select this starry project to feature on the Lido this year? With 20th Century eyeing a September 15 release, the stars seem to be aligning.
Escape From Mogadishu director Ryoo Seung-wan has been in post for some time on this action thriller about two female deep-sea divers who get caught up in a smuggling racket. Kim Hye-soo, Yum Jung-ah, Zo In-sung and Park Jeong-min head the cast of the film, produced by Filmmaker R&K and N.E.W. Ryoo was previously at Cannes with Crying Fist (2005) and Venice with The City Of Violence (2006).
French-Moroccan director Sophie Alaoui won the Grand Jury Prize in Sundance’s International Narrative Shorts section in 2020 for atmospheric work So What If The Goats Die, in which a man returns to his remote mountain town to find it deserted. For her debut feature, Alaoui has delivered a hybrid work mixing social drama and the fantastic. Set in Morocco, the film revolves around a pregnant young woman from a modest background struggling to integrate into her husband’s upper-middle class family. A mysterious event will force her to emancipate herself just as she is about to give birth.
The Book Of Solutions
Popular French actor Pierre Niney stars as a filmmaker battling inner demons that are stifling his creativity in Michel Gondry’s first feature since the 2015 teenage road trip comedy Microbe And Gasoline. In the interim, the prolific Oscar-winning Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind director, who has more than 130 credits to his name, has been focused on shorts, music videos and series. The cast also features Blanche Gardin, Camille Rutherford, Frankie Wallach and Vincent Elbaz. Gondry was last on the A-list festival circuit with his Bronx-shot drama The We & The I, about a group of students catching the bus back from high school for the last time, which opened Directors’ Fortnight in 2012.
Belgian-Kurdish director Sahim Omar Kalifa’s second fiction feature expands his 2012 short film of the same name which made it onto the short list for Live-action Short Film category of the 87th Academy Awards. Filmed in the Kurdish city of Erbil, the feature revolves around a boy, who has lost one leg, and is obsessed with football and Argentinian player Lionel Messi. Kalifa’s feature Zagros played at Rotterdam, Edinburgh and Montreal.
Fresh from Bones And All, Italian director Luca Guardagnino is back in the U.S. with this love triangle romantic comedy set against the world of professional tennis, co-starring Zendaya, Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist. Zendaya plays a former tennis pro-turned coach who now manages her husband’s career. When he ends up playing his childhood friend and her ex-boyfriend on the circuit, sparks start to fly in all directions. Guadagnino has traditionally debuted his films at Venice but the current U.S. release date of August 11 via United Artists suggests a Lido splash may not be on the cards this time.
There have been suggestions that The Conversion could be octogenarian director Marco Bellocchio’s last film in a career spanning six decades and nearly 50 feature films. The drama revolves around the real-life story of a Jewish boy who was removed from his family in 1958 and raised as a Roman Catholic under the orders of Pope Pius IX. A-list festival regular Bellocchio was recently feted by the European Film Academy for his 2022 drama series Exterior, Night, exploring the circumstances surrounding the kidnapping and assassination of former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro in 1978.
Oscar-nominated director David Fincher reunites with Seven screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker for this adaptation of Alexis Nolent’s graphic novel series of the same name. The title boasts a stellar cast including Michael Fassbender, Tilda Swinton and Charles Parnell and sees Fincher return to the classic noir genre he knows so well. The story follows a cold-blooded assassin who begins to have a psychological crisis in a world with no moral compass. The project comes out of Fincher’s four-year deal with Netflix and is due to play on the streamer next year.
Quentin Dupieux’s 12th feature pays homage to Surrealist artist Salvador Dali. The film follows a French journalist who meets the iconic figure periodically over the course of many years for a documentary project that never gets made. Deadline has been told that Dali will be played by multiple different actors across the film. The ensemble French cast features Alain Chabat (Smoking Causes Coughing), Anaïs Demoustier (Alice And The Mayor), Pierre Niney (Frantz) and Gilles Lellouche (Little White Lies) and others were expected to join when shooting got underway in early November. Dupieux, whose own work has sometimes been described as surreal, is best known internationally for Cannes Directors’ Fortnight Jean Dujardin -starrer Deerskin and Venice 2020 breakout Mandibles, about two goofy no-hopers who discover a giant fly in the trunk of their car.
Italian director Saverio Costanzo returns to cinema after devoting six years of his life to the Naples-set HBO hit drama My Brilliant Friend. He is back in his native Rome for this coming-of-age drama set against the backdrop of the golden age of Rome’s historic Cinecittà studios in the 1950s and the sword and sandal productions of the era. Newcomer Rebecca Antonaci makes her big screen debut as a teenage ingenue who is hired as an extra, alongside a starry cast also featuring Lily James, Joe Keery, Willem Dafoe and Rachel Sennott. Constanzo’s last feature was the psychological thriller Hungry Hearts, which debuted in Venice in 2014, winning co-stars Adam Driver and Alba Rohrwacher the Volpi Cup for best actor and actress, respectively.
The Little Mermaid
Oscar-nominated director Rob Marshall is bringing Disney’s live-action remake to the surface this year. Hitmaker Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton, Encanto, Moana) and Alan Menken, who composed the original animated classic, are making new songs for this modern adaptation which stars R&B star Halle Bailey as Ariel, a young mermaid willing to give up her life in the sea to gain a human soul. Jonah Hauer-King, Melissa McCarthy, Simone Ashley, Jacob Tremblay and Daveed Diggs also star. This isn’t an obvious festival film but it does have a late May release date which could spell hope for an unusual but fun Riviera launch.
Egyptian director Abu Bakr Shawky broke internationally with his debut film Yomeddine, which world-premiered in Competition in Cannes in 2018. For his second feature, he has signed to direct Saudi Arabian drama Hajjan, which was previously announced as Sea Of Sands. The film was developed by local cultural institution Ithra which then teamed with Egyptian producer Mohamed Hefzy to bring it to fruition. Revolving around the relationship between man and camel which has a special place in Saudi Arabian culture, the film follows a young boy who takes up camel racing with his beloved camel when tragedy strikes his family. The film shot in northwestern Saudi Arabia over the autumn.
After the success of their 2004 wine-tasting road trip comedy Sideways, a reteam of Alexander Payne and Paul Giamatti is sure to attract intrigue for audiences. This new comedy, which Focus Features nabbed in a splashy $30M worldwide deal in Toronto, sees Giamatti play a universally disliked teacher at a prep school in New England who is forced to spend the Christmas holiday at the school to supervise students unable to make the journey home. After a few days, just one student – a troublemaking teen named Anges – is left along with the school’s head cook, Mary. The three different shipwrecked people form an unlikely bond during the holidays.
A House In Jerusalem
West Jerusalem is dotted with comfortable stone villas built by affluent Palestinian families in the early 20th century, who were forced to abandon their homes 1948. Bethlehem-based director Muayad Alayan delves into this legacy with this long-gestated supernatural tale about a British-Jewish woman who moves to Jerusalem hoping a new beginning will help her heal from a painful past. When she moves into old Palestinian house in West Jerusalem, she encounters the ghost of a Palestinian girl who was separated from her family in 1948. The film follows Alayan’s award-winning 2018 film The Reports About Saleem And Sarah, about an ill-fated relationship between a Palestinian man and an Israeli woman, and Love, Theft And Other Engagements, about a petty thief who steals a car and then discovers a kidnapped Israeli soldier in the trunk.
Matteo Garrone’s modern-day odyssey follows the perilous journey of youngsters Seydoux and Moussa as they attempt to travel from Dakar to Europe in search of a new life, crossing deserts and the sea and navigating human nature in the process. Garrone’s last feature Pinocchio debuted as Berlinale Special Gala in 2020, before going on to be Oscar-nominated in the costume and make up and hairstyling categories. Most of Garrone’s other films have premiered in Competition in Cannes, with Reality and Gomorra winning the Grand Prize of the Jury in 2012 and 2008, respectively.
Jeanne du Barry
Maïwenn’s historical drama is freely inspired by the life of Jeanne du Barry, Louis XV’s last royal mistress at the Court of Versailles. The actress-filmmaker stars as the titular protagonist opposite Johnny Depp as the king. It marks Depp’s feature film role in three years, following his victory in a turbulent defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard earlier this year. Jeanne du Barry is Maïwenn’s sixth feature. The Cannes regular previously won its Jury Prize in 2011 for Polisse, while long-time collaborator Emmanuelle Bercot snared best actress in 2015 for her performance in My King. Jeanne du Barry shot over the summer in various locations including Versailles and other chateaux in the Paris region as well as the studio.
Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore and Charles Melton (The Sun Is Also A Star) lead festival favorite Todd Haynes’ next pic. The film’s synopsis reads: ‘Twenty years after their notorious tabloid romance gripped the nation, a married couple buckles under the pressure when an actress arrives to do research for a film about their past’. Samy Burch wrote the screenplay from a story by Burch and Alex Mechanik. Jessica Elbaum and Will Ferrell of Gloria Sanchez Productions are producing alongside Christine Vachon and Pam Koffler of Killer Films with Portman and Sophie Mas under their MountainA banner.
Il Sol Dell’Avvenire
Nanni Moretti has teased that his latest Rome-set feature is set partly in the 1950s as well as the worlds of cinema and the circus, but the fine details are under wraps. Moretti features in the cast alongside past collaborators Margherita Buy and Silvio Orlando as well as Czech-Italian actress Barbora Bobulova, France’s Mathieu Amalric, Poland’s Jerzy Stuhr and Hungary’s Szolt Anger. This coming Cannes will mark the 45th anniversary of Moretti making his Competition debut with second film Ecce Bombo in 1978. In the interim, the director has shown another 10 films at the festival, winning best director in 1993 for Dear Diary and the Palme d’Or for The Son’s Room in 2001.
After hard-hitting historical drama An Officer And A Spy, exploring France’s infamous 19th century Dreyfus Affair and the antisemitism that stoked it, Roman Polanski is back with a more light-hearted work. This black comedy unfolds against the backdrop of a New Year’s Eve dinner party at Switzerland’s famous Gstaad Palace hotel which takes an unexpected turn. Polanski co-wrote the screenplay with 2023 Oscar hopeful Jerzy Skolimowski and his EO producer Ewa Piaskowska. Convicted rapist Polanski’s star has fallen further in recent years amid fresh claims of sexual assault, which he has denied. Venice’s decision to invite An Officer And A Spy in 2019 prompted controversy at the time and a clash within the jury, although the film received a standing ovation at its public world premiere. Will this new film get a festival invitation? Polanski was last in Cannes in 2013 with Venus In Fur, having previously won the Palme d’Or in 2002 for The Pianist. His detractors are fiercer in France, however, so an invitation would likely result in demonstrations on the Croisette. Starring in this one are Mickey Rourke, Fanny Ardant, Joaquim de Almeida, John Cleese, Oliver Masucci and Alexander Petrov.
Rising Italian director Annarita Zambrano’s second feature is set in the final years of Italy’s decadent 1980s, on the eve of the so-called “clean hands” investigations of the early 1990s which would bring down an entire corrupt political class. The social satire revolves around a group of wayward rich kids who are sent to an institutional to correct their behaviour, where they subvert the program but also form strong bonds. Rossosperanza is Zambrano’s second feature after 2017 Un Certain Regard title After The War about an Italian left-wing activist living in exile in France, whose life is turned upside down after he is accused of being involved in the murder of a prominent judge.
Justin Anderson makes his directorial feature debut on this adaptation of Deborah Levy’s Man Booker Prize-nominated book. The dark comedy, which stars Christopher Abbott, Mackenzie Davis and Ariane Labed, follows a troubled married couple and their teenage daughter whose vacation is thrown into disarray when they find a naked stranger floating in the pool of their villa.
Saoirse Ronan stars in Steve McQueen’s next film from Apple about Londoners dealing with the aerial bombing of the UK capital during World War II. The blue-chip project is written, directed and produced by McQueen. It was developed and packaged by New Regency under McQueen’s first-look deal. Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner produce with McQueen’s Lammas Park and New Regency’s Arnon Milchan, Yariv Milchan and Michael Schaefer with Anita Overland and Adam Somner. Newcomer Elliott Heffernan, Harris Dickenson, Erin Kellyman, Stephen Graham, singer-songwriter Paul Weller and Kathy Burke are also part of the cast.
Alice Rohrwacher’s Tuscany-set drama explores the world of archaeological looting. Josh O’Connor plays a British archaeologist who gets caught up in an operation to steal Etruscan artefacts. He is joined in the cast by Isabella Rossellini, as a former opera singer, Alba Rohrwacher as a trafficker and Vincenzo Nemolato, as a local “grave robber” who makes a living digging up the treasures. Rohrwacher won best screenplay at Cannes in 2018 for her feature Happy As Lazzaro and was back at the festival in 2022 with the documentary Futura, a joint work with Pietro Marcello and Francesco Munzi. This is her first solo feature in five years.
Last Shadow At First Light
Filmed in Singapore and Japan, this supernatural arthouse drama from Singaporean director Nicole Midori Woodford is now in post-production and being lined up for festivals. Tsutsui Mariko (Harmonium) and Nagase Masatoshi lead the cast of the film, produced by Singapore’s Jeremy Chua, Japan’s Shozo Ichiyama, whose credits include several Jia Zhangke films, and Slovenia’s Bostjan Virc.
Next Goal Wins
Oscar-winning director Taika Waititi directs this soccer comedy starring Michael Fassbender, Elisabeth Moss, Will Arnett and Rhys Darby. The project, which Fox Searchlight is pegging for a September 22, 2023, release date, is co-written by Waititi and Iain Morris (The Inbetweeners). It follows the infamously terrible American Samoa soccer team, most known for a 2001 match they lost 31-0. Given that Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit kickstarted it’s Oscar journey after a world premiere at TIFF, it wouldn’t be surprising if a similar path was carved out for this project. The movie began filming way back in 2019 but had to undergo reshoots after the excision of Armie Hammer from the project.
David Volach directs and stars in this semi-autobiographical portrait of an Israeli director grappling with creative block as he tries to bring his second feature to fruition. What was supposed to be a personal and heart-warming script about his journey from an ultra-orthodox upbringing in Jerusalem to a secular life in Tel Aviv turns into an obsessive manifesto containing thousands of pages and hundreds of hours of voice recordings dealing with Jewish identity, its problems, and possible solutions. The drama is Volach’s first feature after well-received shorts including My Father My Lord which won the Jury Award at Tribeca.
Mexican filmmaker Michel Franco wrapped production on his next film back in March. No plot details for the New York-set pic have been released, but Jessica Chastain and Peter Sarsgaard are set for leading roles. Also starring are Merritt Wever (Birdman), Josh Charles (Dead Poets Society), and Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade). Franco is a regular on the festival circuit. He picked up the Venice Silver Lion in 2020 with the political thriller New Order, and has debuted four films in Cannes, winning three prizes.
Coppola’s ambitious, big-budget return will chart the story of an architect who wants to rebuild New York City as a utopia following a devastating disaster. The all-star cast includes Adam Driver, Aubrey Plaza, Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Jason Schwartzman, Shia LaBeouf, Laurence Fishburne, Talia Shire and Forest Whitaker. We hear this anticipated feature is long-shot for 2023 with filming due to continue until March. Coppola has debuted movies with only six months of post but the scale of this one makes 2024 more likely. Let’s call this a wildcard.
The New Boy
The latest from Samson & Delilah and Sweet Country director Warwick Thornton depicts the story of a nine-year-old Aboriginal orphan boy who arrives in the dead of night at a remote monastery run by a renegade nun. Currently in post-production, the Australian feature’s cast includes Cate Blanchett and Wayne Blair.
Abderrahmane Sissako’s drama has been a regular fixture on ‘anticipated movie’ lists. The project finally began filming at the end of 2022 and we hear it could well be ready for 2023. In the romance-drama, after saying “no” on her wedding day, Joice (played by Girlhood actress Nina Melo) leaves the Ivory Coast to start a new life in Guangzhou, China. Distribution partners include Gaumont and Cohen Media Group. Nine years ago, Sissako wowed festival crowds with Oscar nominee Timbuktu.
Anatomy Of A Fall
Toni Erdmann star Sandra Hüller plays a German writer charged with murdering her French husband after he falls to his death in the French Alps. Her fate rests of the testimony of their visually impaired young son. Anatomy Of A Fall is the fourth feature from French director Justine Triet after 2019 Cannes d’Or contender Sibyl, romantic comedy In Bed With Victoria and 2013 debut Age Of Panic. Hüller had a supporting role in Sibyl.
Israeli director Maya Kenig’s debut feature puts a contemporary spin on the age-old profession of the wet nurse. New single mother and struggling musician Tala takes a job at a secret mother’s milk dairy providing breast milk for wealthy clients who cannot or do not want to breastfeed. The work is well-paid but comes with a strict set of stipulations that are a challenge for the free-spirited young woman. Former Berlinale Talent participant Kenig’s credits include well-travelled shorts Shade of the Palm Tree (2018), The Bentwich Syndrome (2015) and Off-White Lies (2011). Milk is produced by Maya Fischer, Gal Greenspan and Roi Kurland at Green Productions, the team behind festival hits Scaffolding and Israeli 2022/23 Oscar submission Cinema Sabaya.
Charlie Chaplin, A Man Of The World
Carmen Chaplin, the screen icon’s grand-daughter, will plumb Chaplin’s Romani roots and heritage. Marking the first time that the Chaplin family is involved at a deep creative and industrial level in a movie about the comedy great, the film will “radically reinterpret Chaplin’s oeuvre from a Romani perspective and examines the persecution of gypsies through his lens.” The feature doc is being produced out of Spain.