The Cannes Film Festival announced its 76th competition lineup on Thursday, unveiling a slate featuring old masters and rising stars—along with a few sure-to-be-controversial curiosities. This year’s festival, which kicks off on May 16, will debut movies about Nazis falling in love, about archeologists working on the fringes of their profession (there’s also an Indiana Jones movie), about a curious relationship between an actress and the woman she’s playing. It all sounds très Cannes, which is what one expects from the venerable, sometimes vexing festival. Let’s take a look at some potential highlights in the lineup. 

Club Zero

Writer-director Jessica Hausner’s last Cannes film, 2019’s sinister sci-fi Little Joe, won best actress at the festival (for Emily Beacham), something of a surprise win that immediately installed Hausner as a new Cannes go-to filmmaker. Her latest is billed as boarding-school thriller about disordered eating, starring Mia Wasikowska, an actor who is very selective in her work. Which gives us hope that Hausner’s locked into something as weird and dangerous and intriguing as Little Joe proved to be. With a subject matter like that, it ought to at least get people talking.

The Zone of Interest

Audiences will no doubt have lots to say about Jonathan Glazer’s new film, which is based on the Martin Amis novel about a Nazi officer falling in love with his commander’s wife—at Auschwitz. Whether or not people are really in the mood this year (or ever) to watch a concentration-camp romance between Nazis, the prospect of a new Glazer film is nevertheless very exciting. He’s the mastermind behind stylish gangster thriller Sexy Beast, cult-favorite grief drama Birth, and the rapturously received sci-fi Under the Skin. He hasn’t made a movie in 10 years, so his fourth feature will be one of the most hotly anticipated films in competition. 

Asteroid City

Another Cannes, another Wes Anderson act of whimsy. Anderson was at the festival in 2021 with The French Dispatch, a patchwork film that went over well enough at Cannes before receiving a chilly reception in the States later that year. This new film, about student-astronomer convention interrupted by aliens (we think), seems to be a bit more accessible than an homage to old-school New Yorker articles. And, as ever with Anderson, what a cast: Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Carell, Tilda Swinton, Jeffrey Wright, and many, many more. If nothing else, we’ll get some good press-call and red-carpet photos out of Asteroid City, which counts for a lot at Cannes.


Hiokazu Kore-eda is about as reliable a Cannes filmmaker as there is these days. He had a lovely feature, Broker, at the festival last year, and won the Palme d’Or for the sweet, albeit heartbreaking, Shoplifters in 2018. We don’t know anything about the plot of Monster, but we’d guess the film is a mixture of closely realized drama and gentle humor, as that’s what Kore-eda tends to produce. Shoplifters standout Sakura Ando is in the cast, and the film boasts a score from the recently late, beloved composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, which will bring extra attention to the film. 

La Chimera

Fresh off a live-action short Oscar nomination, Italian director Alice Rohrwacher will have her first feature at the festival since 2018’s exquisite Happy as Lazzaro. This one is about archeologists working in Italy who get involved in the black-market trading of antiquities. It features an exciting international cast, including Josh O’Connor (Prince Charles on The Crown) and Isabella Rossellini as a retired opera singer. Rohrwacher’s films are rarely straightforward, so we don’t expect this to be a mass-market grave-robbing thriller. But who knows! She could surprise us, as she has before.

May December

American auteur Todd Haynes was last at the festival with a documentary about the Velvet Underground, but now he’s back to fiction. His latest is about a tabloid romance between an older woman (Julianne Moore) and a younger man (Riverdale’s Charles Melton) that, twenty years later, becomes the subject of a film. The star of that movie, played by Natalie Portman, comes to town to research the couple, and then . . . Well, we’re assuming complications of some kind ensue. A new Haynes film is a major event at Cannes, even if his last scripted Cannes feature, 2017’s Wonderstruck, failed to catch heat. With a log line like May December has, who could resist?

Elsewhere . . . 

In addition to the already announced out-of-competition films like Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, and Euphoria creator Sam Levinson’s already scandal-ridden HBO series The Idol, Cannes announced the premiere of a documentary from Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen: Occupied City, said to be about his adopted city of Amsterdam. 

There are some intriguing titles premiering in the Un Certain Regard sidebar category, usually reserved for newer filmmakers. Cate Blanchett has a movie called The New Boy, a period-piece from director Warwick Thornton about an Aboriginal boy in 1940s Australia who takes refuge with a nun played by Blanchett. And the award for grabbiest title of the festival goes to How to Have Sex, a first feature from British cinematographer and director Molly Manning Walker. The film is billed as being about “a group of teenage girls on a rite of passage clubbing holiday, as they navigate early sexual encounters,” which could be a little Spring Breakers or something else entirely. Audiences will no doubt queue up in droves to find out.

We’ll have full coverage of the festival beginning on May 16 through the end of the festival. Stay tuned! The full competition lineup is below.


Club Zero, Jessica Hausner

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