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Cannes Wish List: 20 Films We Hope to See at the 2015 Festival

Cannes Wish List: 20 Films We Hope to See at the 2015 Festival

Indiewire’s annual Cannes wish
list isn’t so much about officially predicting the lineup, but rather a survey of films we hope are finished in time and considered good enough to make the cut. We’re not including films that have zero chances of being ready in time — or, for that matter, the one film we officially know will be there: “Mad Max: Fury Road” (which is screening out of competition).

the candidates are celebrated filmmakers such as Jacques Audiard, Woody Allen, Arnaud Desplechin, Cary Fukunaga, Todd Haynes, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Naomi Kawase, Yorgos Lanthimos, Terrence Malick, Jeff Nichols, Gaspard Noé, Paolo Sorrentino, Joachim Trier, Gus Van Sant and Apichatpong Weerasethaul, among many others.

Films that don’t get a spot in Cannes (and there will definitely be a
few) will immediately become hot topics for a fall festival slot in Venice
and/or Toronto. But that’s then; this is now. Let the guessing game begin.

“The Assassin”
Director: Hou Hsiao-hsien
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes: So that this’ll be the last time we put it on this list, for one. For the past three years we’ve had our fingers crossed for Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien’s long-awaited follow-up to his remarkable 2007 film “Flight of the Read Balloon,” and every year we’ve been disappointed. In development since the 1980’s (and in production since 2010), the Tang Dynasty-set epic is apparently close to being ready and Cannes makes a lot of sense given the filmmaker’s history with the festival. But we’ve learned our lesson assuming anything when it comes to “The Assassin.”

Beasts of No Nation
Director: Cary Fukunaga
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes: Cary Fukunaga is following up his acclaimed stint directing the first season of “True Detective” with this adaptation of Uzodinma Iweala’s novel “Beasts of No Nation.” Following a young boy (newcomer Abraham Attah) forced to join a unit of mercenary fighters after civil war tears his family apart and militants kill his father, the film could very well be one of the big American entries in Cannes competition. That would certainly be fine with us, given Fukunaga’s recent track record and the fact that Idris Elba has a major role.

A Bigger Splash
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes: The last time director Luca Guadagnino teamed up with actress Tilda Swinton, we got the incredible “I Am Love.” Six years later, we simply cannot wait to see how their collaborative follow-up, “A Bigger Splash,” turns out. Ralph Fiennes, Matthias Schoenaerts and “Fifty Shades of Grey” breakout Dakota Johnson join in this time around for an English-language drama about an American couple (Schoenaerts and Swinton) on vacation in Italy who run into trouble when Swinton’s character invites a former lover (Fiennes) and his teenage daughter (Johnson) to visit. The cast makes for a pretty fascinating love quadrangle, and with Guadagnino guiding it we can’t imagine being proven wrong.

Director: Todd Haynes
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes: One of our most anticipated films of the year, Todd Haynes’ first theatrical film since 2007’s “I’m Not There” reunites him with one of that film’s most memorable Bob Dylans, Cate Blanchett. The 1950s-set Patricia Highsmith adaptation finds Blanchett playing a wealthy woman who seduces Rooney Mara, a department store clerk that dreams of a better life. Kyle Chandler and Sarah Paulson co-star (as if you needed more), and the film is reportedly done. Haynes has been to Cannes before. It would also give the festival’s red carpet a dose of A-list celebrity that the rest of this year’s potential crop doesn’t seem so heavy on. We don’t care about that, though. We just want to see what Haynes can do with this dreamy cast and juicy source material.

READ MORE: ‘Knight of Cups’ Plays Berlin: Terrence Malick Follows Christian Bale to Hollywood

“The Early Years”
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes: Two years after winning an Oscar for his Italian language “The Great Beauty,” Paolo Sorrentino switches back to English for “The Early Years.” And given every single one of the director’s films has played at the festival (including his previous English language attempt — the not-so-well-received Sean Penn vehicle “This Must Be The Place”), it seems like a near certainly “The Early Years” will do the same. And if/when it does, it’ll offer us the likes of Michael Caine, Rachel Weisz, Harvey Keitel, Paul Dano and Jane Fonda in a story of old friends on vacation at a hotel in the Alps. Certainly five people we’d like to spend a vacation with.

Director: Jacques Audiard
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes: The story of a Sri Lankan Tamil warrior who flees to France and ends up working as a caretaker outside Paris, “Erran” is Jacques Audiard’s follow-up to “Rust and Bone” and potentially his third straight film to play in Cannes’ official competition (after “Bone” and “A Prophet”) — if it’s done in time (it just started production last October). Audiard notably co-wrote the screenplay with Thomas Bidegain (“A Prophet”) and Noé Debré (“Les gamins”). Sundance Selects has already picked it up for a U.S. release. 

“Irrational Man”
Director: Woody Allen
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes: Woody Allen hasn’t hit the Croisette since “Midnight in Paris” opened the festival in 2011. Will “Irrational Man” change that? Reuniting Allen with his “Magic in the Moonlight” co-lead Emma Stone, “Irrational Man” also teams them both up with Joaquin Phoenix — which certainly makes this one more of a curiosity than a lot of Allen films. And he’s seemingly due for another standout given his tendency to make every other film worth watching these days.

“The Last Face”
Director: Sean Penn
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes: With a Cannes Best Actor prize and the distinction of once being the festival’s Jury President, it sure makes sense for Sean Penn to bring his first directorial effort since 2007’s “Into The Wild” to the Croisette. Starring Charlize Theron, Javier Bardem and recent Palme d’Or winner Adèle Exarchopoulos, the film follows the director of an international aid agency in Africa (Theron), who meets a relief aid doctor (Bardem) amidst a political/social revolution. Our only major concern is that Theron and Penn are reportedly engaged, and Penn’s previous collaborations with fiancées didn’t always go over well (cough, “Shanghai Surprise,” cough).

The Lobster
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes: “‘The Lobster’ is set in a dystopian near future where lonely people are obliged to find a matching mate within a 45-day period in a hotel. If they fail, they are transformed into animals and sent off into the woods.” Has a synopsis ever sold you more? What about if you take into consideration that it’s for a film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (“Dogtooth”) that stars Colin Farell, Rachel Weisz, Léa Seydoux (potentially facing off in competition against her “Blue Is The Warmest Color” co-star Adèle Exarchopoulos if both this and “The Last Face” make the cut), Ben Whishaw, Olivia Colman and John C. Reilly? Seemingly all set for a Cannes debut, “The Lobster” will surely be high atop the anticipation list for the festival.

Louder Than Bombs
Director: Joachim Trier
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes: Joachim Trier’s “Oslo, August 31st” was a huge hit at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, and the Norweigian filmmaker could very well be trying to continue that streak this year with his English language follow up, “Louder Than Bombs.” Following a family dealing with a major loss and the memories it leaves, Trier has assembled a cast with considerable potential in Jesse Eisenberg, Isabelle Huppert, David Strathairn, Gabriel Bryne and Amy Ryan. Seems like a good shot at Trier’s first film to make the festival’s official competition to us.

Director: Gasper Noé
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes: A new Gaspar Noé film is always a major event, and his “Enter The Void” follow-up “Love” should be no different. The controversial filmmaker’s fourth feature is said to be a sexual melodrama about a boy and two girls which “celebrates sex in a joyous way.” According to Noé, the film will “give men a hard-on and make women cry,” so get ready to enter that void, Cannes-goers. Check out the film’s teaser poster here.

“Love in Khon Kaen”
Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes: The Thai filmmaker who often goes by “Joe” has his feature-length follow up to Palme d’Or-winning “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” on tap for 2015 (depending on whether you count 2012’s 61-minute “Mekong Hotel” as a feature). Entitled “Love in Khon Kaen,” the film depicts a lonely middle-aged housewife taking care of a soldier with sleeping sickness who “falls into a hallucination that triggers strange dreams, phantoms and romance.” Sounds as mystifying as “Uncle Boonmee,” and we can’t imagine that if it’s ready Cannes won’t invite Joe back.

Director: Justin Kurzel
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes: A relative newcomer as far as this list is concerned, Australian filmmaker Justin Kurzel only has one released film to his credit — 2011’s “The Snowtown Murders,” which just so happened to screen at Cannes (and won the Critics Week prize, no less). The festival like their alumni, especially when they come back with folks like Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard in tow, which is the case with Kurzel’s Weinstein Company-backed Shakespeare adaptation “Macbeth.” Starring Fassbender as Macbeth and Cotillard as Lady Macbeth, the film will easily be one of the festival’s most anticipated if it ends up there (which we’re thinking it will).

Midnight Special
Director: Jeff Nichols
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes Jeff Nichols has been a regular fixture at Cannes lately, with both “Take Shelter” and “Mud” heading to the Croisette. That bodes well for his highly anticipated latest, which Nichols has described as a “sci-fi chase film.” “However absurd that sounds,” he said recently, “it’s more grounded than ‘Mud.’ I really wanted to make a 1980’s John Carpenter film like ‘Starman.'” The film’s cast includes Michael Shannon, Kristen Dunst, Adam Driver and Joel Edgerton. However, Warner Brothers has already slated it for a November release. Does that make Venice or Toronto a safer bet? We hope not, because we’d like to see Nichols’ sci-fi chase sooner rather than later.

“Sea of Trees”
Director: Gus Van Sant
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes: Speaking of Jeff Nichols’ “Mud,” its leading man Matthew McConaughey could be going head-to-head with his former director in Gus Van Sant’s very promising “Sea of Trees.” Following an American man (McConaughey) who goes to Japan’s “Suicide Forest” with the intention to kill himself only to meet a Japanese man (Ken Watanabe) there for the same reason. From a Black List script by Chris Sparling (“Buried”), “Sea of Trees” could very well return Gus Van Sant to the Official Competition for the first time since 2007’s “Paranoid Park.”

“Sunset Song”
Director: Terence Davies
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes: British director Terence Davis is following up his acclaimed 2011 film “The Deep Blue Sea” with this adaptation of Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s novel about the daughter of a Scottish farmer coming of age in the early 1900’s. Starring Agyness Deyn and Peter Mullan, if it’s even close to as a good as “The Deep Blue Sea” (or any of Davies’ films for that matter), it could be a highlight of Cannes — if it heads there, at least. His 2008 documentary “Of Time and the City” premiered at the festival, but his last two narratives — “Deep Blue Sea” and “The House of Mirth” — headed to Toronto and Locarno, respectively.

“Sweet Red Bean Paste”
Director: Naomi Kawase
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes: We fully realize that this is the only film on this list directed by a woman. The reasoning for that is simply the sad truth that Naomi Kawase remains the only obvious choice for a female-directed film to hit Cannes’ Official Competition. We still hope the festival surprises us with a few others, but for now our excitement in that regard rests on Japanese director Kawase and her follow up to “Still The Water,” “Sweet Red Bean Paste.” Little is known about the film other than it is adapted from a novel by Durian Sukegawa, but given Kawase’s track record, we’re excited for it anyway.

The Tale of Tales
Director: Matteo Garrone
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes: Yet another example of a foreign language filmmaker making an English language project this year (“A Bigger Splash,” “Louder Than Bombs,” “The Lobster” and “The Early Years” are all previously mentioned examples of this). Italy’s “Gomorrah” director Matteo Garrone is looking to return to Cannes with “The Tale of Tales,” a loose adaptation of Italian poet Giambattista Basile’s Pentamerone’s fairy tales. Assembling a cast including Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly, Vincent Cassel and Toby Jones, the film’s May 14th Italian release date screams for Cannes premiere, so you can be fairly sure you’ll get to see what Garrone can do with the English language during the festival.

“Three Memories of Childhood”
Director: Arnaud Desplechin
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes: Two years after his own English language foray “Jimmy P.” largely disappointed at the festival, Arnaud Desplechin is back with his French language “Three Memories of Childhood.” Starring Mathieu Amalric, Lou Roy-Lecollinet and Quentin Dolmaire, it too has a release date that is very telling: May 20th in France. So it’s basically a lock, and here’s to “Memories” being more “A Christmas Tale” than “Jimmy P.”

Director: Terrence Malick
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes: When don’t we wish a Terrence Malick film heads to Cannes? He’s more or less had a film on every edition of this list, often with our hopes fairly minimal. But given that “Knight of Cups” finally premiered a few months ago in Berlin, followed by news that the sister film formerly known as “Lawless” was now titled “Weightless,” it seems like 2015 really could have a double dose of Malick on its festival circuit. And what a starry affair it could be: Assuming they aren’t edited out of the film, Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Natalie Portman, Rooney Mara, Holly Hunter and Benicio Del Toro are the octet of Oscar nominees all in the cast of “Weightless,” Malick’s take on obsession and betrayal set against the music scene in Austin. Maybe it’s a bit greedy to wish for two Terrence Malick films in less than six months, but we’re going to put it out there anyway.

READ MORE: Christian Bale and Natalie Portman on Making ‘Knight of Cups’ With Terrence Malick

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