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Cannes Wish List: 50 Films That Have a Serious Shot at the 2017 Festival Lineup

Plus, the big name titles that most likely won't bow on the Croisette.

“In the Fade”
Director: Fatih Akin
Cast: Diane Kruger, Denis Moschitto, Numan Acar, Ulrich Tukur
WHY IT MIGHT GET IN: German-Turkish director Fatih Akin had a pretty good show for his first film in competition at Cannes, 2007’s “The Edge of Heaven”: He picked up a Palme d’Or nomination as well as a win for best screenplay. Filmed with the German-Turkish community in Hamburg, “In the Fade” is a modern-day revenge thriller set during the immediate aftermath of an explosion. With a script co-written by Akin and German writer/director Hark Bohm, the film is a German-French co-production, giving it an added appeal to French cinephiles. -JD

“Ishmael’s Ghosts”
Director: Arnaud Desplechin
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Louis Garrel, Mathieu Amalric
WHY IT MIGHT GET IN: It’s been 13 years since one of Arnaud Desplechin’s loquaciously hyper-neurotic dramas didn’t premiere at Cannes, and so — barring an unimaginable post-production disaster — it’s a virtual certainty that “Ishmael’s Ghosts” will debut on the Croisette. As it stands, the film seems even more geared towards the festival setting than most of its work, casting Mathieu Amalric (Desplechin’s usual leading man) as a director whose personal and professional lives are turned upside down when an old flame bursts back into his life just as he’s about to start shooting a new feature. With a cast that’s rounded out by high-profile festival mainstays like Marion Cotillard, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Louis Garrel, it’s pretty much a given “Ishmael’s Ghosts” will be somewhere at Cannes. The question — and it’s a big one — is whether or not it will see Desplechin returning to the Competition after his widely celebrated “My Golden Days” was relegated to Director’s Fortnight in 2015. -DE

"It Comes At Night"

“It Comes At Night”

“It Comes at Night”
Director: Trey Shults
Cast: Riley Keogh, Joel Egerton, Carmen Ejogo, Christopher Abbott
WHY IT MIGHT GET IN: Trey Shults’ SXSW-winning debut “Krisha” was one of the great discoveries of last year, a tense, minimalist story of family drama set within the confines of the director’s own home. With his followup, produced by “Krisha” distributor A24, Shults turns from the psychological dread of his previous effort into genuine horror territory. The unsettling story finds a man locked away from a dangerous world with his family, only to find that their domestic stability is threatened by the arrival of another clan seeking refuge. The viscerally-unsettling trailer indicates a rich atmosphere filled with ominous dread, as well as a more polished version of the claustrophobic feel that Shults conveyed so well with his debut. Plus, it finds him working with professional actors at the top of their games. “Krisha” made its European premiered in Cannes’ Critics Week sidebar, and it’s likely that “It Comes at Night” has a strong chance of surfacing somewhere along the Croisette as well. -EK

Director: Bruno Dumont
Cast: TBA
WHY IT MIGHT GET IN: Who knew Joan of Arc was a story so ripe for musical adaptation? Though David Byrne’s stage musical about the French heroine recently opened to mixed reviews in New York, this contemporary take on Joan’s early childhood from French provocateur Dumont may fare better. Based on a play by Charles Peguy and carrying an edgy score by experimental French composer Igorrr (known for mixing death metal with classical), it follows Joan from age 8 to 12, when she first started having visions. Dumont has had three films in competition at Cannes, two of which, “Flanders” (2006) and “Humanité” (1999), picked up the Grand Prix. More recently, his darkly comedic mini-series, “Li’l Quinquin,” played the Director’s Fortnight section in 2014, which might be a good fit for “Jeannette.” -JD

“The Killing of a Sacred Deer”
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Cast: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman
WHY IT MIGHT GET IN: Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos was a major discovery at Cannes years ago after his eerie dystopian family thriller “Dogtooth” broke out of Un Certain Regard; he returned two years ago with another dystopian tragicomedy, this one on a much greater scale — “The Lobster,” a wonderful showcase for the filmmaker’s vision in addition to his ability to work with major name actors, in this case Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz (both of whom gave their best performances in years). The movie even landed Lanthimos an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay. For “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” Lanthimos reteams with Farrell, who plays a surgeon dealing with the mysteriously sinister intentions of a teen he takes under his wing. If it’s finished in time — and this one’s a bit of a question mark — the movie would be a natural fit for Cannes competition, where it’s safe to say Lanthimos has found his place. -EK

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

“King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”

Warner Bros.

“King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”
Director: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen
WHY IT MIGHT GET IN: Guy Ritchie’s revisionist take on the King Arthur legend will have already opened in the U.S. by the time Cannes begins May 17, which is the date Warner Bros. plans to release the prospective blockbuster in France. Coincidence or not? The film has gone through multiple release date changes and many have been eyeing to see if the recent shuffle in May had anything to do with getting Ritchie to Cannes. Warner Brothers loves to use the festival to position its summer blockbusters (“Mad Max: Fury Road” being one strong example), so you can’t count out this one just yet. -ZS

Director: Deniz Gamze Erguven
Cast: Daniel CraigHalle BerryRick Ravanello
WHY IT MIGHT GET IN: This drama, set just before the Rodney King trial in 1992, is a major step up for Erguven, whose “Mustang” broke out at Director’s Fortnight in 2015, eventually earning her an Oscar nod in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Although the film is the Turkish director’s sophomore offering, she’s been working on it since 2011, when she took it to Cannes’ L’Atelier for further development, making it one hell of a homegrown project for the festival. (Fun fact: at L’Atelier, Erguven met fellow filmmaker Alice Winocour, with whom she co-wrote “Mustang.”) -KE

“Late Spring”
Director: Michelangelo Frammartino
Cast: TBA
WHY IT MIGHT GET IN: The recent spate of live-action reworking of Disney animated classics has led to box office rewards, but leave it to a contender for the Cannes lineup to deconstruct one of their iconic stories in an existential way. Early reports of Frammartino’s latest indicate that it’s a reimagining of Pinocchio. The director’s last feature “Le Quattro Volte” (which premiered in Directors’ Fortnight) found him telling the story of an elderly man facing the twilight of life, but it was primarily an existential journey that cast a much wider net. To do the same with the beloved literary character (with a sprinkling of “Big Fish”-style flashbacks, if initial descriptions hint are accurate) would be a welcome and exciting curveball. -SG

“Lean on Pete”

“Lean on Pete”
Director: Andrew Haigh
Cast: Travis Fimmel, Chloë Sevigny, Thomas Mann, Steve Buscemi
WHY IT MIGHT GET IN: “Weekend” was a SXSW breakout in 2011, “45 Years” was a Berlin standout in 2015, and “Looking: The Movie” aired on HBO last year, cementing the series it wrapped up as one of the most significant scripted LGBT shows since “Queer as Folk.” In other words, writer-director Andrew Haigh is on the rise, the young-ish filmmaker emerging as a major force in new British cinema, and “Lean on Pete” is poised to be the moment when Cannes decides to claim him as their own. Adapted from Willy Vlautin’s novel of the same name, “Lean on Pete” tells the story of a young, lonely boy who hits the road in search of his long-lost aunt; naturally, Lean on Pete is the name of the racehorse he rides on his journey to find her. Flush with a killer cast (and already picked up by heavyhitters A24 and Artificial Eye), this could be the festival’s best chance to mint a new master. -DE

“Madame Hyde”
Director: Serge Bozon
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Romain Duris
WHY IT MIGHT GET IN: In a year where reimaginations of literary classics has the potential to be a serious Cannes theme, Serge Bozon is ready to throw his hat in the ring with a female-driven spin on the Jekyll and Hyde tale. Bozon showed his ability to straddle genres with his police comedy “Tip Top,” a Cannes 2013 title. Reworking a classic literary premise will undoubtedly give him leeway to take the dueling-personalities story in a number of directions. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have one of the most beloved actresses alive at the film’s center. If there’s one thing Cannes would have a harder time resisting than an Isabelle Huppert-led Bozon title, it’s a Bozon title with two Huppert performances in one. -SG

“Mary Shelley”
Director: Haifaa al-Mansour
Cast: Elle FanningMaisie WilliamsDouglas Booth
WHY IT MIGHT GET IN: The lauded Saudi Arabian filmmaker (“Wadjda” is making a big jump into slightly more mainstream fare with this romantic drama that chronicles the ill-fated love affair between Percy Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin that eventually led to the budding writer to pen her “Frankenstein.” Al-Mansour’s features haven’t screened at Cannes yet, but she did serve on the Un Certain Regard jury back in 2015, so the festival clearly has its their eyes on her. -KE

“Mektoub is Mektoub”
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
Cast: N/A
WHY IT MIGHT GET IN: Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Blue is the Warmest Color” was the major darling of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, winning the Palme d’Or on a unanimous vote by the jury. News broke last fall he was quietly filming his follow-up in Sète, France, which means a Cannes debut would be likely if post-production is finished in time. Much of the film is shrouded in secrecy, including its cast, but the story reportedly follows a screenwriter whose personal and professional lives intermingle during a visit to his hometown on the Mediterranean. The success of “Blue” gives Kechiche all the power he needs to book a return trip to the Croisette. -ZS




Director: Bong Joon-ho
Cast: Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Lily Collins, Paul Dano
WHY IT MIGHT GET IN: Bong Joon-ho has been revered since 2003’s “Memories of Murder,” a true-crime serial killer saga that is every bit the equal of David Fincher’s “Zodiac,” and his standing on the world stage has only been solidified by the films he’s made since. The rare director who has consistently managed to parlay visceral genre fare into the sort of probing, provocative social commentary that appeals to high and low sensibilities alike (he made a monster movie that played at NYFF, and a dystopian class critique that dazzled “Die Hard” zealots), Bong’s gift for juggling tones has broadened his appeal to international audiences, and that in turn has attracted adventurous movie stars like Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal. A hugely expensive “E.T.” riff about a young Korean girl who tries to protect a giant CG animal from evil corporate goons, “Okja” couldn’t be further removed from the austerity of the typical Cannes selection, but Bong has proved that he can thread the needle between art and spectacle, and not even the stuffiest of industry types would bat an eye if he were finally promoted to the Competition. Netflix is scheduled to unleash the film on June 28, which makes Cannes the ideal platform — if the festival can get over its alleged resistance to Netflix. -DE

“Racer and the Jailbird”
Director: Michaël R. Roskam
Cast: Matthias Schoenaerts, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Kerem Can
WHY IT MIGHT GET IN: Belgian Roskam teams up once again with his countryman Matthias Schoenaerts, who starred in his splashy feature debut, “Bullhead,” which received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language film in 2012. Roskam’s second feature, “The Drop,” starring Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace and based on a novel by Dennis Lehane, had the bittersweet distinction of being James Gandolfini’s final role. Roskam’s hotly anticipated third feature, a noirish romantic thriller set against the backdrop of crime gangs in Brussels, has already been bought by distribution newcomer Neon sight unseen. It has the added benefit of starring Cannes favorite Adèle Exarchopoulos, beguiling star of “Blue is the Warmest Color,” which famously shared its Palme d’Or win in 2013 with its two lead actresses. -JD

“A Radiance”
Director: Naomi Kawase
Cast: Masatoshi NagaseNoémie NakaiTatsuya Fuji
WHY IT MIGHT GET IN: The Japanese director is a familiar face on the Croisette, as the festival routinely programs her films, and she’s picked up such accolades as the Camera d’Or and the Grand Prix along the way. A member of the main competition jury back in 2013, she also served as President of the Jury for the Cinéfondation and short films section just last year. With a new film under her belt set to come out later this year, a Cannes slot for it seems like a real lock. This one follows the tender relationship between a woman who writes film voiceovers for the visually impaired and an aging photographer slowly going blind. It’s just the sort of emotional hook that makes Kawase’s films stand out. -KE

Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Cast: Louis Garrel, Berenice Bejo, Stacy Martin
WHY IT MIGHT GET IN: There are reasons to be skeptical about’ “The Artist” director Hazanavicius tackling a period piece about the early career of Jean-Luc Godard, specifically the story of his courtship with 17-year-old Anne Wiazemsky, whom he later married. (The film is based on her memoir.) “The Search,” Hazanavicius’ follow-up to “The Artist,” was a dud at Cannes in 2014 — and the idea of any actor playing Godard while the reclusive filmmaker is still very much alive and working has struck many cinephiles as blasphemous. However, footage from the trailer and early screening reports suggest that Garrel’s performance as Godard is so convincing that it may win a lot of people over. If the movie’s a solid crowdpleaser that doesn’t completely denigrate the French New Wave legend’s legacy, it might be an ideal selection for the festival’s flashy opening night slot. -EK

“A Season in France”
Director: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Cast: Sandrine Bonnaire, Eriq Ebouaney, Bibi Tanga
WHY IT MIGHT GET IN: Refugee dramas and atypical international love stories both find their way onto the Cannes lineup every year, but rarely do those two kinds of film overlap in the way that Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s upcoming project looks to do. The story follows a teacher who escapes with his family to Europe from violence in the Central African Republic, falling in love with a French woman upon his arrival. When complications arise after they begin a life together, their story becomes one that immigrants face across the globe. Haroun’s “Grigris” nabbed a 2013 competition slot — a repeat seems likely for one of Chad’s preeminent filmmakers. -SG

Director: Wim Wenders
Cast: Alicia Vikander, James McAvoy, Charlotte Rampling
WHY IT MIGHT GET IN: Legendary German director Wenders has had more success in the documentary space lately — both “Pina” and “The Salt of the Earth” landed him Oscar nominations — while his last narrative effort, “Every Thing Will Be Fine,” was a dud at the Berlin International Film Festival. This latest drama, the story of an Englishman captured by jihadist fighters and a woman exploring the ocean floor, skipped the February Berlin slot — and would make sense at Cannes if it’s strong enough. It’s been years since Wenders made a great narrative feature, but both McAvoy and Vikander have been churning out fine work lately, and this one may very well an ideal opportunity for a great filmmaker to return to form. -EK

“Sollers Point”
Director: Matt Porterfield
Cast: McCaul Lombardi, Jim Belushi, Imani Hakim
WHY IT MIGHT GET IN: While director Matt Porterfield’s last feature “I Use to Be Darker” premiered in the NEXT category at Sundance 2013, there’s reason believe his fourth feature “Sollers Point” – a French co-production, which received funding from Creative Capital in the U.S. and the CNC World Cinema Fund – might be the rare American indie to reach Cannes (it would be a reasonable fit for Directors’ Fortnight or Critics Week, if not the Official Selection). Set in Baltimore (like all of Porterfield’s films), “Sollers Point” is about a drug dealer (McCaul Lombardi from “American Honey” and “Patti Cake$”) under house arrest at the home of his father (Jim Belushi), while trying to re-enter society in a community scarred by unemployment, neglect and segregation. Porterfield’s understated, low budget films – which often feature first-time actors – haven’t been huge festival splashes, but he has a devoted critical following and his work has found unique showcases like the Whitney Biennial. “Sollers” was shot last summer – Porterfield teaches at Johns Hopkins during the school year – and should be ready for Cannes. -CO

Our Cannes Wish List continues on the next page.

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