Like most of the major media events that were scheduled for the coming weeks, the Cannes Film Festival has been put on hold. However, while festivals ranging from SXSW to Tribeca canceled or postponed their plans, the splashiest celebration of cinema on the calendar was holding out for its May dates as long as possible. Finally, late last week, Cannes announced that it would delay its festivities and expressed a desire to reschedule the event for late June.
Given the unpredictable circumstances, it’s impossible to know whether that timeline is realistic — but Cannes wouldn’t be Cannes if it didn’t project an aura of confidence about what it was doing, and for the time being, the world’s most glamorous festival still plans to hold a 2020 edition.
Needless to say, if Cannes does happen, its lineup has a lot of potential. Each year, IndieWire assembles a wish list of movies that we hope will make the cut. Just because Cannes won’t take place at the usual time doesn’t change the caliber of cinema that could have shown up there — and, hey, still might — so we’re proceeding with business as usual. Per tradition, we’ve done our homework to ensure that we only include titles that stand a realistic shot at showing up in the program, even under these unconventional circumstances.
That means promising new movies like Chloé Zhao’s reportedly unfinished “Nomadland” didn’t show up here; ditto Sofia Coppola’s “On the Rocks,” which apparently already committed to a Venice launch. But no matter how much the world has put its major events on hold, there are a wealth of other finished or just-finished projects out there that look strong enough to justify a Cannes launch, if and when that happens. Here are 25 of them.
In any year, a Cannes premiere for French writer/director/actress Maïwenn’s new film is an inevitability. Her 2011 Paris-set crime drama “Polisse” scooped up the Cannes Jury Prize, followed by 13 César Award nominations the following year. Her followup feature, “Mon Roi,” a twisted love story starring Vincent Cassel and Emmanuelle Bercot, also competed in competition on the Croisette in 2015, earning Bercot Best Actress.
Maïwenn’s next film, “DNA,” announced by Wild Bunch in January, draws upon Maïwenn’s own history as a French-born woman of mixed Vietnamese, French, and Algerian descent. Otherwise known as “ADN” in French, “DNA” centers on a woman close to her Algerian grandfather who, after his death, must confront the complicated upbringing from which he tried to protect her. Maïwenn will also star in the film, alongside Fanny Ardant, Louis Garrel, and Marine Vacth. Maïwenn’s previous films demonstrated dexterity behind of and in front of the camera, and both with a tremendous capacity to disturb as the director and actress puts the crimes of her country past on trial. “ADN” has the potential to do that in an even more personal way than before. —RL
“Annette” (Leos Carax)
Leos Carax works sparingly, but the elusive French auteur is always worth the wait. In 2012, his boundary-pushing “Holy Motors” was the great surprise of Cannes competition, an abstract soul-searching story of a mysterious figure juggling multiple identities over the course of a single surreal day. Since then, radio silence…until last year, when Carax finally started production on what has sounded like his most ambitious project to date, and his first foray into English language.
Adam Driver stars as a standup comedian who, along with his famous soprano wife played by Marion Cotillard, raises a child with an enigmatic gift. The specifics of that gift remain shrouded in question, but knowing Carax, it’s safe to assume that much about the narrative defies easy description. Driver went viral last year with his grand Sondheim moment in “Marriage Story,” so “Annette” is perfectly situated to take that musical potential to more daring heights, while finally allowing Carax’s dreamlike storytelling abilities to reach a wider audience. One can only hope. —EK
“Bergman Island” (Mia Hansen-Løve)
A semi-autobiographical drama about a filmmaking couple (Mia Wasikowska and Anders Danielsen Lie) who retreat to Ingmar Bergman’s resting place in order to write their next scripts and then slowly lose sight of the line between fiction and reality, Mia Hansen-Løve’s “Bergman Island” has been at the top of our “most anticipated” list since the project was first announced with Greta Gerwig in the lead role. The film, which Hansen-Løve described to IndieWire as a story about “how film tends to replace my memories of what really happened,” has the potential to be something of a crossover arthouse hit for one of modern cinema’s most consistently brilliant auteurs, whose previous work (such as “Eden,” “Things to Come,” and “Goodbye First Love”) has found deep American fanbases despite limited distribution.
Shot in two parts and co-starring Tim Roth and Vicky Krieps, “Bergman Island” finally wrapped in the middle of the last summer. Given the project’s high profile and its connection to one of European cinema’s greatest titans, this would be a natural (if long overdue) opportunity to let Hansen-Løve graduate from the sidebars and invite her into the main Competition at Cannes. —DE
“Comes Morning” (Naomi Kawase)
Cannes has always been very good to Kawase in the past, playing home to seven of her films (six in the aughts alone), and tapping her to serve as the president of both the festival’s forward-looking Cinefondation section and its Short Film Jury in 2016, and the Official Competition jury in 2013. Kawase is also the youngest winner of the Camera d’or for her feature “Suzaku” back in 1997, which she followed up with a Grand Prix award 10 years later for “The Mourning Forest.” In short, if Kawase has a film, Cannes is usually a safe bet for its launch. (Oddly enough, her “Vision” skipped Cannes in 2018, and surfaced in the fall instead.)
Her next one, “Comes Morning,” likely would have put her back in the Cannes fold. Based on a 2015 novel by Mizuki Tsujimura, the story follows a woman who adopts a child, only to be contacted by her baby’s birth mother. While many Cannes critics tend to ignore her work at the festival, Kawase’s allegorical fantasies have won plenty of fans over the years. —KE
“The French Dispatch” (Wes Anderson)
Wes Anderson has used the Berlin International Film Festival to launch his last two feature films, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Isle of Dogs,” but 2020 was supposed to mark the auteur’s big return to Cannes with his new project, “The French Dispatch.” Anderson was last at Cannes with “Moonrise Kingdom,” which world premiered on the opening night of the 2012 event. Searchlight’s July release date for “The French Dispatch” positioned Cannes as the perfect destination for a world premiere.
For a festival that loves stars, it would not have gotten better than the red carpet for “The French Dispatch”: Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Timothee Chalamet, Lea Seydoux, Benicio del Toro, Elisabeth Moss, Owen Wilson, Frances McDormand, and more. Searchlight remains committed for now to opening “Dispatch” in theaters on July 24, so there’s still a chance it makes it to Cannes should the festival be postponed to late June. —ZS
“The Hill Where the Lionesses Roar” (Luàna Bajrami)
While much of the praise surrounding “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” centered on the performances from Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel, Luàna Bajrami held her own as the movie’s supportive maid, and won the “Most Promising Actress” prize from 2020 Césars. The 19-year-old performer from Kosovo may be a rising star in front of the camera, but she’s already on a promising filmmaking path of her own, having wrapped her directorial debut last year.
“The Hill Where the Lionesses Roar” screened only a few minutes for industry attendees at the Les Arcs Film Festival last December and won an audience engagement prize there. The movie follows three teen women who decide to break the monotony of their daily routines by plotting a heist. Before you can say “The Bling Ring,” well yes: Some who have seen it are already making the comparison. But with such a young director behind the camera, if “The Hill Where the Lionesses Roar” really delivers on its potential, its festival positioning could turn Bajrami into the big breakout of the year, whenever it gets out there. —EK
“Home” (Franka Potente)
German actress Potente has been a recognizable face in current cinema for over 20 years, starting with her iconic turn in “Run Lola Run,” and continuing through a string of Hollywood credits, from “Blow” to “The Bourne Identity.” This year, however, she’s poised to move into the directing chair with her feature-length debut with the California-set “Home,” which stars Jake McLaughlin as an ex-con who returns from a 20-year prison stint and struggles to settle back into his old hometown despite lingering resentment for the crime that put him away in the first place.
The cast also includes recent Oscar nominee Kathy Bates and “Get Out” sensation Lil Rel Howery. Potente first ventured into filmmaking with the 43-minute 2006 effort “Digging for Belladona,” the endearing story of a punk trapped in a 1918 melodrama that proved Potente had real directorial vision. While the premise of “Home” suggests a more grounded drama, the movie is produced by leading German film company Augenschein Filmproduktion, which also counts the astounding 2017 Georgian drama “My Happy Family” and the Joseph Gordon-Levitt thriller “7500” among its recent output. It’s safe to assume that “Home” will provide an actor’s showcase from a fixture of international cinema poised to break out in a whole new way, and Cannes would be the ideal place to start that story. —EK
“Last Night in Soho” (Edgar Wright)
Edgar Wright’s latest has been veiled in secrecy for months, but no bother. After all, when have Wright’s films ever benefited from leaking loglines? Who hears “zombie comedy” and foresees what “Shaun of the Dead” would become? In any case, what we do know is more than enough to get excited. Featuring a darling cast of rising stars like Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy alongside bona fide legends like Diana Rigg and Terence Stamp, the film is reported to be a “psychological horror film” with some sort of time travel twist. A debut on the Croisette for the film, still set to hit theaters in September from Focus Features, would have been a match made in a movie-lover heaven. (So if the festival actually happens this summer, it’s not off the table.)
Wright has wrangled a thrilling new co-writer in “1917” scribe Krysty Wilson-Cairns, a history buff who we can only hope brings those obsessions to the film. For a certain class of contemporary cinephile, a new Wright joint is always going to be an event, and while details remain slim on “Soho,” movie obsessive Wright has already let slip a few inspirations, naming other British horror films like “Don’t Look Now” and “Repulsion” as guide posts. But, like, fun, right? —KE
“Mandibules” (Quentin Dupieux)
The prankish sensibilities of French filmmaker Dupieux — who doubles as the DJ Mr. Oizu — have been well-established at Cannes over the years, with surreal gambits like the existential killer tire movie “Rubber” and last year’s demented jacket gimmick “Deerskin” proving that he has no shortage of outrageous ideas, and the wherewithal to pull them off. Cannes would have been a natural platform for his latest bizarro cinematic adventure, which has the sort of ludicrous premise that only Dupieux could envision: It’s the story of two friends (comedy duo Grégoire Ludig and David Marsais) who discover a fly trapped in a car boot and train it to do tricks for easy money. (You read that right.)
Dupieux’s storytelling always takes baffling turns — think David Lynch meets Monty Python — and it’s safe to assume that “Mandibules” will deliver a very appealing ride. The movie, which also features “Blue is the Warmest Color” breakout Adele Exarchopoulos, boasts an original score by the filmmaker, whose movies always deliver wacky adventures worth the trip, no matter where they end up. —EK
“Memoria” (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
Thai auteur Weerasethakul has been a Cannes regular ever since “Uncle Boonmee Who Could Recall His Past Lives” won the Palme d’Or in 2010, but “Memoria” marks the first time he’s worked outside his own country. That itself is an exciting shift, given that Weerasethakul has been the foremost cinematic chronicler of his country’s mythological and historical identity. This time, he ventures to Colombia to explore the experiences of a nomadic woman (Swinton) suffering from exploding head syndrome, which causes her to hear loud noises that don’t exist. The filmmaker has described the movie as another dreamlike descent into a lyrical world just a few degrees removed from the real one, while still immersed in real places and people.
Weerasethakul’s movies are usually an acquired taste, but those willing to open themselves up to his singular vision are rewarded with truly unexpected ways of experiencing the modern world. Acquired during post-production by NEON as the U.S. distributed reaped the box office rewards of “Parasite,” the movie could be the latest to find support from the latest company to figure out how to push non-English cinema into the mainstream. With Swinton at its center, “Memoria” could be Weerasethakul’s ticket to a larger audience, at least relative to the festival bubble that has celebrated him for years. —EK
“Miss Marx” (Susanna Nicchiarelli)
Over the course of two decades behind the camera, Italian filmmaker Susanna Nicchiarelli has made complicated women her signature, moving from off-kilter coming-of-age tales like “Cosmonaut” to her beloved biopic “Nico, 1988.” Her next project appears to be a culmination of her cinematic obsessions: a fact-based drama about the life of Karl Marx’s whipsmart daughter Eleanor Marx that isn’t beholden to traditional biopic trappings. When the film’s rights sold at last year’ Cannes, Screen reported that Nicchiarelli would rely on “the insertion of period photographs and footage, the ironic use of contemporary music, and a minimalist aesthetic for clothing and furnishing” to subvert the usual genre trappings.
No matter her method of telling the story, the Romola Garai-starring film has plenty of real-life drama to pull from. Eleanor was a socialist activist with her own big ideas about how the world (and the government) should work. Despite her formidable intellect, her personal life was fraught, and she was often at the mercy of her cruel long-time partner Edward Aveling (played by Patrick Kennedy). Niccharelli has never screened at Cannes before, but she’s been a longtime favorite of Venice, and seems poised to take the next step in the international arena. —KE
“Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon” (Ana Lily Amirpour)
Ana Lily Amirpour is never a director to overlook. She smashed the conventions of vampire movies and spaghetti westerns with 2014’s “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” and did it again with the post-apocalyptic shoot-em-up “The Bad Batch,” the Iranian-American director’s 2017 English-language debut. With “Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon,” Amirpour has lined up her biggest cast yet, including Kate Hudson, Craig Robinson, and Korean actress Jun Jong-Seo, the breakout supporting star of 2018’s Cannes sensation “Burning.”
With another original script from Amirpour, this time using the fantasy and adventure genres as her springboard, “Mona Lisa” turns on a young girl with magical and potentially volatile powers. After breaking out of a mental asylum, she sets out to make it on her own in New Orleans, where the film was shot on location and is, of course, every filmmaker’s playground for all things magical. Amirpour has yet to bring a film to Cannes, and with increased pressure on the festival to make room for women directors, especially diverse ones, um, hello, there’s a visionary one right here. —RL
“My Donkey, My Lover, and I” (Caroline Vignal)
French director Caroline Vignal first broke at Cannes Critics Week with her 2000 debut “Girlfriends,” but hasn’t directed anything in the past 20 years. This new comedy could be her long-awaited return to the spotlight: The movie stars Laure Calamy and Benjamin Lavernhe in the story of a woman who books a getaway in the countryside with her lover — only to wind up stuck there when he cancels to be with his wife at the last minute. She tracks him down to the Cévennes mountains trail, but he’s long-gone, leaving only a donkey in his wake. Talk about a literal title: The ensuing plot finds the woman and her new animal companion heading on an unexpected journey through the wilderness, and it sounds like just the sort of minimalist slapstick enterprise that could resonate as a lighthearted crowdpleaser in a Cannes sidebar. —EK
“Peninsula” (Yeon Sang-Ho)
Grossing more than $90 million worldwide, Yeon Sang-ho’s frenetic “Train to Busan” stood above the recent horde of zombie movies because of memorable performances, a clever use of space, and an open-hearted message about the need to stick together in the face of a crisis (good advice!). Technically the third installment of Yeon’s series (he also directed the iffy animated prequel “Seoul Station”), “Peninsula” is a larger-budgeted sequel that’s set four years after the original, and picks up the story after the walking dead have reduced most of Korea to an uninhabitable wasteland. Since most of the main characters from “Train to Busan” have already been eaten alive on screen, Yeon has turned to a new cast fronted by “Golden Slumbers” star Kang Dong-won and singer-actress Lee Jung-hyun.
It’s too soon to know if Yeon will be able to recapture the same lightning in a bottle on a much bigger canvas, but it’s safe to assume that Cannes will be the first place to find out; “Train to Busan” premiered in a midnight slot there, and “Peninsula” will almost certainly follow suit if it can. —DE
“Summerland” (Jessica Swale)
Olivier Award-winning playwright has long plotted her jump to feature filmmaking: in 2012, she won the BAFTA JJ Screenwriting Bursary, which she then spent on writing the original script for what would become her feature directorial debut. Starring Gemma Arterton as a reclusive writer, the film is set during World War II and finds Arterton’s Alice unexpectedly in charge of a young man after the London Blitz. The film also stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Penelope Wilton, and Lucas Bond and promises something increasingly rare: a new look at wartime through the eyes of a female lead. The film wrapped in November of last year, and will still (presumably) find its way to a festival launch this year. —KE
“Soul” (Pete Docter, Kemp Powers)
Despite its stature as the world’s most prestigious film festival, Cannes has long been unable to ignore the allure (and the marketing firepower) of big-budget animated offerings from the Hollywood set — this is a festival where both “Shrek” and “Shrek 2” didn’t just premiere, but did so in competition, after all — but it’s been able to marry artistry and studio sensibility when it comes to Pixar debuts. When the animation house premiered “Inside Out” at the festival in 2015, the reaction was hugely positive — a journey through the headlines of stories about its premiere mostly hinge on shock that such a Hollywood offering would be this well-received at Cannes of all places — and it looked as if the festival was preparing for a repeat with “Soul.”
Pixar’s next film, set (for now) for a June release, even looks like a smart spiritual sister to “Inside Out.” While that movie was about the warring emotions that drive the human mind, Pete Docter’s followup is all about the soul that gives people their humanity. Jamie Foxx voices Joe Gardner, a mild-mannered middle school music teacher who has always dreamed of performing jazz at a lauded club, and the film follows his journey after his soul is accidentally booted out of his body. Other details are slim, but we know that “Soul” — which is also the rare Pixar feature focused on a person of color — will see Joe attempting to reunite his body and soul after learning some big lessons along the way. For a crowd that adored “Inside Out,” “Soul” sounds like the next Hollywood feature that could really break through to the festival set, if it gets the chance. —KE
“Soeurs” (Yamina Benguigui)
After breaking onto the international stage with her widely acclaimed “Inch’Allah Dimanche” in 2001, Yamina Benguigui — a French filmmaker of Algerian descent — seemed poised to become a mainstay on the international festival circuit. But her interest in the plight of French immigrants ultimately led Benguigui in a different direction; after making a small number of documentaries that shared the social concerns of her debut feature, Benguigui followed her convictions into the political arena, fighting for human rights on Paris’ city council and then serving at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And while there were efforts during that time to collaborate with Isabelle Adjani on a film of some kind, nothing came from those until now.
Nineteen years since “Inch’Allah Dimanche” premiered at TIFF, Benguigui has wrapped a new fiction project. Co-written by the screenwriter of “A Prophet” and starring Adjani, Maiwenn, and Rachida Bakri as its eponymous sisters, “Soeurs” finds Benguigui splitting her persona into three equal shards for a story about a filmmaker, a politician, and a businesswoman each navigate their relationships to their home and adopted countries. With a cast full of Cannes royalty and a director who’s achieved semi-mythic status in France, “Soeurs” would be a natural fit in the Competition lineup. —DE
“Summer of ‘85” (Francois Ozon)
François Ozon is no stranger to the Cannes Film Festival, having competed for the Palme d’Or with “Swimming Pool” and “Double Lover,” and he could’ve been back in the running for the festival’s top prize in 2020 with his new directorial effort “Summer of ’85.” Ozon is renowned for his fearless explorations of sexuality, and “Summer of ’85” is pure Ozon territory as it tells the story of a 16-year-old boy who capsizes off the coast of Normandy and is saved by an 18-year-old teenager. The two boys became fast friends as Ozon tracks their budding relationship over the course of one summer. After the extreme adult eroticism of “Double Lover,” Ozon lovers might be relieved to see the director putting his lens on teenage love. —ZS
“Tenet” (Christopher Nolan)
Christopher Nolan is no stranger to Cannes buzz. The director’s blockbusters often open in theaters in July, so there’s always talk he might premiere a new effort at the Cannes Film Festival. Nolan has never debuted a directorial effort in Cannes, but would “Tenet” have been the first one? It still could be if Cannes’ plan to delay the 2020 festival to late June holds, as Warner Bros. is opening “Tenet” in July. Shortening the gap between a potential Cannes world premiere and the film’s theatrical opening could increase its chances of world premiering at the festival, but Nolan remains unpredictable when it comes to festivals.
A Cannes debut would’ve been fitting for “Tenet,” as it’s the most international film of Nolan’s career: The director filmed the espionage epic in seven countries. Warner Bros. had overwhelming success bringing “Mad Max: Fury Road” to Cannes in 2015 (many thought it would’ve won the Palme d’Or had it debuted in competition) and “Tenet” could’ve followed suit. And maybe it still will. —ZS
“Time” (Garrett Bradley)
Cannes is notorious for disregarding non-fiction, but occasional documentaries sneak into the lineup, from Palme d’Or winner “Fahrenheit 9/11” to Oscar winner “Inside Job.” Even so, the potential for Garrett Bradley’s “Time” to surface at Cannes following its Sundance premiere held the aura of something different: The black-and-white chronicle of Fox Rich, who spent more than two decades trying to get her her husband released from a 60-year prison sentence, delivers a unique emotional experience from one of the most promising documentary directors to emerge this decade.
Unfolding through home video material and poignant footage of understated moments in Rich’s personal struggle, “Time” transcends the traditional boundaries of socially conscious filmmaking to become an illuminating window into the intimate casualties of the American justice system. Cannes loves movies about American society (especially impoverished American society) that use film language in exciting new ways, and the international profile sometimes helps clarify the talent at hand by pushing beyond the “documentary” moniker. While the movie was well-received at Sundance, winning the festival’s directing prize and scoring a lucrative distribution deal with Amazon, a Cannes slot could have elevated Bradley’s appeal to a global scale, and she deserves it. —EK
“Top Gun: Maverick” (Joseph Kosinski)
Tom Cruise and Cannes might not seem like the most natural of fits — the actor hasn’t appeared at the festival to promote one of his films since “Far and Away,” way back in 1992 — but the festival always needs a few big stars on the red carpet, and Cruise has continued to be one of the biggest star in the world. His much-hyped return to jet fuel-powered drama, “Top Gun: Maverick” boasts a stacked cast of both big names (Cruise! Jon Hamm! Jennifer Connelly!) and rising talents (from Glenn Powell to Jay Ellis, Danny Ramirez to Lewis Pullman), and would have benefited immensely from the global stage Cannes sets out. As with “Rocketman” last year, a “Top Gun” slot would have helped catapult the movie into its theatrical release, which was slated for June 24. That hasn’t changed, so time will tell whether this potential Cannes coup works out. —KE
“Tre Piani” (Nanni Moretti)
Italian director Nanni Moretti is hardly a stranger to Cannes. His kitchen-sink drama “The Son’s Room” picked up the Palme d’Or in 2001, and he served as president of the jury in 2012, the year that Michael Haneke’s “Amour” took home the top prize before going on to earn five Academy Award nominations. His next film, “Tre Piani,” is Moretti’s first adaptation of another source material, lifting from an Israeli book by Eshkol Nevo. Moretti relocates the setting from Tel Aviv to Italy, telling the story of three families in different apartments in the same condominium, all of whom are suffering crises that include child abuse, loneliness, and ruminations on a haunted past.
Filming took place in 2019, with the cast including Margherita Buy, Riccardo Scamarcio, Alba Rohrwacher, and Moretti himself, so this one looks ready to go for the 2020 festival circuit. Rohrwacher is one of international cinema’s most talented actors, most recently stealing the show in her sister’s film “Happy as Lazzaro,” and wowing as a moody muse in Luca Guadagnino’s short “The Staggering Girl,” making this appointment viewing for cinephiles. Moretti’s more recent films, from 2015’s “My Mother” to 2011’s “We Have a Pope,” bring humor to serious subject matter, often bringing a much needed lightness to a Croisette lined with heavy, heavy movies. —RL
Untitled Adam Leon Project (Adam Leon)
It can be hard to predict which young American filmmakers will be embraced by the Cannes selection committee, though it always seems to make sense in hindsight. The Safdie brothers? Of course. Jeff Nichols? Why not. David Robert Mitchell? It’s worth a shot. These directors only have so much in common, but — in the broadest of terms — their movies marry classical stylization with contemporary zeal. And “Tramps” director Adam Leon is as likely as anyone to join the club. Little is known about his untitled new film beyond the fact that it’s set in New York City, stars Vanessa Kirby, and features the “Hobbs & Shaw” actress in at least one big look. But the movie has been in the can for a minute, and would be a natural fit on the Croisette if it maintains even a fraction of the bouncy throwback energy that have made Leon’s previous work feel so fresh. —DE
“Where Is Anne Frank” (Ari Folman)
Israeli director Ari Folman emerged as one of the most exciting voices in contemporary animation with his 2008 Cannes entry “Waltz With Bashir,” an innovative rotoscoped documentary about the 1982 Lebanon invasion that pushed the animated form in an exciting new direction. He followed that up with the daring 2013 Directors’ Fortnight opener “The Congress,” a blend of animation and live action so tapped into the scary potential of modern technology it has now looks downright prophetic.
Years have passed — in the interim, Folman created “En Terapia,” the Israeli series that inspired HBO’s “In Therapy” — but fans of his last two features have been keen on seeing what else he can do with his distinctive style. For his latest project, Folman has tackled one of the most widely known literary figures of the 20th century by giving her a whole new platform. “Where Is Anne Frank” reportedly pulls from the teen diarist’s archives to deliver a whole new adaptation of her tragic coming-of-age story. The story reportedly unfolds from the perspective of Frank’s imaginary friend Kitty, who becomes more real as Frank addresses her through her diary entries. That magical approach stands a good chance at resurrecting the face that helped humanize the trauma of the Holocaust, and in time, as the number of living Holocaust survivors continues to dwindle. There’s nothing conventional about Folman’s techniques to date, which means that this version of “Anne Frank” is poised to make the material resonant in a whole new light, whenever it gets out there. —EK
“The Woman in the Window” (Joe Wright)
Joe Wright’s “Rear Window”-style psychological thriller about the mental collapse of an agoraphobic, alcoholic psychologist (Amy Adams) has already endured many a pushback from Disney-owned 20th Century Studios. Adapted from author AJ Finn’s 2018 potboiler, it was originally slated for an October 2019 awards season release, then moved to May 15 of this year, and then moved again into the ether as its fate — like so many movies right now — remains unknown. But a Cannes slot could give this hotly awaited film a chance to rise from the ashes, even after test screenings reportedly left focus groups uneasy over the film’s less-than-tidy resolution.
Co-starring Julianne Moore and Jennifer Jason Leigh as are-they-or-aren’t-they doppelgangers taunting Adams’ Anna Fox after she witnesses a crime from behind the blinds of her New York City brownstone, the movie is already primed for controversy. A page-turning February 2019 New Yorker profile of author Finn, whose real name is Dan Mallory, reveals an unstable writer who may or may not have plagiarized the material, and one who repeatedly lied to his publishers about the source of his New York Times bestseller — and his deteriorating psychic state, not unlike his protagonist. Hot off 2018’s HBO miniseries “Sharp Objects,” Adams is your go-to gal for boozy existential peril. If the trailer released last year is any indication, this film should if nothing else deliver a powerful triumvirate of actresses chewing the hell out of a soapy premise. The screenplay comes from master writer Tracy Letts, who also co-stars as Anna’s much-needed therapist. —RL