Why ‘Beau Is Afraid’ Didn’t Go to Cannes and More Mysteries from the Festival’s 2023 Lineup

This year's Cannes lineup is loaded with major talent — and a lot of questions.
Ari Aster, Joaquin Phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix and Ari Aster on the set of "Beau Is Afraid"

For cinephiles, the 2023 Cannes Film Festival lineup arrived this week like an old friend. Its competition is loaded with familiar auteurs ranging from Wes Anderson to Todd Haynes. There are big blockbusters like “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Fate” as well as sprawling documentaries from Steve McQueen and Wang Bing, a short film by Pedro Almodovar, and a Martin Scorsese epic.

But since Cannes projects the impression of being the greatest film festival in the world, it’s also notable that certain films didn’t show up in the lineup, such as A24’s “Beau Is Afraid” — very much a Cannes-caliber movie that the distributor instead decided to open this week. What gives?

That’s one of several questions tackled on this week’s Screen Talk, as Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson dig through the selection and explore some of the surprises within, as well as a few missing pieces. “He should’ve gone to Cannes with this,” Thompson said of Aster and “Beau Is Afraid” in the episode. “Ari Aster should be a Cannes auteur. There’s absolutely no question about it. That’s what this film proves.”

In the spoiler-free discussion, they share their enthusiasm for the movie as well as why it presents a commercial risk to A24. “I hope it doesn’t completely fade from the conversation,” Kohn said. Thompson wasn’t sure. “It’s an art film,” she said. “There’s no other way to describe it. And the limits on art films are pretty low right now. It can’t possibly make its money back. It can’t be a word-of-mouth hit.”

They also trade thoughts on this week’s big “Succession” twist, while Thompson offers her take on “Renfield.”

Watch the full episode above or listen to it below. 

Screen Talk is produced by Azwan Badruzaman and available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify, and hosted by Megaphone. Browse previous installments here, subscribe here, and be sure to let us know if you’d like to hear the hosts address specific issues in upcoming editions of Screen Talk. 

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