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7 Films Not to Miss at Cannes’s Comeback Festival

A scene from The French Dispatch
Photo via Searchlight Pictures

Last summer was eerily quiet on the French Riviera, which has played host to the Cannes Film Festival every year since 1946. There is, of course, one exception to that decades-long history: Like so many other cultural tentpoles in 2020, the 73rd edition was postponed and eventually canceled. This year, with cases down and vaccinations on the rise, organizers are feeling much more optimistic. They’re officially going ahead with an 11-day extravaganza, spanning July 6-17.

That means we’ll finally be getting a dose of the good ole red carpet, where stars have delivered for years. (And off the red carpet—Kendall Jenner, for example, once got over her breakup by joining her film friends at the amfAR Gala and on the beach.) Things got a little sleepy—apart from Elle Fanning and Chloë Sevigny—in 2019, but a banger is undoubtedly in store for this increasingly hedonistic year.

More importantly, the films won’t disappoint either. The festival confirmed as much on Thursday with a first look at the lineup of everything up for competition. Some may sound familiar: Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, for example, is just one of the titles that waited more than a year for Cannes’s comeback to premiere. It’s all a bit overwhelming, with 24 films up for the Palme d’Or alone, but we guarantee you: The seven below are ones not to miss.

The French Dispatch

The trailer for Wes Anderson’s tenth film, a so-called “love letter to journalism” set in Kansas, dropped all the way back in February of 2020. Miraculously, there are now only a few weeks left to go before we can see how Timothée Chalamet and Elisabeth Moss fit in with Anderson’s usual crew, including Tilda Swinton and Bill Murray.


Turns out Camille Cottin, star of the beloved French satire series Call My Agent!, also acts in English, and you’re about to see much more of her doing so soon. Ahead of her appearances in House of Gucci and Killing Eve, Cottin stars opposite Matt Damon in Tom McCarthy’s latest, about an American on a mission to rescue his estranged daughter (played by Abigail Breslin) in Marseille, France.

After Yang

The mononymous Korean-American director Kogonada’s latest finds Jodie Turner-Smith and Colin Farrell confronting a tragedy: the loss of an A.I. assistant that put Alexa to shame. The film is set in a near future, where society relies on bots to babysit and teach kids.


Ahead of his starring role in House of Gucci, Adam Driver plays a comedy writer opposite Marion Cotillard in—wait for it—a full-blown musical. According to at least one source, the Leos Carax-directed film finds Driver “singing more often than he’s not singing”—a feat that’s earned the film the festival’s opening slot.

Jane Par Charlotte

Not Jane Eyre in the novel by Charlotte Brontë, but the iconic Jane Birkin in an up-close and intimate film by her daughter, Charlotte Gainsbourg. Details about the latter’s directorial debut remain scarce, but do you really think either star would disappoint?


Paul Verhoeven, the director behind 2016’s Elle starring Isabelle Huppert, makes a comeback with what’s already become known as “the lesbian nun movie.” Be prepared to blush as he takes you back to Bubonic Plague-era Tuscany for a love story that Verhoeven’s longtime collaborator, the writer Gerard Soeteman, deemed “too sexual” for him to work on.

The Velvet Underground

Todd Haynes throws it back to the ‘60s with a documentary about the titular band led by Lou Reed. It’s just his latest musician biopic—see: 2007’s I’m Not There, starring Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan, and 1987’s Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, memorably starring the titular singer as a Barbie doll—but first in the form of a documentary.

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