The 10 Most Anticipated Premieres at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival

by Jihane Bousfiha

GIF by Ashley Peña

The time has once again arrived for celebrities, cinephiles, and industry folk to flock to the French Riviera, home of the Cannes Film Festival, with the shared goal of celebrating cinema. This year’s 76th edition will spotlight prestigious films from some of the biggest names—including Martin Scorsese, Todd Haynes, and Wes Anderson—and has hit a record number of movies helmed by female filmmakers. Ranging from big studio flicks to indies from across the globe, the 2023 Official Selection is brimming with eye-catching works that will undoubtedly reach breakthrough status and be discussed throughout the rest of the year.

With 19 films competing for the Palme d’Or and many more premiering in other sections, this year’s lineup is already an overwhelming delight. Ahead of the festival’s 11-day run from May 16-27, we’ve rounded up ten of the most exciting titles that you won’t want to miss.

Asteroid City

With a June 16 release date and a dazzling trailer, Asteroid City marks beloved filmmaker Wes Anderson’s return to the Croisette following the success of The French Dispatch. Taking place at a Junior Stargazers convention in a fictional American desert town circa 1955, the film looks to be a quirky and pastel-hued portrait of America, as expected. In classic Anderson fashion, it stars a stacked ensemble featuring his regulars, (like Jason Schwartzman, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, and Scarlett Johansson), as well as some new additions, including Margot Robbie, Hong Chau, and Tom Hanks.

Strange Way of Life

Ethan Hawke and current heartthrob Pedro Pascal in a 30-minute short directed by Pedro Almodóvar is a match made in cinematic heaven. This queer Western, which the Spanish director has described as his “answer to Brokeback Mountain” (which he was initially in talks to direct), follows a pair of middle-age gunslingers who reconnect after working together 25 years earlier. Strange Way of Life is Almodóvar’s sophomore English-language effort and will kickstart Saint Laurent’s foray into the world of cinema.

La Chimera

A still from the film La Chimera.

Courtesy of NEON

Fresh off her Oscar nomination for short film Le Pupille, Italian auteur Alice Rohrwacher will be returning to the Cannes competition with her latest feature, La Chimera. Set in 1980s Italy, it stars Josh O’Connor as Arthur, a young British archaeologist who finds himself involved in the world of the tombaroli, known as tomb raiders who steal Etruscan artifacts. Rohrwacher and O’Connor will undoubtedly make for an exciting director-actor duo, and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for us.


Prolific Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda is a Cannes mainstay, having previously won the Palme d’Or for Shoplifters in 2018 and premiered his fantastic Broker in Competition last year. So it’s only natural that his newest film, Monster, also make an appearance at the festival in May. Though not much has been revealed about the plot, we know it’s a coming-of-age drama told from three perspectives. To add to the excitement of a new Kore-eda film, it also serves as his first collaboration with legendary composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, who passed away in March.

Killers of the Flower Moon

Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio in a still from Killers of the Flower Moon.

Courtesy of Apple TV+

One of the most anticipated movies of the year, Killers of the Flower Moon will mark Martin Scorsese’s first appearance on the Croisette since winning the award for Best Director in 1985 for After Hours. An ambitious adaptation of David Grann’s non-fiction book titled Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, this will be the filmmaker’s first entry in the Western genre and centers the systemic murders of Osage Indians in Oklahoma during the 1920s. We would be remiss not to mention the incredible cast, which includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Jesse Plemons, Lily Gladstone, and recent Academy Award winner Brendan Fraser.

How to Have Sex

An emerging voice in the U.K., Molly Manning Walker, who won the Next Step Critics’ Week Prize in 2021, is poised to premiere her feature debut How to Have Sex in the festival’s Un Certain Regard section. Shot in Greece, this coming-of-ager revolves around a group of teenage girls navigating early sexual encounters as they go on a clubbing vacation. With its daring title and premise, How to Have Sex will certainly be demanding everyone’s attention.

May December

Having previously won awards for several of his films (Velvet Goldmine and Carol) at the festival, it’s no surprise that Todd Haynes is returning to the Croisette to showcase his latest drama centered on complex relationships. May December revolves around an actress interested in researching the scandalous romance between an older woman and her younger husband, which had been highly publicized 20 years prior. Helping bring this story to life are two of the greatest actresses today, Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore, as well as Riverdale’s Charles Melton.

The Zone of Interest

Perhaps the most exciting announcement of this year’s Cannes lineup is the return of Under the Skin and Birth director Jonathan Glazer, whose film The Zone of Interest will serve as his first feature in a decade. Loosely based on the novel of the same name by Martin Amis, the project tells the story of a Nazi officer who falls in love with the wife (played by Sandra Hüller, who is also attending the festival with Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall) of a commander of the Auschwitz concentration camp. As if that didn’t already sound intriguing enough, Glazer’s much-anticipated comeback also reunites him with composer Mica Levi, which means something memorable is on the way.


A historical psychological thriller starring Alicia Vikander and Jude Law? Sign us up. Brazilian director Karim Aïnouz returns to the festival with his first English-language film, which centers the doomed marriage between King Henry VIII (Law) and his sixth and final wife, Katherine Parr (Vikander). It is told through Katherine’s perspective as it captures their unhappy relationship amid a bloody Tudor court that borders on horror territory. Anyone who is a sucker for period films is guaranteed to be captivated by Firebrand.

The Idol

While we’re technically cheating with the inclusion of The Idol, which is a TV series, it will certainly be making a lot of noise come May. The Weeknd’s long-awaited collaboration with Euphoria creator Sam Levinson, which is set in the music industry and costars Lily-Rose Depp, has already been the subject of much chatter, turning it into one of the most talked-about and anticipated titles of the year. As the first two episodes receive a coveted slot at the festival ahead of its premiere on HBO on June 4, we can’t wait to see if this “sleazy love story” lives up to the hype.