Cannes 2021: 24 Films that will Compete for the Golden Palm

Wes Anderson, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Mia Hansen-Løve, and more filmmakers will roam the ‘Croisette this year. Which of your films will get into the list of winners?

The Cannes Film Festival is going to arrive more eager than ever this year. After canceling its edition in 2020 due to the expansion of Covid-19 in France (and the rest of the world), the contest faces another complicated edition, still in times of pandemic and later than usual. But the ‘Croisette can do it all: from July 6 to 17, Cannes will open its doors to some of the most important films of the next cinephile season, where, as has already been confirmed, we will enjoy filmmakers of the stature of Wes Anderson, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Jacques Audiard, Leos Carax, Paul Verhoeven, Mia Hansen-Løve, Nanni Moretti and more.

However, not all have been able to enter the competition for the Palme d’Or in this 74th edition of the festival. Long-awaited films like Terrence Malick’s ‘The Way of the Wind’, Jane Campion’s ‘The Power of the Dog’, Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Soggy Bottom’, Ruben Östlund’s ‘Triangle of Sadness’ and ‘Decision to Leave’ by Park Chan-wook, among others, have been left out. We have no doubt that we will see them walking through the next festivals of the season such as Venice, Toronto, and San Sebastián, but for now, we have enough to process with the many gems that will pass through Cannes.

We collect the 24 films that will compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. Which of them will get into the list?

1. ‘Annette’ by Leos Carax

This musical directed by Leos Carax (‘Holy Motors’) will serve as the opening film of the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. It stars Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard and will open the same day in cinemas across France. The story is set in Los Angeles and tells the love story between Henry, a comedic actor, and Ann, an internationally famous singer. The birth of his daughter, Annette, will change the fate of the three of them forever.

2. ‘Benedetta’ by Paul Verhoeven

Filmmaker Paul Verhoeven, author of cult films such as ‘Basic Instinct’ and ‘Showgirls’, will once again return to the Cannes Film Festival. And he will do it with this period thriller based on true events, which will have its world premiere on the La Croisette on July 9. The film takes us back to the late 15th century, where a novice nun, Benedetta Carlini (Virginie Efira), joins the convent of Pescia, Tuscany. Able from an early age to perform miracles, Benedetta’s impact on the life of the community is immediate. But when she discovers her affair with another nun, she causes a scandal and leads Benedetta down a dangerous path. In the cast, Efira is accompanied by Charlotte Rampling, Daphné Patakia, Lambert Wilson, and Olivier Rabourdin.

3. ‘The French Dispatch’ by Wes Anderson

It seems clear that Wes Anderson’s newest ‘The French Chronicle’ has a guaranteed spot at this year’s festival. And it is that the film should have participated the previous year, but it has been reserving both the passage through other festivals and its commercial premiere in theaters to reach this long-awaited appointment. The director of ‘The great Budapest hotel’ now takes us to the world of journalism of the 20th century, with a cast, once again, spectacular: Benicio del Toro, Frances McDormand, Jeffrey Wright, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Timothée Chalamet, Léa Seydoux, Owen Wilson, Mathieu Amalric, Bill Murray, Saoirse Ronan, Willem Dafoe, Kate Winslet, Elisabeth Moss, Christoph Waltz, Rupert Friend, and Jason Schwartzman, among others, could walk the red carpet of the La Croisette. If the Covid-19 allows it.

4. ‘Bergman Island’ by Mia Hansen-Løve

After the spiritual ‘Maya’, French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve is once again one of the most prominent names in the next European cinephile crop with ‘Bergman Island’, which we would not be surprised to see competing at this summer’s Cannes Film Festival. The film, starring Mia Wasikowska and Anders Danielsen Lie, is a semi-biographical story by the director, where she tells how a couple of filmmakers retreat to Ingmar Bergman’s resting place on Fårö Island and lose track of time and reality. while they write the scripts for their next films. Hansen-Løve shares a relationship with fellow filmmaker Olivier Assayas, with whom she has a daughter, and this film seems like a perfect portrait of her creative processes.

5. Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s ‘Memory’

It may be difficult for you to pronounce his name, but his cinema is unforgettable. Thai Apichatpong Weerasethakul is a regular at the Cannes Film Festival (he won the Palme d’Or in 2010 thanks to ‘Uncle Boonmee Remembers His Past Lives) and a cult director for cinephilia. Therefore, if the times coincide, his next film, the first that he has shot outside his country of origin, could be part of the program. ‘Memoria’ explores the life of a nomadic woman (played by Tilda Swinton) in Colombia who suffers from a condition known as exploding head syndrome, a sleep disorder that causes very loud sounds inside the patient’s head. The filmmaker has described the film as another dreamlike descent into a lyrical world somewhat removed from reality. Could this be Weerasethakul’s leap to a certain ‘mainstream’ position? And will we see her in Cannes?

6. ‘The worst person in the world (Verdens verste menneske)’ by Joachim Trier

Norwegian Joachim Trier will finally put an end to his Oslo trilogy, which started with 2006’s ‘Reprise’, continued with 2011’s ‘Oslo, 31 August’ (which took him to Cannes for the first time) and now ends with ‘Verdens verste menneske’ (internationally, ‘The worst person in the world’). The plot revolves around Julie, who turns 30 in the midst of an existential crisis, with a boyfriend older than her who pressures her to be more serious and whom she finally leaves to try a new life with a younger man, who, Contrary to what he believed, he will not solve the deepest problems of his life. The cast includes regular Trier actors such as Renate Reinsve and Anders Danielsen Lie.

7. ‘Le genoux d’Ahed’ by Nadav Lapid

2019 Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear winner Nadav Lapid also has a new title this year, and he could enter Cannes. After his imposing ‘Synonyms’, the Israeli director presents ‘Le genoux d’Ahed’ to further explore the ties that unite an individual with his native country. The film tells the story of a renowned Israeli filmmaker who travels to a screening of his new film in a remote town, but things quickly escalate from there as the protagonist becomes embroiled in “a bitter and relentless battle for saving your country’s freedom of speech and democracy in free fall. “

8. ‘Les Olympiades’ by Jacques Audiard

After tasting the honey of the North American western with ‘The Sisters Brothers, presented at the Venice Film Festival’, Frenchman Jacques Audiard returns home with ‘Les Olympiades’. And we have no doubt that Cannes will have its eye on him, after having awarded him the Palme d’Or for ‘Deephan’ in 2015. His new film (internationally titled ‘Paris, 13th District’) is shot in black and white and adapts the stories of graphic novelist Adrian Tomine through a Parisian perspective. And beware, the script is co-written between the filmmakers Céline Sciamma (‘Portrait of a woman on fire’) and Léa Mysius (‘Ava’). The story follows four young friends and casual lovers through a series of linked dramas that capture modern youth culture with all its contradictions.

9. ‘Petrov’s Flu’ by Kirill Serebrennikov

Adaptation of Alexey Salnikov’s novel, ‘Petrov’s Flu’ follows a dysfunctional family who has contracted the same nasty virus. This is the premise of the next film by the Russian Kirill Serebrennikov, which, in reality, seeks to cast a shocking look at post-Soviet Russia and, coincidentally, also at the isolation and confinement that closely touches us in times of pandemic. Perhaps this time the director can attend the Cannes Film Festival: the last time he was selected, with the film ‘Leto’, he could not attend because he was under house arrest with charges not too clear by the Russian government.

10. ‘Titane’ by Julia Ducournau

In 2016, Julia Ducournau caused a swoon in the room with her directorial debut, ‘Crudo’, and she won the FIPRESCI award for international critics at the Cannes Film Festival. This year she could return to the festival with her long-awaited second work, ‘Titane’, whose story begins when customs agents at the airport pick up a young man with a bruised face who claims to be Adrien Legrand, a boy who disappeared ten years ago. For Vincent, Adrien’s father, it seems that the nightmare is over, but at the same time, a series of murders are taking place in the area where they live. It stars Agathe Russell and Vincent Landon.

11. ‘Tre Piani’ by Nanni Moretti

The Italian Nanni Moretti is no stranger to the Cannes Film Festival: in 2001 he won the Palme d’Or for ‘The Son’s Room’. Could he repeat twenty years later? For now, we will see if his new film, ‘Tre Piani’, his first adaptation of foreign material, taken from an Israeli book by Eshkol Nevo, will be selected for competition. The film, which is not set in Israel but in Italy, tells the story of three families who live in different apartments in the same building, and who are suffering crises that include child abuse, loneliness, and a past that always comes back. The cast includes Margherita Buy, Riccardo Scamarcio, Alba Rohrwacher, and Moretti himself.

12. ‘A Hero’ by Asghar Farhadi

Winner of two Oscars awards (for ‘Nader and Simin, a separation and ‘The traveler’), Iranian Asghar Farhadi returns to the fray in 2021 with ‘A hero’, which has already been acquired by Amazon Studios for distribution American. A third Oscar in sight? For now, the director could have his sights set on the Cannes Film Festival. After wandering through the Spanish countryside in ‘Everyone Knows’ (which, precisely, was the inaugural Cannes film of his year), Farhadi returns to Iran, his native country, although the details of the story have not yet been released. know.

13. ‘The story of my wife’ by Ildikó Enyedi

After surprising with her film ‘En Cuerpo y alma’, which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 2017, the Hungarian director Ildikó Enyedi will present in Cannes ‘The story of my wife’, an adaptation of the homonymous novel by Milan Fust of 1942 and its first production spoken in English. The story, a variation on the legend of the Flying Dutchman, takes place in the 1920s, where the ship captain Jakob Storr makes a bet with a friend: he will marry the first woman who enters the premises, and that is Lizzy. They star Léa Seydoux, Gijs Naber, Louis Garrel, Josef Hader, Sergio Rubini and Jasmine Trinca.

14. ‘Drive my car’ by Ryusuke Hamaguchi

This Japanese production adapts the tale of acclaimed author Haruki Murakami, which follows the story of actor and theater director Yusuke Kafuku (played by Hidetoshi Nishijima) two years after the sudden death of his wife. The protagonist will have to face a new job in Hiroshima, but it will be the moments with his chauffeur, a very silent young woman played by Toko Miura, that will cause unspeakable secrets to be revealed. It is directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, who already competed in Cannes in 2018 with ‘Asako I & II’ and has won this year’s Grand Jury Prize at the Berlin Festival for ‘Wheel of Fortune And Fantasy’.

15. Sean Penn’s ‘Flag Day

Actor/director Sean Penn’s new film is an adaptation of Jennifer Vogel’s acclaimed memoir, entitled ‘Flim-Flam Man: The True Story of My Father’s Counterfeit Life.’ The author recounted her difficult relationship with her father, a con artist who too often operated on the wrong side of the law by setting fire to buildings, robbing banks, and counterfeiting money. The production has a very personal point: ‘Flag Day’ stars Dylan Penn, the director’s daughter, and Robin Wright.

16. Nabil Ayouch’s ‘Casablanca Beats’

Franco-Moroccan filmmaker Nabil Ayouch will also compete for the Palme d’Or with his new film, ‘Casablanca Beats’, which follows a group of young people living in the Sidi Moumen slum in Casablanca, Morocco, while participating in a workshop that encourages them to express themselves through hip-hop music and dance. As a curiosity, the film was shot at the Les Etoiles de Sidi Moumen cultural center in Casablanca, which Ayouch created in 2014 together with the novelist Mahi Binebine. The feature film was inspired by a hip-hop workshop run downtown by Moroccan rapper Anas Basbousi, who appears in the film. Ayouch was in Cannes in 2015 with ‘Much Loved’, and received applause in Toronto for ‘Razzia’ in 2017.

17. ‘The Divide’ by Catherine Corsini

The filmmaker Catherine Corsini will return for the fifth time to the Cannes Film Festival (she was in the past with the titles’ Les Amoureux ‘in 1994,’ Jeunesse sans Dieu in 1996, ‘Replay’ in 2001, and ‘Three Worlds’ in 2012) with a film which he has written with Laurette Polmanss and Agnès Feuvre. ‘The Divide’ revolves around Raf and Julie, a couple on the brink of a breakup. The context is particular: they find themselves on the night of a large demonstration in Paris, with injured protesters and the tension growing dangerously. The film stars Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Marina Foïs, Pio Marmaï, Jean-Louis Coulloc’h and Aïssatou Diallo Sagna.

18. ‘Lingui, the sacred bonds’ by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

After winning the jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011 for his film ‘Screaming Man’, and returning to repeat in the competition in 2013 with ‘Grigris’, the filmmaker Mahamat-Saleh Haroun returns to the ‘Croisette with the film ‘Lingui, the sacred bonds’. Written and directed by Haroun, the story is set on the outskirts of N’djamena in Chad, where Amina lives with her 15-year-old daughter Maria de Ella. Her fragile world collapses when she discovers that her daughter is pregnant and she does not want the child, in a country where abortion is not only condemned by religion, but also by law.

19. ‘Nitram’ by Justin Kurzel

If there is a film that can cause controversy at this 2021 Cannes Film Festival, it is ‘Nitram’ by Justin Kurzel. And it is that this new work of the director of ‘Macbeth’ could open wounds that still ooze in Australia and Tasmania. The story introduces a lonely guy, played by American Caleb Landry Jones, who is preparing for shooting. Scripted by Shaun Grant, the protagonist and his crimes are based on the infamous 1996 Port Arthur Massacre in Tasmania, in which 35 people were killed and 23 others injured. Apparently, when the project became known, numerous victims and relatives asked that it be abandoned. As we can see, it went ahead, and now it will be seen in Cannes.

20. ‘Red Rocket’ by Sean Baker

The director of the acclaimed ‘The Florida Project, Sean Baker, will also participate in the ‘Croisette this year. As reported by the production company A24, ‘Red Rocket’ is a film with a lot of black humor centered on the character of Mikey Saber, a guy who, after surviving in Los Angeles as a pimp who lives off women in the porn industry He returns to Texas, where his ex-wife and mother-in-law live. Baker has been to Cannes before but has never competed for the Palme d’Or. Will this be his big chance?

21. ‘Tout c’est bien passé’ by François Ozon

You don’t miss one: Frenchman François Ozon is a regular at festivals, including Cannes, where he has already presented six of his films. The seventh will be ‘Tout c’est bien passé’, an adaptation of the novel by Emmanuèle Bernheim. The story follows Emmanuelle, a woman who watches her father André suffers a stroke at 85 and asks him to help end her life. And it won’t be easy. The cast is led by Sophie Marceau and Charlotte Rampling.

22. ‘Hytti no 6 (Compartment no 6)’ by Juho Kuosmanen

Loosely based on Rosa Liksom’s novel, ‘Hytti no 6’ is the film that has brought Juho Kuosmanen back to the Cannes Film Festival. The Finnish director was already in the Un certain regard competition in 2016 with his film ‘The happiest day in the life of Olli Mäki’, which was also his debut feature. Now it presents the story of a young Finnish student who meets a Russian miner on a train. The protagonists are Seidi Haarla and Juri Borisov.

23. ‘The Restless (Les Intranquilles)’ by Joachim Lafosse

Belgian Joachim Lafosse shone at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival with the heartbreaking ‘Losing Your Mind’, and almost a decade later he will return to the competition to remind us why stories about couples on the brink of collapse are so scary. In ‘The Restless (Les Intranquilles)’, he follows the couple of Leïla and Damien, who, despite their deep love for each other, factors such as mental illness and frustrated expectations end up getting in their way. Leïla Bekhti and Damien Bonnard star.

24. ‘France’ by Bruno Dumont

Léa Seydoux repeats three times in this Official Selection of the Cannes Festival thanks to the new film by Bruno Dumont, entitled ‘France’. It will be the ninth participation of the French filmmaker in the ‘Croisette. The story of her new job follows the frenzied life of a famous television star and journalist who gets caught up in the trappings of fame and is subsequently overtaken by a spiral of events that ultimately lead to her downfall. And that will give you a completely different view of the world. The cast is completed by Blanche Gardin, Benjamin Biolay, Emanuele Arioli, Juliane Köhler, Gaëtan Amiel, Jewad Zemmar and Marc Bettinelli.


We review those films that sounded for the Official Selection and that will finally be seen at the Cannes Festival, but in other parallel sections. No, they will not be able to compete for the coveted Palme d’Or, but they could be recognized as some of the best films of the year. Pay attention to them!

‘After Yang’ by Kogonada (Un certain regard)

With ‘Columbus’ he won the hearts of critics and moviegoers, so it was a matter of time: Kogonada will present a new project this year with the support of the prestigious production company A24 and with a cast consisting of Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Justin H. Min, Sarita Choudhury, Clifton Collins Jr., and Brett Dier. The South Korean-born American filmmaker signing ‘After Yang’, based on Alexander Weinstein’s ‘Saying Goodbye to Yang’, takes place in a world where robots serve as babysitters and follows a father and daughter as they try to save their robot, not responding. It was shot in the summer of 2019, and now that the worst of the pandemic has passed, it will be released in Cannes as part of the Un certain regard section.

‘Belle’ by Mamoru Hosoda (Un certain regard)

Beyond Studio Ghibli, Mamoru Hosoda has established himself as one of the great masters of contemporary Japanese anime. He proved it with the past ‘Mirai’ and he will do it again with ‘Belle’, a reinterpretation of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ seen through technological society, a theme he already touched on in ‘Summer Wars’. The story follows Suzu, a 17-year-old student who lives in a rural town with her father and whose life changes when she enters “U”, a virtual world of 5 billion members where she adopts the alter ego of Belle, a singer. world-famous.

‘Lamb’ by Valdimar Jóhannsson (Un certain regard)

After being part of the camera and special effects departments of blockbusters such as ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, ‘Prometheus’ and ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’, Valdimar Jóhansson signs his directorial debut with ‘Lamb’ , which already sounds like one of next season’s movies. Noomi Rapace and Hilmir Snaer Gudnason star in a story that tells the life of a couple on a remote farm who decides to stay with a mysterious newborn who appears one day in their domain. The acclaimed Icelandic poet and novelist Sjón, who is also a co-writer on Robert Eggers’ upcoming film, ‘The Northman’ is the script.

‘Cow’ by Andrea Arnold (Cannes Premiere)

Andrea Arnold is a regular at Cannes. Winner of the Jury Prize for ‘Red Road’ in 2006, ‘Fish Tank’ in 2009, and ‘American Honey’ in 2016, it makes sense for the British director to present her new film on the ‘Croisette. Titled ‘Cow’, it is Arnold’s first documentary film and follows the daily lives of two cows. Wow, perfect for a double session with Kelly Reichardt’s recent ‘First Cow’. Given the director’s affinity for nature-related visual metaphors throughout her films, it was only a matter of time before she made a film about animals and the natural world. It will not compete for the Palme d’Or, but it will be seen in the Cannes Premiere section.

‘Tromperie’ by Arnaud Desplechin (Cannes Premiere)

Frenchman Arnaud Desplechin will have the opportunity in his new film to bring one of his favorite authors to the big screen: Philip Roth. He will do it with ‘Tromperie’, where he adapts the novel ‘Deception’, published in 1990, and where a revealing conversation between unfaithful lovers is narrated. The cast is made up of Léa Seydoux, Denis Podalydès and Emmanuelle Devos. It will be seen in the Cannes Premiere section as part of the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.

‘Where Is Anne Frank’ by Ari Folman (Out of Competition)

‘The Diary of Anne Frank’, the work composed by the royal diary of a young Jewish woman hidden for two years in the times of the Holocaust, has become one of the most important literary pieces of the 20th century. And now we can see it with a new perspective in the new film by Ari Folman, who has already revolutionized the documentary with the innovative ‘Waltz with Bashir’, an animated tale between reality and the nightmare about the invasion of Lebanon in 1982. The Israeli director returns to the feature film eight years after ‘The Congress’ with this new project, entitled ‘Where is Anne Frank’, which will be seen out of competition at Cannes.

Facebook Comments Box

Leave a Reply