Cannes Film Festival: 5 Things to Look for

On Tuesday, the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival will begin in the south of France. You can expect glamorous gowns and awfully prolonged standing ovations — at Cannes, such things are de rigueur — but what distinguishes this year’s lineup? Here are five things we’ll be watching out for.

Some 45 years after Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, he will return to the Croisette, the festival promenade, with “Megalopolis,” starring Adam Driver as a visionary architect determined to rebuild a city after it’s beset by disaster. Coppola self-financed the longtime passion project to the tune of $120 million, a steep price tag that has so far deterred potential distributors. Puck’s Matthew Belloni reported that at a March screening meant to entice buyers, many came away confounded by Coppola’s vision: “There are zero commercial prospects and good for him,” said one source. But if it’s true that the film is a big, wild swing, it’s hard to imagine a friendlier place for its public debut than Cannes, where the filmmaker is revered.

The biggest movie to debut at Cannes this year will be “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga,” the latest film in director George Miller’s postapocalyptic action franchise. This one serves as a prequel to the Oscar-winning “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which premiered at Cannes to great acclaim in 2015 and produced an unexpected moment at the film’s news conference when star Tom Hardy apologized to Miller for his bad behavior during the shoot. Expect a big bash for the new movie and a major red-carpet moment from its fashionable star Anya Taylor-Joy, who takes over the titular character originated by Charlize Theron.

If any Americans traveling abroad are counting on Cannes for two weeks of respite from this contentious election year, the festival has a rude reminder in the form of Ali Abbasi’s “The Apprentice.” This political origin story of sorts stars Sebastian Stan as a young Donald J. Trump, Maria Bakalova as his first wife, Ivana, and the “Succession” star Jeremy Strong as Trump’s mentor, the fixer Roy Cohn. Could this be the only film at Cannes this year eligible for both the Palme d’Or and a clapback on Truth Social?

Cannes may be the world’s most prestigious film festival, but it rarely goes off without a hitch. This year’s festival is bracing for two potential disruptions. One is a threatened strike by the festival’s workers, who have complained that their short-term jobs do not allow them to qualify for unemployment benefits. The other is a still-breaking story as the French film industry reckons with its own #MeToo movement, with more accusations rumored to come during the festival. Expect a comment from the French actress and director Judith Godrèche, who will be at the festival with the short film “Moi Aussi” (“Me Too”) and recently made headlines after accusing the director Benoît Jacquot of sexually assaulting her when she was 14. She has also accused the director Jacques Doillon of sexually assaulting her twice. Both men have denied the allegations.

This year’s lineup goes heavy on all-star auteurs, with new films from Yorgos Lanthimos (“Kinds of Kindness”), Andrea Arnold (“Bird”), Sean Baker (“Anora”) and Paul Schrader (“Oh, Canada”). But Cannes is even more fun when an unexpected movie pops, as “Anatomy of a Fall” did last year when it earned rave reviews and the Palme d’Or, setting up a path that would eventually lead to Oscar glory.

What will be the movie that no one is anticipating before the festival but everyone will be talking about afterward? I’ll be on the ground trying to sniff it out.

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