Cannes 2017

Movies to be Excited About Premiering at Cannes Film Festival 2017

It’s that time of year again! On Wednesday, May 17th in the seaside town of Cannes, France, the renowned international film festival will kick off. The festival was created in 1939 by the French Minister of National Education and Fine Arts, Jean Zay, along with other political figures. The only international film festival at the time was the Venice Mostra; however, the 1938 competition was said to have been influenced by Adolf Hitler, who put pressure on the judges to name a Nazi propaganda film as the winner. The point of the new festival by Zay was to introduce a “film festival for Europe in which art would no longer be influenced by political maneuvering.” Unfortunately, the first festival was put on hold and eventually cancelled upon news that Hitler had invaded Poland.

Despite its rocky beginnings, the Festival de Cannes (officially titled in 2002) continues to be one of the most celebrated and impressive international film festivals in the world. While the festival takes place in Europe and features many European films, many American actors and directors have been a part of it. Some include Natalie Portman (“A Tale of Love and Darkness”), Jeff Nichols (“Loving”), Tommy Lee Jones (“The Homesman”), Julianne Moore (“Maps to the Stars”), and Joel and Ethan Cohen (“Inside Llewyn Davis”).

This year’s festival promises an impressive crew of directors and actors, and they are all anxious to go home with the Palme d’Or (the Cannes’ highest award). The films are provocative and entertaining; however, it is apparent that a political message has made its way into this year’s lineup. Every year in May, the film industry suddenly zooms in on a small resort town in France: Cannes, home of what is arguably the world’s most famous film festival. This year, the celebrations will be especially extravagant as the Cannes Film Festival celebrates turning 70. Here are a few movies that will certainly make a splash this year.


“The Beguiled”

Sofia Coppola puts a feminist twist on the 1971 Clint Eastwood film about an injured soldier trapped in a girls’ boarding school, focusing on the bonds between women at the school instead of the male narrative. The soldier, played by Colin Farrell, becomes entwined in the affections of several women (played by Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning, and Claire Danes). It’ll be interesting to see how Coppola frames the movie around women’s friendship as opposed to the previous male viewpoint. As Coppola told Entertainment Weekly, “The main crux of the story is about the dynamics between a group of women all stuck together, and then also the power shifts between men and women.”

While not a politically-charged film, Sophia Coppola’s newest film is generating a lot of buzz at the Cannes this year. The film boasts a full cast, including Nicole Kidman (“Australia”), Colin Farrell (“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”), Kirsten Dunst (“Marie Antoinette”), and Elle Fanning (“Maleficent”). A remake of the 1971 classic starring Clint Eastwood, this creepy thriller is sure to send some chills down the spines of the Cannes’ audience.


“Twin Peaks”

After David Lynch’s disastrous 1992 Cannes debut of “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me,” the director chose to stay silent on his classic series for two decades. Now he’s premiering two new episodes of the show at the festival. Cannes has traditionally ignored television, but now it’s reluctantly embracing not only TV shows but virtual reality showcases and even series from Netflix. “Twin Peaks” isn’t the only TV show to premiere at Cannes; Jane Campion’s “Top of the Lake” will screen a few episodes as well. It’s a paradigm shift for the intensely traditional film festival that has long favored artistic and indie productions.

“Sea Sorrow”

Directed by Vanessa Redgrave, this documentary also deals with the European refugee crisis. The 80-year-old Oscar-winning actress was shocked by the death of three-year-old Alan Kurdi, whose lifeless body washed upon the shore became one of the most iconic photographs of the decade. Redgrave drew parallels between the refugee crisis and Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” The title of the film derives from “The Tempest” as well: “Our sea sorrow,” recites main character Prospero to his daughter Miranda, telling her of the dramatic escape they made from Milan when Miranda was only three.

Set to show during the Special Screening section, this documentary stars Ralph Fiennes (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”), Emma Thompson (“Sense and Sensibility”), and depicts the current refugee crisis in the Middle East. It is the directorial debut for actress Vanessa Redgrave (“Mrs. Dalloway” and “Letters to Juliet”). The documentary highlights the importance of filmmakers finding a story they believe in.


“The Killing of a Sacred Deer”

Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman pair up again for this artistic thriller-horror film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Lobster”). Farrell plays a brilliant surgeon who becomes drawn into the life of a dysfunctional teenage boy; Kidman, who stars in an incredible four Cannes-selected films, plays his wife. It’ll be fascinating to see how the dynamic between Farrell and Kidman shifts in this narrative, as they also play love interests in “The Beguiled.”



Netflix quickly made itself known in the world of film, winning the Academy Award for best documentary for “The White Helmets.” Now Netflix is taking on the Cannes Festival with their newest film “Okja.” From the mind of South Korean director Bong Joon-ho (“Snowpiercer”) and starring Tilda Swinton (“Doctor Strange”), the film depicts a young girl who will risk everything to save her animal friend from a multi-billion-dollar corporation. The film discusses animal cruelty and the things that separate – and don’t separate – man from animal. It also stirred some controversy when Cannes insisted the film premiere at the festival, while Netflix wanted to stream the film to their online customers. The short feud highlights the question of where film festivals fit in the digital age of film.

“Happy End”

Also in competition this year is the newest film by director Michael Haneke. Haneke made film industry buzz after his film “Amour” won the Palme d’Or in 2012 and the Academy Award for best foreign language film in 2013. Set in Calais, France, the film follows a family’s drama during the European refugee crisis. This film is set in Cannes itself and tells the timely tale of a middle-class family’s method of dealing with the refugee crisis in Europe. It’s directed by Michael Haneke, who previously won the prestigious Palme D’Or (the festival’s highest prize) for both “Amour” and “White Ribbon.” Film critics are interested to see if Haneke will win the prize again, which would make him the only director to win it three times. Despite the title, rumor has it this film does not have a happy ending.


“An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power”

With the Paris Agreement and the mainstreaming of alternative energies, it seemed like the world agreed on climate change – and was on the way to fixing it. However recent statements by President Trump have made the world concerned about the United States’ role in the fight to stop global warming. Many attribute the current focus on climate change to Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” Now, over 10 years later, and with the fate of the planet hanging in the air, Gore releases his sequel to bolster support for the end of greenhouse gas emissions. The film is set to show during the Special Screening section, but we are sure it will ruffle some feathers this year.

“120 Battements par Minute”

Set in Paris in the 1990s, this French film by director Robin Campillo (“Eastern Boys”) follows the efforts of the Parisian group Speak Out. The organization started in 1989 and works to dispel the stigma and apathy surrounding the AIDS crisis. Campillo’s film depicts the organization in a drama starring Adèle Haenel (“The Unknown Girl”) and Nahuel Pérez Biscayart (“All Yours”). While the story is fiction, former president of Speak Up, Philippe Mangeot, was a consultant for the script.

Do you picture yourself at the Cannes festival one day? Check out this interview with NYFA alumni and Cannes winner, Maul Gohel. The Cannes Film Festival will take place May 17th – 28th in Cannes, France.

What are you most excited about in this year’s Cannes? Let us know in the comments below, and learn filmmaking at New York Film Academy!

Cannes 2017: Best Celebrity Sightings at Cannes

Each May, the entertainment industry turns its eyes to the beautiful resort town of Cannes, France, not only eager to see the film festival’s media offerings, but to see the stars. One of the top film festivals in the world, Cannes attracts celebrities from actors to directors, from singers to producers. To help you prepare for this year’s celebrity spotting at Cannes, we’ve listed here some of the A-listers whose presence is hotly anticipated at this year’s festival:

Nicole Kidman

Kidman is involved in four official selection titles at this year’s Cannes, which will likely make her this year’s star. She is starring in two films that are in competition (“The Beguiled” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”) and two films out of competition (“How to Talk to Girls at Parties” and “Top of the Lake: China Girl”). Though they are not related to Cannes, Kidman is also starring in a popular HBO mini-series “Big Little Lies” and has a part in the upcoming “Aquaman” film. It looks like 2017 is Ms. Kidman’s year!

Colin Farrell

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Across from Kidman is her co-star in two Cannes films, both in competition: Colin Farrell. Over the past year Farrell has upped his game, starring in a Harry-Potter-universe film (“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”) and a dark science-fiction comedy by director Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Lobster”). Colin is teaming up with Lanthimos again in his newest drama, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer.” Farrell also plays the part of the Union soldier in Sophia Coppola’s new thriller at Cannes, “The Beguiled.”

Kristen Stewart

by celebrityabc on Flickr

by celebrityabc on Flickr

Stewart has come a long way since her days in vampire teen-flicks, starring in two films by French director Olivier Assayas (“Personal Shopper” and “Clouds of Sils Maria”). Now she is making her directorial debut at Cannes 2017 with her short film “Come Swim” (part of the 70th Anniversary Event section). Stewart’s previous beau and “Twilight” co-star Robert Pattinson will also be in attendance for the film “Good Time,” which is in competition for the Palme d’Or.

Alejandro González Iñárritu

As a director, producer, and screenwriter, Mexican-born Iñárritu has made his mark in the film scene. He won the Academy Award for best picture in 2015 for his film “Birdman” and directed Leonardo DiCaprio in his Oscar-winning performance in “The Revenant.” Iñárritu also won best director for both films and even won best director at Cannes for “Babel” in 2006. This year, he is screening his newest film, “Carne Y Arena,” (or “Flesh and Sand”) — which is the only film in the Virtual Reality section of the festival. Based on true accounts, this exhibit allows the viewer to experience the life of a refugee.

Tilda Swinton

by Gage Skidmore on Flickr

by Gage Skidmore on Flickr

Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton will also be in attendance for her starring role in “Okja.” The new sci-fi is directed by Bong Joon-ho, who previously directed another sci-fi with Swinton, “Snowpiercer” (2013). “Okja” will become the first Netflix film in a Cannes festival, and tells the story of a young girl who tries to protect an animal friend from a multi-billion-dollar corporation. The film also stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, and Lily Collins.

Barkhad Abdi

The Somali-American actor and director made his debut in “Captain Phillips” (2013), playing alongside Tom Hanks. His performance as the pirate leader earned him a nomination for best supporting actor in the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, and he won that category at the BAFTA Awards. Abdi stars in the newest Safdie Brothers’ film at Cannes, “Good Times.” This crime drama about a bank robber also stars Robert Pattinson and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Emma Thompson

Of all the British actors to make their way into the hearts of Americans, Emma Thompson is one of the most beloved. She has starred in multiple classics, such as “Love Actually,” “Sense and Sensibility,” “Brave,” and the “Harry Potter” films, and voiced a character in the newest adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast.” Her filmography goes on and on, and her newest addition to the list will be showcased at Cannes this year in competition: “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)” has an all-star cast, including Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, and Dustin Hoffman.

Adam Sandler

by celebrityabc on Flickr

by celebrityabc on Flickr

Speaking of Adam Sandler, some of you might think that Cannes is the last place you would see this slapstick comedian. However, critics insist that Sandler isn’t playing his normal roles in “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected).” The film follows an estranged family that comes together in New York City for an event with their artistic father. Sandler has delivered some endearing performances in films before, such as “Click” and “Reign Over Me.” Perhaps he will wow audiences at Cannes this year and establish himself as a serious actor.

Julianne Moore

Moore is not a stranger to the Cannes festival, having won the award for best actress in 2014 for David Cronenberg’s “Maps to the Stars.” Her newest film at Cannes, “Wonderstruck,” is based off an illustrated young adult novel of the same name. It is a dual story that follows two deaf children, and also stars Michelle Williams. Like the other popular streaming-service, Netflix, this will be the first time Amazon has had a film in the Cannes festival.

David Lynch

The Cannes festival has long resisted the inclusion of TV shows in their lineup; however, it looks like this year will be an exception. David Lynch has been a part of the festival before, screening his prequel film to the “Twin Peaks” series, titled “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me” (1992). The film did was not received warmly, but this has not deterred Lynch from coming back. The first two episodes of his “Twin Peaks” reboot will premiere at this year’s Cannes in the 70th Anniversary Events section. Will the show be met with acceptance or more criticism? Find out soon!

There will be plenty of other friendly faces at this year’s Cannes … who are you excited to see? Who do you hope will win? The Cannes Film Festival will take place May 17th – 28th in Cannes, France. Learn more about filmmaking at New York Film Academy.