In a decade from now, we might be looking at all the offerings at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and how Charlotte Well’s masterwork debut Aftersun was programmed (it won the inaugural Prix French Touch du Jury prize) at the “other end” of the Croisette. Not a bad legacy for Critics’ Week topper Ava Cahen who moves into year number two of her mandate. After programming a sturdy first edition (our highlights include La Jauría, Tout le monde aime Jeanne and Next Sohee), we expect just as many Euro items with an uptick of emerging female filmmaker talents.
In our predictions for all sections in Cannes, La Semaine de la Critique (Wednesday, May 17th to the 25th) is always the toughest nut to crack with several under-the-radar gem selections (especially those coming from the South America and Asia continents). We expect the usual seven feature films in the comp and when we include the opening, closing and Special screenings we find ourselves with just under fifteen features mark. Here are ten guesses for the upcoming 62nd edition.:
All Dirt Roads Taste Of Salt – 🇺🇸
Producers: Maria Altamirano, Barry Jenkins, Adele Romanski, Mark Ceryak
Last year the Critics’ Week section opened with a Sundance preemed film and of all films to premiere in Park City this ethereal, minimalist, reflective human emotions and connections poem-like film debut by Raven Jackson wouldn’t feel out of place here. All Dirt Roads Taste Of Salt has not had a second festival premiere yet, and it would be fitting if the international film premiere if it were held here – the same location where the Pastel and A24 folks launched Aftersun. A U.S. Dramatic Competition selection that was among the best films with the critics I spoke with, Jackson beautifies everyone with black skin, and gives as much weight to what we see within the frame (cinematographer Jomo Fray’s best work to date) and what we hear out of it – the sound design is on another level. It’s a cozy, warm film that feels lived in. A24
Ebba – 🇳🇴
Producers: Eye Eye Pictures’ Dyveke Bjørkly Graver, Renée Hansen Mlodyszewski.
It would be a return to the section if invited as Johanna Pyykkö profiled her short film The Manila Lover back in ’19. The truly Scandi filmmaker (a Swedish-Finn based in Norway) began production on her debut Ebba back in May on what is described as a noirish dramedy about an 18-year-old girl who works as a housekeeper in Oslo’s upmarket port district and who one day meets a young Bulgarian man who is injured and has amnesia. Ebba will make him believe that they are lovers. Among our most anticipated films (#53) this year, this would be the Croisette’s oddest love connection. Worth noting this was selected in the section’s Next Step project.
La fille de son père – 🇫🇷
Erwan Le Duc
Producers: Domino Films’ Alexis Dulguerian and Stéphanie Bermann.
A sophomore feature that could be programmed in the competition but would likely grab a Special Screenings slot, Erwan Le Duc‘s debut feature The Bare Necessity (2019) was a Directors’ Fortnight selection but he previously attend the Critics Week section with his last short. Filming on La fille de son père began in June of last year with BPM (Beats per Minute) frontman Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Camille Rutherford and a re-teaming with Maud Wyler. This is about Etienne was barely twenty years old when he fell in love with Valérie, and hardly more when their daughter Rosa was born. Then Valerie leaves and abandons them. Etienne chooses not to make a drama out of it, they build a happy life. Sixteen and a half years later, when the father and the daughter will separate in turn, each to live his life, the past resurfaces. Sales: TBA.
How to Have Sex – 🇬🇧
Molly Manning Walker
Producers: Konstantinos Kontovrakis, Emily Leo, Ivana MacKinnon
Another extended member of the Critics’ Week section having had her short Good Thanks, You? premiere there and seeing her feature debut gain support with the 2021 Next Step Critics’ Week (it won the top prize), 2023 could turn out to be a great year for Molly Manning Walker with her scripted Scrapper (directed by Charlotte Regan) receiving praise (and award) at Sundance and with How to Have Sex earmarked for a film festival splash. Working with a lot of fresh talent in Mia McKenna-Bruce, Lara Peake, Shaun Thomas, Sam Bottomley and newcomers Enva Lewis and Laura Ambler, this is about three British teenage girls who go on a rites-of-passage holiday – drinking, clubbing and hooking up, in what should be the best summer of their lives. Expect female friendship to get tested to the fullest. Nicolas Canniccioni signed on as the cinematographer. Sales: MK2 Films.
La morsure – 🇫🇷
Romain de Saint-Blanquat
Producers: Easy Tiger’s Marc-Benoit Créancier.
Filmed at the beginning of ’22, Romain de Saint-Blanquat landed the likes of Léonie Dahan-Lamort, Lilith Grasmug and Cyril Metzger for a set in the late 60’s tale that centers around Françoise and is set in the backdrop of a Catholic High School. Convinced she only has one night to live before she dies, she sneaks out with her friend Delphine to attend a costume party and live this night as if it were her last. We’re getting Ducournau Raw vibes here with La morsure – a project that received prestigious The Gan Foundation coin in 2018. Sales: Films Boutique.
My First Film – 🇺🇸
Producers: Taylor Shung and Riel Roch-Decter
A film that was never completed to eventually become a fascinating touring event about the memory of a film could have been would see the film gods intervene once again to make another tour of the lap. Zia Anger lived a true multiverse experience of her own for what might be the most unique film project berthed in ’23. Featuring Odessa Young and Devon Ross with supporting players Cole Doman, Philip Ettinger, Jane Wickline, Eamon Farren and the fascinating American actress and casting director Eleonore Hendricks, My First Film went into production in the third quarter of ’22 with cinematographer Ashley O’Connor on the creative team. This centers on a young filmmaker (Young) as she recounts the story of struggling to make her first feature. Fact bleeds into fiction, and the past, present, and future converge to create a modern myth that redefines and expands the very act of creation. Mubi
The Permanent Picture – 🇪🇸
Producers: Adria Mones, Gabrielle Dumon, Ariadna Rodriguez, Nadine Rothschild.
We might be calling La imatge permanent a Catalonian anti-comedy if we are reading what has been written on the project. Laura Ferrés moved into production on her debut last September with a tale that follows middle-aged Carmen, a casting director whose world collapses when her boss retires and the production company she works for takes a dramatic turn. Carmen will be forced to participate in a campaign for a corrupted party. Rosario Ortega, María Luengo and Saraida Llamas star. Cinematographer Agnès Piqué Corbera is also on the project. Ferrés is another alumni of the section – her short film The Disinherited was selected in 2017 and she saw this project get introduced in the Next Step Program. This was co-written along with Madrid’s Carlos Vermut and Ulises Porra. Sales: Be For Films.
The Settlers – 🇨🇱
Producer: Giancarlo Nasi
A Cinefondation (2020) selected project that we strongly feel could land anywhere on the Croisette, Felipe Gálvez‘s Los colonos is set in Chile, at the end of the 19th century. Three horsemen are hired by a rich landowner to mark out the perimeter of his expansive property. The expedition, composed of a young Chilean native, an American mercenary, and led by a reckless British lieutenant, soon turns into a “civilizing” raid. The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future‘s Camilo Arancibia, Mark Stanley and Benjamin Westfall star. The Chilean filmmaker workshopped the feature and premiered his short film Rapaz in 2018 and has been hard at work on this project (influenced by John Ford’s The Searchers) developing it for just under a decade. Sales: MK2.
Solitude (working title) – 🇮🇸
Producer: Lilja Osk Snorradóttir
A promising title not that far removed from Iceland’s version of the concrete jungle, Icelandic filmmaker Ninna Pálmadóttir worked from a screenplay written by Rúnar Rúnarsson for her Solitude (still a working title) aka Einvera. Winner of the ArteKino International Award for best project of Coproduction Village at Les Arcs Film Festival (2021) and a return project the year after, this is about Jon, an old farmer forced to leave his farm and move to town. She graduated with an MFA in film directing/screenwriting from NYU Tisch School of the Arts in 2019. She grew up in a small town in north Iceland, surrounded by magnificent and raw scenes of nature that formed her style and personality in the arts. Recently selected as part of the Nordic Film Market Works in Progress, we ranked this most anticipated films (#145) this year.
Sales: The Party Film Sales.
Vincent doit mourir – 🇫🇷
Producers: Claire Bonnefoy, Thierry Lounas.
Karim Leklou (who was at the Critics’ Week last year with Goutte d’or) and Vimala Pons (After Blue) topline Stéphan Castang‘s directorial debut — a project that would have gone into production around the month of September and gained signification amount of in-development traction prior to with the support of the Gan Foundation and advance on receipts from the CNC. The Wildbunch folks describe Vincent doit mourir as a nerve-shredding contemporary spin on the zombie movie, in the tradition of It Follows and Bird Box. This comedy noir could be featured as a Special screening selection and electro-charge the section. Often used Ozon and Du Welz cinematographer Manuel Dacosse is part of the creative team here. Castang, who last directed the Clermont selected “Finale,” had a bit part in Just Philippot’s The Swarm – a Critics’ Week selection.
Sales: Wild Bunch.