Last year’s Un Certain Regard was a vintage year. A trio of films in Return to Seoul, Corsage and Godland could have easily been selected in competition for the Palme. The section gave us the Camera d’Or winner in Riley Keough and Gina Gammell’s War Pony. There were small gems in Saim Sadiq’s Joyland and Alexandru Belc’s Metronom while the big winner (Les Pires) with plenty of heart launched the film careers for Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret. The quality level could be just as solid this year. With the Cannes Premiere section hogging screening times at the Debussy, we don’t see an increase from a 20 film line-up. Below: 24 fiction items plus one docu title that could fit the section.
Amelia’s Children – 🇵🇹
Producers: Gabriel Abrantes, Margarida Lucas.
Gabriel Abrantes really got the film community to take notice when he dropped the co-directed Diamantino in the Critics’ Week in 2018. He might shore up in Cannes with Amelia’s Children – which tells the story of a man whose search for his biological family leads him and his girlfriend Ryley to a magnificent villa high in the mountains of Northern Portugal. His excitement at meeting his long-lost mother and twin brother soon turns to horror when he discovers he is linked to them by a monstrous secret. The thriller stars Carloto Cotta, Brigette Lindy-Paine, Alba Baptista and reteams Abrantes with Anabela Moreira. Sales: Wild Bunch Intl.
La bella estate – 🇮🇹
Producer: Giovanni Pompili.
We originally had Twin Flower filmmaker Laura Luchetti‘s third feature pegged for a Lido launch but the Croisette might be an option for yesteryear summer love. Based on Cesare Pavese’s 1949 novel, La bella estate this is set WWII, 1938, in Torino. Ginia is sixteen years old. She falls in love with a young painter and discovers the city’s artistic circles thanks to her guide Amelia, a sensual young woman, barely older than Ginia. The film went into production in September in Italy with cinematographer Diego Romero Suarez Llanos. Yile Yara Vianello, Deva Cassel, Nicolas Maupas, Alessandro Piavani, Adrien Dewitte, Cosima Centurioni and Gabriele Graham Gasco fill up the cast. Sales: True Colours.
Comme le feu – 🇨🇦
Producer: Unite Centrale
After the Berlinale preemed Les démons (2015) and Locarno showcased Genèse (2018), French Canadian filmmaker Philippe Lesage landed some co-production support for a fourth feature titled Comme le feu. Teaming with cinematographer Balthazar Lab, this tells the story of 16-year-old Jeff is invited by his best friend’s family to stay at a huge estate, isolated in the depths of the woods, where the legendary Blake Cadieux, a great director whom he admires, lives. Secretly in love with Alyosha, his friend’s big sister, Jeff experiences intense emotions during this extraordinary stay. The cast hasn’t been revealed yet but we might find some a mix of international players. Sales: Be for Films.
Le Consentement – 🇫🇷
Producers: Windy Production’s Carole Lambert, Moana Films’ Marc Missonnier.
If calibrated just right it has the potency of rocking the Croisette – the lieu where Vanessa Filho‘s 2018 debut with Marion Cotillard premiered to more jeers and cheers. Gueule d’ange starred Marion Cotillard and landed in the Un Certain Regard section. Filho’s sophomore film is based on Vanessa Springora‘s autobiographical book about being groomed and sexually abused. Le Consentement (Consent) stars Jean-Paul Rouve, Kim Higelin and Laetitia Casta. Production took place in May of last year so this is more than ready. Vanessa Springora tells how she found herself under the influence of a famous writer. In 1986, she was 13; him, almost 50. She explains how she was the victim of a triple predation: sexual, literary and psychic. Sales: SND.
Europa – 🇦🇹
Producers: Mehrdad Mortezai
Austrian–Iranian filmmaker Sudabeh Mortezai will have premiered in Berlin (Macondo), Venice (Joy) and if lady luck is on her side that bingo card will include the South of France. Filming on her third fiction feature took place in May of last year in Albania. Lilith Stangenberg and Jetnor Gorezi topline Europa – it sees Beate — an ambitious executive working at EUROPA, a mysterious private security company set on taking over lands and resources from locals in a remote valley in Southern Albania to implement its secret agenda. Mortezai reteams with cinematographer Klemens Hufnagl. Sales: TBA.
Holly – 🇧🇪
Producers: Antonino Lombardo and Elisa Heene.
For her fifth feature film Belgian filmmaker Fien Troch lassoed Greet Verstraete, newcomer Cathalina Geeraerts and Felix Heremans for what is set in the aftermath of a big school fire. In the wake of the disaster, a 15-year-old girl is treated by a community in mourning as a saviour with a special talent to heal. Cinematographer Frank van den Eeden (who works with Lukas Dhont) joined Troch here for Holly. Troch had her breakout with her previous feature – Home (Best Director prize in the Horizons section) at the Venice International Film Festival in 2016. Sales: Mk2
Ibiza – 🇫🇷
Producers: Jean des Forêts.
La Fille au bracelet filmmaker Stéphane Demoustier lassoed Hafsia Herzi, Moussa Mansaly and Florence Loiret-Caille this past for Ibiza – his fourth feature is a sun-bleached crime drama project that we still don’t have a logline for. Bruno Dumont cinematographer David Chambille joined the creative team here. This is shot on film. Sales: TBA.
Jíkuri – 🇲🇽
Producers: Machete’s Edher Campos, Amplitud’s Pau Brunet, Jana Diaz Juhl.
After a long gestation period (this project was part of 2016’s Cannes The Residence), Federico Cecchetti is finally set to showcase his sophomore film Jíkuri. Starring François Negret, Sylvie Testud, Olivier Rabourdin and introducing raramuri actor José Cruz Apachoachi, this treks the life of Rayenari changes when the poet Antonin Artaud arrives to his village seeking the spiritual knowledge of the Tarahumara. Rayenari introduces him to the Peyote ceremony. However, the poet abandons the ritual and loses his soul. Sometime later, Rayenari discovers through dreams that Artaud has been committed to a mental hospital. It will be through this connection that Rayenari will help his friend to recover what he lost. Cinematographer Ivan Hernandez is onboard here. Sales: TBA.
Lost Country – 🇷🇸
Producers: Omar El Kadi, Janja Kralj, Vladimir Perisic, Nadia Turincev.
Serbian filmmaker Vladimir Perišić will have waited quite a while for his sophomore turn with his Ordinary People having premiered in the Critics’ Week section all the way back in 2009. Flash forward to what should be a major fest premiere this year, Lost Country explores the fallout of a Belgrade when Milošević’s Socialist Party took the first steps to destroy his own country. Alice Winocour is the co-writer here. Belgrade, 1996. Stefan is 14. Following the victory of the opposition party in the elections, Milošević’s Socialist Party falsifies the results. As the party decides to annul the vote, the country enters a turbulent period. Stefan’s mother Marklena is the spokesperson for the party. Because of his love for his mother, Stefan cannot trust his best friend Milan telling him that his very mother is involved in election fraud. Street protests explode. Jasna Đuričić, Marija Škaričić, Jovan Ginić and Boris Isaković make up the cast. Sales: TBA.
Motherhood – 🇹🇳
Producers: Maria Gracia Turgeon, Sarra Ben Hassen, Annick Blanc, Nadim Cheikhrouha
Meryam Joobeur‘s directorial debut will probably draw interest from all three sections on the Croisette but we think it’ll drop here. Production on Motherhood would have taken place last year back in Tunisia with a mix of professional and non-professional actors. This is the tale of Salha, a mother gifted with prophetic dreams and visions, lives in an isolated village in Tunisia. When her eldest son’s sudden return from Syria coincides with a series of strange disappearances in their community, Salha’s maternal love is tested and the family faces how guilt can haunt the human spirit. For those not in the know, Joobeur’s Brotherhood was an Oscar nominated short. Sales: Luxbox
Pendant ce temps sur Terre – 🇫🇷
Producers: One World Films’ Marc du Pontavice
We didn’t even think that live action would have been the charted course for Jérémy Clapin‘s sophomore feature as he broke out with animation in J’ai perdu mon corps – which preemed at the Critic’s Week in 2019. Wim Willaert, Sofia Lesaffre, Megan Northam and Catherine Salée were enlisted in Pendant ce temps sur Terre (Meanwhile On Earth) – which revolves around an “absent” hero: an astronaut lost in the emptiness of space. His absence is spoken about indirectly here, from planet Earth. He was the nation’s son, loved and admired by all. But he’s primarily always on the mind of his little sister Elsa, who’s the real “fully present” heroine in this story. Production took place in August of lat year. Sales: Charades
Puán – 🇦🇷
Maria Alche, Benjamin Naishtat
Producers: Pasto Cine’s Barbara Francisco, Pucará Cine’s Federico Eibuszyc and Barbara Sarasola.
Argentinean filmmaker Benjamín Naishtat of Rojo fame and actress turned filmmaker Maria Alche (A Submerged Family) joined forces for Puán which finds the likes of Leonardo Sbaraglia, Marcelo Subiotto and Julieta Zylberberg in a comedy that tells a “coming-of-middle-age” story about a multitasking professor and father who finds himself with little time for abstract thought when a much-coveted philosophy chair arises following the death of a close mentor. Worth noting: the cinematographer here is recent Berlinale winner Hélène Louvart. Sales: TBA.
Le retour – 🇫🇷
Producers: Les Films du Bal’s Judith Lou Lévy & Eve Robin.
While Alice Diop moved from docu to fiction, some filmmakers are now moving into the docu realm e.g. Andrea Arnold. The French-Senegalese filmmaker who wowed auds back in Atlantique in 2019 (winner) appears to be in the same mindset. Discreetly working on a project initially titled “L’Énigme du retour,” Mati Diop‘s Le retour focuses on the return of the royal treasures of Abomey in Benin, snatched away by colonial plunder, to a country that has had to build itself up and come to terms with their absence. This is a wild guess on our part, but it could indeed be part of the larger line-up. Sales: TBA.
Rien à Perdre – 🇫🇷
Producer: Curiosa Films’ Oliver Delbosc
Delphine Deloget directorial debut starring Virginie Efira and Arieh Worthalter looking to premiere big. Rien à Perdre tells the story of Sylvie who lives in Brest with her two children, Sofiane and Jean-Jacques. Together, they form a close-knit family. One night, Sofiane is injured while alone in the flat while his mother is at work. The incident is reported and Sofiane is placed in a foster home. Helped by a lawyer, her brothers and her children’s love, Sylvie is determined to win the administrative and legal battle. If Deloget goes to the Croisette it’ll be here second time – she directed No London Today which was selected for the ACID section. Sales: TBA.
La Rosalie – 🇫🇷
Stéphanie Di Giusto
Producers: Trésor Films’ Alain Attal.
I think the chances for an Italy splash is more probable (production took place in October), but perhaps Stéphanie Di Giusto will return to the same section where she launched her debut film in 2016’s La danseuse. With Nadia Tereszkiewicz toplining and supporting players in Benoît Magimel, Benjamin Biolay, Gustave Kervern, Guillaume Gouix and Juliette Armanet, La Rosalie is inspired by Clémentine Delait – known as France’s bearded lady. This is set at the end of the 19th century and recounts the destiny of the first bearded woman, at the heart of a love story. Sales: Gaumont
Rossosperanza – 🇮🇹
Producers: Mad Entertainment’s Maria Carolina Terzi.
We have not one but two Italian filmmakers that have a shot for the Un Certain Regard section and we think Annarita Zambrano might return here. She had her shorts pop up before unveiling her 2017 debut After the War there and Rossosperanza could follow suit. Winner of the Les Arcs’ Work in Progress section, this is set in 1989. After a violent accident, Zena is sent by her parents to a clinic for problem children hailing from comfortable backgrounds. Here she meets other teens rebelling against the corrupt and privileged environment into which they were born champion. Antonio Zavatteri, Rolando Ravello, Eliana Miglio and Andrea Sartoretti star. Sales: TBA.
The Royal Hotel – 🇦🇺
Producers: Emile Sherman, Iain Canning, Liz Watts, Kath Shelper
We’ve been a huge fan of her work dating back to Ukraine Is Not a Brothel (2013), Casting JonBenet (2017) and more recently The Assistant (2019). For her fourth feature, Kitty Green reteamed with actress Julia Garner and added Jessica Henwick, Hugo Weaving and Toby Wallace to the Australian outback last summer. The Royal Hotel follows American backpackers Hannah and her friend Sydney, who resort to a working holiday at the Royal Hotel, a bar in a tiny, male-dominated mining town deep in the Australian Outback. The hotel is notorious for cycling through young female employees every few months, and it isn’t long before they are subjected to mind games and manipulation, trapped in the middle of nowhere, unsure who to trust. Neon
Sisters – 🇸🇪
Producer: Nima Yousefi.
On paper Swedish filmmaker Mika Gustafson‘s first feature in fiction sounds like Kitchen Sink realism. Mostly casting non-actors, Sisters was co-written with Alexander Öhrstrand, and sees Ida Engvoll play Hanna, a young woman drawn into an unexpected adventure when she encounters Laura (16), eldest of a trio of socially-deprived sisters. Laura asks Hanna to “play” their mum when social services come knocking at the sisters’ doors, threatening to separate them and place them in a foster home. But when Hanna shows her affection, Laura loses control and starts spiralling downwards. Bianca Delbravo, Dilvin Asaad and Safira Mossberg shine here. Sales: Intramovies.
Soudain, seuls – 🇫🇷
Producers: Tresor Films’ Alain Attal.
We were leaning towards a possible Toronto showcase, but Thomas Bidegain has had a long history with Cannes of course via Jacques Audiard’s films (as scribe). His third feature film is based on the Isabelle Autissier’s French-language novel that follows a couple that must fight for survival after they become stranded on an island which was supposed to be their dream journey. Soudain, seuls features Gilles Lellouche and Melanie Thierry. Sales: StudioCanal.
Stepne – 🇺🇦
Producers: Maryna Vroda, Agnieszka Dziedzic.
While Maryna Vroda has been busy since she won the Palme d’Or for her 2011, Stepne will in fact be her feature debut. The film would have possibly shot in sometime in 2020 and we can just imagine that putting the final touches were made more difficult when your homeland is invaded by the neighboring country. Written alongside Kirill Shuvalov, this is set amidst stunning Ukrainian winter landscapes, vanishing villages and emerging feeling of alienation between people in a post-Soviet society, Stepne is a story of a mature man who comes back home from the city to take care of his dying mother. The mother’s passing, together with a meeting with his brother and a woman he loves make him reflect on the life he’s had and choices he’s made along the way. And then, just before her death, the mother tells Anatoly about a treasure she has buried inside the shed. Andrey Lisetzkiy was the cinematographer here. Sales: New Europe Film Sales.
Swimming Home – 🇬🇧
Producers: Giorgos Karnavas, Paula Linhares, Emily Morgan, Andrew Starke.
It’s our most anticipated debut feature film this year and we were originally leaning towards a possible Venice splash since this shot around October of last year but our Spidey-Sense says south of France instead. Based on the novel by Deborah Levy, Justin Anderson‘s Swimming Home follows of Joe and Isabel’s marriage, which is dying. A naked stranger is found floating in the pool at their holiday villa, and they invite her to stay. What kind of relief can she provide for this family in crisis? Ariane Labed, Christopher Abbott, Mackenzie Davis and Nadine Labaki star in the Greece set demented portrait. Sales: Bankside Films.
Le Temps d’aimer – 🇫🇷
Producers: Les Films Pelléas’ David Thion and Philippe Martin, Les Films du Bélier’s Justin Taurand.
She had her first two films premiere in Cannes back with Quinzaine offerings in 2010’s Love Like Poison and 2013’s Suzanne and for her fourth feature (which went into production back in June of last year) Katell Quillévéré employed the services of Anaïs Demoustier and Vincent Lacoste for Le temps d’aimer – a set during war time 1947 where a waitress in a hotel restaurant, mother of a little boy, meets François (Lacoste), a rich and cultivated student. The force of attraction that pushes them towards each other is commensurate with the secrecy that each carries. If we know what Madeleine wants to leave behind by following this young man, we discover over time, what François is desperately trying to flee by mixing Madeleine’s fate with his. Sales: Charades.
Veni Vidi Vici – 🇦🇹
Producer: Ulrich Seidl
Daniel Hoesl moves back into fiction with Veni Vidi Vici (a recent Les Arcs Film Festival Work in Progress winner). Laurence Rupp, Ursina Lardi, Dominik Warta, Johanna Orsini, Markus Schleinzer and Olivia Goschler star in a possible dramedy about a billionaire family obsessed with hunting. Nothing bad could possibly happen to them. Hoesl doesn’t have a connection with the fest – having premiered Soldier Jane (2013) at Sundance and Rotterdam (picking up the Tiger Award) and Winwin (2016) at Rotterdam. Production on this third fic feature took place last June in Vienna. Hoesl reteams with cinematographer Gerald Kerkletz. Sales: TBD.
Wil – 🇧🇪
Producers: Hans Everaert, Guy Goedgezelschap, Tomas Leyers, Jan Segers.
We feel the packaging for this third feature film by Tim Mielants makes for a good fit for this section; a relatively new filmmaker taking on a heavy subject and book-to-film adaptation in the same token. Kevin Janssens, Dimitrij Schaad, Matteo Simoni and Pierre Bokma starred in Wil – a production that began last May. Set in wartime ’42, Will and Lode, two young policemen in the occupied city of Antwerp, are forced to take part in the manhunt for Jews. At the same time, they support the resistance. And in the midst of all the chaos and violence, love blossoms: Will falls head over heels for the charms of Lode’s sister Yvette. A contradictory cocktail of emotions brings him to the brink. For how do you simultaneously save yourself, your loved ones and the Jews from the clutches of the occupier?
La Fille qu’on appelle – 🇫🇷
Along with Beginning, Charlène Favier‘s feature debut Slalom was one of the highlights of the canceled 2020 edition of Cannes. One of our most anticipated (#36 on our most anticipated films list) sophomore films for ’23 slate should be more than ready as it filmed last July. Based on Tanguy Viel’s novel of the same name, Alba Gaïa Bellugi toplines La Fille qu’on appelle and this drama also features Jean-Pierre Martins, Pascal Gregory and Anne Suarez. This is the tale of a boxer Max Le Corre who is also a driver for the mayor of the city. Above all, he is Laura’s father who, at the age of twenty, decided to come back and live with him. So Max thought it would be a good idea if the mayor could help him find a place to live. UPDATE: This is a film made for television!
What do you think of our predictions? Any other titles you think might drop here? Leave your comments below!
Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at IONCINEMA.com (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).