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12 films this critic can't wait to see at 2022 Cannes Film Festival

Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Recipes by Zola

The promise of a meaty lead role for the great Emily Watson bodes well for this moral drama set in an Irish fishing village. Also that it's the latest work from Anna Rose Holmer (co-directing here with editor Saela Davis), whose 2015 drama, "The Fits," is one of the most arresting debut features in recent memory. The film is screening in Directors' Fortnight, an independently curated section that runs parallel to the festival's main program.

7. "One Fine Morning"

Mia Hansen-Løve ("Eden," "Things to Come") didn't wow everyone at Cannes last year with her film-within-a-film meta-travelogue "Bergman Island," though this critic was more than sufficiently charmed. I know next to nothing about her latest, except that it features a few French actors I've mentioned already (Seydoux, Poupaud) and is playing in Directors' Fortnight. Since that's where Hansen-Løve first made waves with her wonderful debut feature, "All Is Forgiven," I'm seeing that as an auspicious sign.

8. "R.M.N."

Cristian Mungiu won the Palme in 2007 for his searing drama "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" and also won prizes for his next two features, "Beyond the Hills" and "Graduation." Whether or not that streak continues with his new competition entry, "R.M.N.," he remains one of the foremost practitioners of new Romanian cinema, and his latest sounds like another rigorously unnerving moral tale that illuminates the inner darkness of an entire community. It's co-produced by the great Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, who, as it happens, are competing this year for their third Palme d'Or (!) with "Tori and Lokita."

9. "Scarlet"

Italian director Pietro Marcello made one of my favorite movies of recent years with his gorgeous and inventive Jack London adaptation, "Martin Eden." His latest is another exercise in cross-cultural inspiration, a free adaptation of the novella "Scarlet Sails," by Russian author Aleksandr Grin, that takes place in northern France between the two world wars. It stars Juliette Jouan, Raphaël Thierry, Louis Garrel and Noémie Lvovsky, and it's the opening film of Directors' Fortnight.

10. "Smoking Causes Coughing"


I confess that I look forward to just about every new cinematic wackadoodle from Quentin Dupieux, the pranksterish mastermind behind "Rubber," "Deerskin" and "Mandibles." Not much has been disclosed about the content of his latest, which is playing in the festival's midnight section, but the title's enough for me.

11. "Stars at Noon"

Claire Denis ("Beau Travail," "35 Shots of Rum") has been one of the world's great filmmakers for decades, which is why it's bewildering that she hasn't competed at Cannes since her great 1988 debut, "Chocolat." But she finally cracked the competition a second time with this romantic thriller adapted from a Denis Johnson novel; it stars Joe Alwyn and Margaret Qualley and unfolds against the tumultuous backdrop of the 1984 Nicaraguan revolution. It's Denis' second new movie of 2022 after "Both Sides of the Blade," which won the directing prize at this year's Berlin International Film Festival. (Coincidentally, that movie stars Vincent Lindon, who happens to be the president of this year's Cannes competition jury. Hmm … )

12. "War Pony"

The Pine Ridge Reservation, stretches of which were seen in Chloé Zhao's independent dramas "Songs My Brothers Taught Me" and "The Rider," is the setting for this fact-inspired story of friendship, family and loss, directed by Riley Keough (the actor known for her roles in "American Honey" and "Zola") and Gina Gammell. It's premiering in Un Certain Regard, a strand of the festival's official selection devoted to new and emerging voices, some of whom invariably figure among the festival's most exciting discoveries.


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