Cannes sets lineup with Lanthimos, Coppola and Trump film ‘The Apprentice’

The red steps at Cannes. (Photo (C) Mathilde Petit-Boh / FDC; from Cannes official website)

New films from Yorgos Lanthimos, Andrea Arnold and Francis Ford Coppola, as well as a portrait of 1980s Donald Trump, will compete for the Palme d’Or at the 77th Cannes Film Festival next month, organizers announced April 11.

Thierry Frémaux, Cannes’s artistic director who announced the selections in a news conference in Paris with festival president Iris Knobloch, said this year’s lineup was plucked from 2,000 submissions. Though Frémaux noted he went into the process concerned about the effect of last year’s strikes on American films, the lineup is typically full of top international filmmakers as well as a few hotly anticipated blockbusters.

Among the 19 films selected for competition is Lanthimos’ “Kinds of Kindness,” the Greek director’s follow-up to the Oscar-winning “Poor Things.” Its cast includes two stars of “Poor Things”: Emma Stone and Willem Dafoe.

Paolo Sorrentino, the Italian filmmaker of “The Great Beauty,” returns to Cannes with “Parthenhope,” a Naples-set drama co-starring Gary Oldman. Arnold, the British director of “American Honey” and “Fish Tank,” also returns to Cannes with “Bird,” starring Barry Keoghan and Franz Rogowski.

Sure to draw attention will be Ali Abbasi’s “The Apprentice,” a film about the former president’s early business career. In it, Sebastian Stan stars as Trump, Jeremy Strong plays Roy Cohn and Maria Bakalova co-stars as Ivana Trump. The Iranian director Abbasi was previously in competition at Cannes with 2022’s “Holy Spider.”

Numerous other big-name filmmakers are also returning to Cannes, which runs May 14-25. Among them: David Cronenberg (“The Shrouds,” with Vincent Cassel and Diane Kruger); Paul Schrader (“Oh, Canada,” with Richard Gere and Uma Thurman) and the lauded Chinese director Jia Zhang-Ke (“Caught By the Tides”). Also in competition are Sean Baker (“Anora”), whose “Red Rocket” and “The Florida Project” also premiered at Cannes; and the French filmmaker Jacques Audiard (“Emilia Perez”), who won the Palme in 2015 for “Dheepan.”

As previously reported, Francis Ford Coppola’s “Megalopolis” will premiere in competition in Cannes. The 85-year-old director’s self-financed, long-gestating epic will debut 50 years after his “The Conversation” won the Palme d’Or.

This year’s Cannes follows a banner 2023 edition that featured the premieres of three films that went on to win best-picture nominations at the Academy Awards: Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon”; Jonathan Glazer’s “The Zone of Interest”; and Justine Triet’s Palme d’Or winner “Anatomy of a Fall.”

“Anatomy of a Fall” was only the third film directed by a woman to win the Palme. This year, there are four female filmmakers in competition. Fremaux said he may add further selections in the coming weeks.

Cannes had already lined up a few notable world premieres playing out of competition including George Miller’s “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” and Kevin Costner’s “Horizon, An American Saga.” George Lucas is set to received an honorary Palme d’Or at the closing ceremony. The festival will kick off May 14 with the French comedy “The Second Act,” starring Léa Seydoux and Vincent Lindon.

Greta Gerwig, coming off the success of “Barbie,” is heading the jury that will decide the Palme d’Or.

Some entries will take on added poignance, Frémaux noted, due to current events. The first selection he announced Thursday was Yolande Zauberman’s documentary “The Beauty of Gaza,” about transgender Palestinians who emigrate to Tel Aviv. Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa will debut his documentary “The Invasion,” on Russia’s war on his native country.

One new addition this year: The festival is launching a competitive immersive section featuring works of virtual and augmented reality.

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