77th Cannes Festival: Un certain regard

In Film & Series 13 May, 2024

Eva Peydró

Eva Peydró


From 14 to 25 May, we will attend the 77th Cannes Film Festival, whose previous edition was among the most memorable. This year, the jury of the Un certain regard section, which brings together young films, auteur films, and discoveries, is chaired by Canadian actor, director, screenwriter, and producer Xavier Dolan, who recently expressed his desire to leave the profession. His companions will be the Franco-Senegalese screenwriter and director Maïmouna Doucouré, the Moroccan director, screenwriter, and producer Asmae El Moudir, the German-Luxembourg actress Vicky Krieps, and the American film critic, director, and writer Todd McCarthy.

The 18 films selected include eight debuts. It should be remembered that it was a debut feature, How to Have Sex (Molly Manning Walker, 2023) that won the prize last year, in the opinion of a jury chaired by John C. Reilly. At the 77th edition, director Rúnar Rúnarsson will be responsible for opening Un certain regard on 15 May with his film When the Light Breaks, starring Katla Njálsdóttir and Ellín Hall.


Xavier Dolan © Shayne Laverdière / Maïmouna Doucouré © Sacha Meric / Todd McCarthy © Rebecca Sapp / Vicky Krieps © Virgile Guinard / Asmae El Moudir © Ammar Abd Rabbo.

The Icelandic director will compete against the following films: Armand, a first film co-produced by Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands, directed by Halfdan Ullmann Tondel – grandson of Ingmar Bergman and Liv Ullmann – with the bonus of the participation of Norwegian actress Renate Reinsve, winner of the best actress award at the Cannes Film Festival with The Worst Person In The World (2021), whose director collaborates as executive producer on Ullmann Tondel’s film, who also signs the original story. The director comes to Un certain regard on the strength of his award-winning short films. Another debut will be Louise Courvoisier, who won the first Cinéfondation prize in 2019 with the short Mano a mano, whose cast of newcomers will be headed by Clément Favreau, the French film she competes with in the section is titled Vingt Dieux and introduces us to a young man who seeks to reform himself in the Jura region by creating a cheese that can win a prize. Also, a French production is Niki, the debut of Céline Sallette, who excelled in House of Tolerance (Bertrand Bonello, 2011), for her first feature film has focused on the iconic figure of Niki de Saint Phalle, an essential element in 20th-century artistic circles, played by Charlotte Le Bon, with Damien Bonnard as Jean Tinguely.

French cinema is well represented in Un certain regard, as well as in several co-productions, with the addition of Le Royaume by Julien Colonna, who, after several short films and TV series, has embarked on a story set in his native Corsica in the 1990s. It is a film noir in which, in a gang war, the bond between a father and daughter becomes more intense. Boris Lojkine‘s The Story Of Souleymane brings the African diaspora to Europe, following his award-winning Hope (2014) at the Semaine de la Critique. Abou Sangare makes his feature film debut, playing a Guinean deliveryman struggling to find asylum in Lyon.


Renate Reinseve en Armand (Halfdan Ullmann Tondel, 2024)

On the other hand, China is represented in this section by Black Dog, by director Guan Hu (Mr. Six), who comes to Cannes for the first time with a story of an ex-convict who takes care of stray dogs in the Gobi desert, before the 2008 Olympic Games. More canines, in the Franco-Swiss co-production Le procés du chien, directed by Laetita Dosch, who won the Caméra d’Or in 2017 for Welcome to Montparnasse, which here features an idealistic lawyer who defends, for the first time, a dog who has bitten three people. The comedy brings together Francois Damiens, Jean-Pascal Zadi, Anne Dorval (a regular in Xavier Dolan’s films), and Pierre Deladonchamps. The Damned, a co-production between Italy, the USA, Belgium and Canada, directed by documentary filmmaker Roberto Minervini, is his first fiction film, set in the Civil War, with locations that are very familiar from his previous work (Stop The Pounding Heart and The Other Side).

Latvia, France and Belgium are co-producing Flow, the second animated film directed by Gints Zilbalodis, which shares a section with the first Saudi Arabian film to arrive in official competition at Cannes, Tawfik Alzaidi‘s Norah, following its screening at the Red Sea Festival in December. The film focuses on a young girl from a remote village, played by Maria Bahrawi, who embarks on an adventure after the arrival of a teacher, in conservative Saudi Arabia in the 1990s. Hiroshi Okuyama‘s My Sunshine is a French-Japanese co-production, a coming-of-age film about a couple of children who practice figure skating on a small island in Japan, while their feelings also grow.


Le procés du chien (Laetitia Dosch, 2024).

Africa also arrives at Un certain regard, with two other films, On Becoming A Guinea Fowl (Zambia-Ireland-UK), by Zambian-Welsh director Rungano Nyoni, whose debut film I’m Not a Witch was written at La Résidence at the Cannes Film Festival, won a prize at the festival and won the BAFTA for Best First Film in 2018. Meanwhile, The Village Next To Paradise, co-produced by Austria, Germany, France, and Somalia, by Austria-based Somali director Mo Harawe, brings us a story set in an isolated village, in which a father faces the challenges of everyday life alone, while his sister searches for a new home after her divorce.


Flow (Gints Zilbalodis, 2024).

Indo-British director Sandhya Suri‘s Santosh is her feature debut with a neo-noir, in which Sahana Goswami plays a widow who works as a policeman in rural northern India. Her producer, Mike Goodridge, was part of the team that won the Palme d’Or for  Triangle of Sadness in 2022. Greek-French director Ariane Labed, who appeared as an actress in The Souvenir: Part Two and Lobster, presents her first feature film, September Says, which adapts Daisy Johnson’s gothic novel Sisters, set in Ireland. It stars Mia Tharia, Pascale Kann, and Rakhee Thakrar. The Shameless (Switzerland-Fr-Bul-Tai-India) is the third film by Bulgarian director and screenwriter Konstantin Bojanov, a forbidden love story about two women escaping sexual slavery. Viet And Nam is a co-production of the Philippines, France, Singapore, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Vietnam, and the USA, directed by Truong Minh Quy. This is his feature debut, filmed in 16mm, centered on the relationship between two young miners, who take different paths, one embarking on a merchant ship to Europe and the other staying in his country.

A long festival ahead, full of discoveries and debuts awaits us in Cannes.

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Xavier DolanRenate Reinsve77th Cannes Festival

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