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Ten films we can’t wait to see at the Cannes Film Festival 2016

The line-up for the Cannes Film Festival in May has been announced, and from a new Pedro Almodóvar to Steven’s Spielberg’s 'BFG', these are the films that we are most excited about

By Dave Calhoun

The Cannes Film Festival 2016 takes place from May 11-22. It’s the highlight of the movie calendar, premiering agenda-setting films that we’ll all be watching and talking about over the next year. This year’s line-up looks pretty special, with the latest films by American heavyweights Woody Allen and Steven Spielberg, plus new work from some of the globe’s most celebrated filmmakers, including Romania’s Cristi Puiu and Britain’s Ken Loach. Here are the ten movies we’re most looking forward to.

Our Cannes Film Festival top ten

1. Julieta

Film Drama
Director Pedro Almodóvar

It’s already opened in Spanish cinemas to mixed reviews, but we’re always excited by a new film from the Spanish master of knotty, stylish and often outrageous melodramas. This one is the story of two periods in the life of one woman and its focus on a female character has earned it comparisons to earlier Almodóvar films including ‘Volver’ and ‘All About My Mother’.

2. The BFG

Film Fantasy
Director Steven Spielberg

One of Roald Dahl’s most-loved tales finally makes it to the big screen in the hands of one of the cinema's most revered storytellers. The casting of recent-Oscar-winner Mark Rylance as the friendly giant also seriously whets our appetite. We’re excited, too, that the screenwriter is the late Melissa Mathison, who last collaborated with Steven Spielberg on ‘ET’.

3. The Unknown Girl

Film Drama
Directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

Surely Belgium’s Dardenne brothers have bought timeshare apartment in Cannes by now? They’ve premiered six films in competition at the festival and won the Palme d’Or twice, first for ‘Rosetta’ in 1999 and later for ‘The Child’ in 2005. This new film tells of a young doctor (Adèle Haenel) who is determined to discover the identity of a dead girl.

4. American Honey

Film Drama
Director Andrea Arnold

British director Andrea Arnold premiered her first two features, ‘Red Road’ and ‘Fish Tank’, in competition at Cannes, and her last film was the wild-and-windy literary adaptation ‘Wuthering Heights’. ‘American Honey’ is her first US-shot film, and it tells of a teenage girl who hits the road with a travelling magazine sales team. Typically for Arnold, the cast is virtually unknown, with just one name sticking out: Shia LaBeouf.

5. Café Society

Film Comedy
Director Woody Allen

This is the third time that a film by Woody Allen (who is still adored in France) has opened the Cannes Film Festival in a non-competition slot. It’s true that his recent films (basically anything made in the last 15 years) have been patchy, but we’re still planning to be there in the front row, fingers crossed and hoping. This one stars Jesse Eisenberg as a young man who arrives in 1930s Hollywood, all green and hopeful to be part of the movie boom.

6. Loving

Film Drama

Director Jeff Nichols

His well-liked sci-fi ‘Midnight Special’ is still in cinemas, but American filmmaker Jeff Nichols has already finished another film. ‘Loving’ is a drama about an interracial couple who are imprisoned in 1950s Virginia for getting married. Australian actor Joel Edgerton stars as the husband, Richard Loving, while Ethiopian-Irish actress Ruth Negga plays the wife, Mildred.


7. Slack Bay

Film Drama

Director Bruno Dumont

French filmmaker Bruno Dumont’s new film gives us an enticing cast and an eye-grabbing premise. Fabrice Luchini, Juliette Binoche and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi star as members of a wealthy family living in a coastal house in northern France near a spot where tourists keep disappearing. Another, lesser-born family of ferrymen also catches the eye of police investigating the disappearances. Consider us intrigued.

8. It's Only the End of the World

Film Drama

Director Xavier Dolan

It’s still hard to talk about Xavier Dolan without mentioning his age: this is his sixth feature film and the French-Canadian filmmaker is still only 27. His latest film is an adaptation of a 1990 play by the late French playwright Jean-Luc Lagarce, and the starry cast includes Léa Seydoux, Marion Cotillard and Vincent Cassel. The plot involves a writer who returns to his hometown to announce his imminent death to his family.


9. Elle

Film Drama

Director Paul Verhoeven

Dutch director Paul Verhoeven’s career has been relatively quiet of late – this is the man who made ‘RoboCop’, ‘Total Recall’, ‘Basic Instinct’, ‘Showgirls’ and ‘Starship Troopers’ in a busy ten-year period from 1987. ‘Elle’ stars French actress Isabelle Huppert as a tough-minded businesswoman who decides to track down a stranger who attacked her in her own home – leading to a dangerous game being played out between the two of them.

10. The Handmaiden

Film Drama

Director Park Chan-wook

Best known for ‘Oldboy’ and more recently ‘Stoker’, Korean director Park Chan-wook’s new film is inspired by Sarah Waters’s Victorian-set lesbian crime novel ‘Fingersmith’. It tells of a love story between a woman and her maid, and the filmmaker has moved the action to 1930s Korea, a period of Japanese occupation.

More from Cannes Film Festival 2016

Cannes Film Festival, red carpet
© Andrea Raffin

Cannes Film Festival


It’s another strong lineup at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival (May 11-22 2016), with filmmakers including Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Jodie Foster, the Dardenne brothers, Pedro Almodóvar, Bruno Dumont and many more all presenting new films at the world's most prestigious film event – with many of them also competing for the coveted Palme d'Or. 


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