9 Most Anticipated Films at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival

We preview the most buzzworthy titles, from Top Gun: Maverick and Elvis to new films from Claire Denis, David Cronenberg, Hirokazu Kore-eda, and more.

by | May 13, 2022 | Comments

In just a few days, the French Riviera will again welcome a multitude of international filmmakers and industry professionals, as students, journalists, and cinema enthusiasts flock to the Palais Du Festivals for another edition of the Cannes Film Festival. For the fourth year straight, we will be on the ground to provide you with behind-the-scenes details of all the glitzy premieres.

Never one to avoid controversy, the festival at first appeared yet again to fall painfully short of its goal of gender parity in the main competition. However, some late additions did improve the female representation. Marquee titles like Baz Lurhmann’s Elvis and new efforts by David Cronenberg, Clarie Denis, Mia Hansen-Løve, George Miller, and Ethan Coen will premiere alongside much-anticipated debuts from Riley Keough and Lee Jung-jae (Squid Game), and we will be keeping track of the Tomatometer scores with our Cannes Scorecard.

As is the case with every film festival, some titles have already captured the attention of film fans, and we have highlighted the most anticipated narrative features set to premiere next week. Read on for our most anticipated films at the 74th edition of the Cannes Film Festival.

Are you buzzing about that you think we missed? Let us know in the comments.

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Cast: Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Ed Harris, Val Kilmer, Jay Ellis

Official Synopsis: After more than 30 years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. When he finds himself training a detachment of Top Gun graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen.

Why we want to see it: You don’t need to take our word for it. The reviews are in, and just about everyone agrees it is the best sequel Top Gun could ever ask for, with some going as far as to call it the better entry of the two. Tomris Laffly of wrote the new Top Gun is a “breathless, gravity and logic-defying sequel.” Set to premiere out of competition next week ahead of its global debut, the film will likely come with a large-scale event following the premiere, potentially with some aviation assists from its star pilot, Tom Cruise.

Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda

Cast: Bae Doona, Song Kang-ho, Lee Ji-eun, Gang Dong-won

Official Synopsis: Stories centered on people who mind boxes that are left out for people to drop off their unwanted babies anonymously.

Why we want to see it: Hirokazu Kore-eda is a director who always gets us excited, especially when he’s on a Cannes lineup. On his last trip to “The Croisette” Kore-eda premiered a family tear-jerker, Shoplifters, and took home the Palme d’Or. This time around, the Japanese filmmaker is back with another socio-political dramedy, Broker, following a fictitious group of minders who take in “‘baby boxes” for abandoned children. Kore-eda developed the project for a chance to work with Parasite actor and South Korean mega-star Song Kang-ho and re-cast his Air Doll star Bae Doona (Sense 8).

Director: Baz Luhrmann

Cast: Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Dacre Montgomery

Official Synopsis: The film chronicles the life and career of singer and actor Elvis Presley, from his early days as a child to becoming a rock and roll and movie star and his complex relationship with his manager Colonel Tom Parker.

Why we want to see it: Easily one of the most anticipated films of the 2022 season, Elvis is the first feature from Baz Luhrmann in nearly 10 years. After several failed attempts at a script for “The King,” Elvis Presley is getting his first studio feature that attempts to chronicle the singer’s prolific career and legacy, going all the way back to his humble beginnings under the management of the conman Colonel Tom Parker (played here by Tom Hanks), who is also credited with precipitating his rise to superstardom. Starring newcomer Austin Butler, who folks may remember from his first Cannes feature, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the cast is rounded out with the likes of Kelvin Harrison Jr., Olivia DeJonge, and Kodi Smit-McPhee. The recent footage of the film presented at CinemaCon  in April and a new trailer all have people buzzing, partly due to the dazzling visuals. It remains to be seen if the film lives up the hype.

Director: Claire Denis

Cast: Margaret Qualley, Joe Alwyn, Danny Ramirez, Benny Safdie, John C. Reilly

Official Synopsis: In 1984’s Nicaragua, a mysterious English businessman and a headstrong American journalist strike up a romance as they soon become embroiled in a dangerous labyrinth of lies and conspiracies and are forced to try and escape the country.

Why we want to see it: One of the hottest titles of the festival, Claire Denis’ next and (apparently) most accessible piece of work is one we can’t wait to experience. Though we count her recent effort, High Life, as the pinnacle of her artistic endeavors, we would be lying to say we weren’t intrigued by the idea of her adapting a lesser-known yet still influential novel. Denis said a reading over a decade ago set her on the path to adapt the feature and cast of two Hollywood’s hottest young actors to convey the tale. Both Margaret Qualley and Joe Alwyn are poised for a red hot Oscar campaign if the film proves to be half as good as most expect. We also anticipate it to be one of the festival’s hottest tickets to secure. Claire Denis is worshipped in France and many will likely be in attendance with the hopes of catching a glimpse of Alwyn’s rumored girlfriend, Taylor Swift.

Director: Agnieszka Smoczynska

Cast: Letitia Wright, Tamara Lawrence, Johdi May

Official Synopsis: The eerie story of entirely silent twin sisters, communicating only with each other as children. As teenagers, they become obsessed with writing fiction, then with teenage boys, and finally, with crime.

Why we want to see it: While we await the Black Panther sequel, we can keep ourselves busy with a project from its star, Letitia Wright, who continues to find ways to stretch herself as a young actor. Following a critically heralded performance in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe, Wright plays co-lead along with her Small Axe series co-star Tamara Lawerence for The Silent Twins, retelling the strange tale of two selectively mute twins who refused to speak to anyone besides each other. The unusual mix of coming-of-age and true crime wrapped in a genuine mystery has us intrigued. Still, the knowledge that the subject’s journals and short stories will be used in the narrative is even more exciting.

Director: Lee Jung-jae

Cast: Lee Jung-jae, Jung Woo-sung

Official Synopsis: At the peak of the military dictatorship in North Korea during the 1980s, Park Pyong-ho (Lee Jung-Jae) and Kim Jung-do (Jung Woo-sung), ace agents of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, hunt for a North Korean spy chief in the South while becoming increasingly aware of their own country’s dark truths.

Why we want to see it: After the success of Squid Game, those unaware of the incredible talent of Lee Jung-jae have all now thankfully been brought up to speed. Already a household name in Korea and South Asia, the Netflix global phenomenon brought him to the attention of new audiences as he spoke extensively on the Squid Game press tour about his love of cinema; we are excited to see him showcase what he has picked up in his directorial debut after years of work with the top filmmakers in South Korea.

War Pony

Director: Gina Gammell, Riley Keough

Cast: Robert Stover, Jojo Bapteise Whiting, LaDainian Crazy Thunder

Official Synopsis: The interlocking stories of two Lakota boys growing up on Pine Ridge Reservation.

Why we want to see it: Not much is known of actress Riley Keough’s directorial debut, but her choice to only feature a fresh crew of untrained actors in front of the camera has us and the Cannes Un Certain Regard selection committee very intrigued. As the granddaughter of the King himself, her addition to the festival alongside her co-writer/director is an exciting choice sure to grab headlines and entice otherwise tricky-to-secure eyes to zero in for her promising debut.

Director: David Cronenberg

Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart, Scott Speedman

Official Synopsis: A deep dive into the not-so-distant future when humankind is learning to adapt to its synthetic surroundings. This evolution moves humans beyond their natural state and into a metamorphosis, altering their biological makeup.

Why we want to see it: David Cronenberg’s latest film is a singular piece of genre storytelling that has not been matched in recent years, save for his other Viggo Mortensen collaboration Eastern Promises. Re-teaming with Viggo alongside an all-star cast for a new story that plays into the director’s classic body horror elements for his first feature in nearly 10 years is sure to be discussed. David Cronenberg was recently quoted saying he “expects walkouts,” a bold statement for any film festival but particularly Cannes, and it has us wondering how visceral the reaction will be.

Director: Ali Abbasi

Cast: Zar Amir-Ebrahimi

Official Synopsis: In Holy Spider, we follow family man Saeed as he embarks on his religious quest — to “cleanse” the holy Iranian city of Mashhad of immoral and corrupt street prostitutes. After murdering several women, he grows desperate about the lack of public interest in his divine mission.

Why we want to see it: The Oscar-nominated film Border was one of the glorious gems of the 2018 Awards season. The modern fairy tale with sinister sentiments, jaw-dropping makeup, and an inventive twist on the genre had us immediately signed up for whatever director Ali Abbasi did next. The Iranian filmmaker’s latest effort is decidedly darker, setting its sights on a serial killer on a holy crusade to rid his neighborhood of prostitutes and the female journalist out to uncover his identity. It’s another title engineered to provoke strong emotions, and we can only hope the filmmaking will match the film’s lofty subject matter.

Thumbnail image by ©Warner Bros.

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