Cannes 2018 is just around the corner, which means a bevy of celebrity sightings and iconic red carpet looks. Amongst all the glitz and glamour, sometimes it's easy to forget that art films are the main attraction. After all, it is one of the world’s most influential and prestigious film festivals.
This year is obviously no exception with an intensely curated slate of international heavy-hitters, including Spike Lee’s buzzed-about BlackKklansman and long-dormant festival darling Lee Chang-dong’s Burning, all competing for the coveted Palme d’Or award. There are also several films playing outside of the main competition well worth keeping tabs on, including HBO’s Fahrenheit 451 (starring none other than Michael B. Jordan) and Terry Gilliam’s infamous The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, which will finally see the light of day, 20 years after it was first announced. Needless to say, despite Netflix pulling all of its movies from the lineup, there’s still plenty of highly anticipated gems on this year’s slate. Check out our top eight picks, below, and mark your calendars for those theatrical releases.
Girls of the Sun
Starring Golshifteh Farahani as the commander of a Kurdish female battalion known as “The Girls of the Sun,” and Cannes best actress winner Emmanuelle Bercot as a journalist embedded within the group, Girls of the Sun is the latest from French director Eva Husson. Following the battalion as they fight to take back their hometown from extremists, the film itself was inspired by real-life Kurdish women who were taken by Islamic State fighters, but escaped and fought against their captors.
Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman is one of this year’s most hyped films and for good reason. Based on the almost-unbelievable true story of Ron Stallworth—Colorado Springs’ first black police officer—BlacKkKlansman follows his investigation as he attempts to infiltrate the KKK. The wildest part? Stallworth not only succeeds, but ends up heading up a local chapter.
A marked tonal shift from director David Robert Mitchell’s last film, the critically acclaimed indie horror It Follows, Under the Silver Lake stars Andrew Garfield as Sam, a young man who looks into the disappearance of his neighbor (with whom he’s obviously in love). Described as a neo-noir mystery-comedy, Under the Silver Lake follows Sam as he unravels a much larger conspiracy at work that involves It girl celebrities and sketchy billionaires.
Based on Ray Bradbury’s seminal book of the same name, Fahrenheit 451 tells the story of Guy Montag, a “fireman” tasked with burning books in a near-future America where knowledge is actively suppressed. HBO’s latest feature film endeavor, expect big-budget production and a star-studded cast, including Michael B. Jordan, Michael Shannon, Sofia Boutella, and YouTube star Lilly Singh.
The first film in seven years from festival favorite Lee Chang-dong, little is known about Burning’s plot. However, what few details we do know about the film make for an extremely exciting premise. Loosely based on Haruki Murakami’s short story “Barn Burning,” the film stars The Walking Dead star Steven Yuen alongside Korean heavy-hitter Yoo Ah-in and newcomer Jeon Jong-seo, as three characters who experience what’s only been described as “a mysterious incident.”
Since her untimely death in 2012, Whitney Houston has been the subject of several movies. However, her estate has never approved of any of them—until Whitney. Described as an “unflinching portrait” of the legendary singer, filmmaker Kevin Macdonald described the film as, “an intimate family story that reveals a new side to a woman that even her most die-hard fans never knew.”
The directorial debut of Little Miss Sunshine’s Paul Dano, Wildlife brings Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal together as Jeanette and Jerry, the fractured, dysfunctional parents of 14-year-old Joe, played by newcomer Ed Oxenbould. Set in 1960s rural Montana as Jeanette tries to keep the family afloat while Jerry goes off to fight a large mountain wildfire, it’s a gloomy, foreboding film that sees a family splintering apart through an adolescent’s eyes.
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
Commonly held up as an example of “production hell,” Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is finally set to premiere—a mere 20 years after it was first announced. Starring Adam Driver as an ad exec who time-travels between modern London and 17th century La Mancha—where Don Quixote mistakes him for Sancho Panza—it’s sure to be a raucous ride. Here’s to hoping one last legal battle doesn’t prevent it from finally getting on the big screen.