Cannes 2023: Exciting Films at This Year’s Festival | Festivals & Awards

Speaking of imposing presences: The festival will show a new 20-minute piece by Jean-Luc Godard, who died last year. The festival catalog calls it “Trailer of the Film That Will Never Exist: ‘Phony Wars.'” Even with its brief length, it promises to be more densely packed with ideas than just about any other film that’s screening.

More icons: Indiana Jones will return to the Croisette with “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” directed by James Mangold, who obviously has big shoes to fill as the first non-Spielberg director to make a movie in this series. Indy was last here in 2008 for “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” which was so hotly anticipated at Cannes that one critic actually live-texted thoughts from the first screening, while the movie was playing. Here’s hoping “Dial of Destiny” is good enough to merit a more enthusiastic reception (and also that nobody live-tweets it).

Who’s vying for the Palme d’Or, you ask? There are 21 films in this year’s competition, and a record one-third of them are directed by women, including some Cannes regulars, like Jessica Hausner (here with “Club Zero”), Alice Rohrwacher (with “The Chimera”), Catherine Breillat (with “Last Summer”), and Justine Triet (with “Anatomy of a Fall”).

Todd Haynes will be here with “May-December,” which stars Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore. Jonathan Glazer’s new feature, his first since his “Under the Skin” 10 years ago, is rather accurately titled “The Zone of Interest.” It will be hard for him to top the radically disorienting perspective of his last feature, which tried to imagine events strictly from an alien’s understanding.

All the competition filmmakers mentioned so far will be competing to win their first Palme, but past winners like Hirokazu Kore-eda (with “Monsters”), Nuri Bilge Ceylan (with “About Dry Grasses”), Nanni Moretti (with “A Brighter Tomorrow”), and Wim Wenders (with “Perfect Days”) are contending to win a second. Ken Loach, with “The Old Oak,” could in theory be the first person ever to win a third, but don’t hold your breath.

And of course the competition has “Asteroid City,” Wes Anderson’s tribute to atomic-age science fiction. He tends to get warm receptions here, and he has packed more cast members into his film (Tom Hanks and Margot Robbie join Anderson regulars like Jason Schwartzman, Jeffrey Wright, and Scarlett Johansson) than it seems possible to have stand side by side at the top of the Grand Théâtre Lumière steps. The movie opens in the United States in June.

Watch Chaz Ebert’s first video dispatch from the 2023 Cannes Film Festival with Isaac Feldberg here.