Culture / Film

The Cannes Film Festival is in full swing – here are our top 10 films you have to watch

The Cannes Film Festival program for 2024 has dropped. Here are our picks from the lineup.

Film festivals happen all across the world, in small towns at local theatres, and in big cities with unfurled red carpets. But the one film festival to rule them all (at least in terms of fanfare) is one in its 77th year in the French Cote d'Azur – the Festival de Cannes (i.e. the Cannes Film Festival).

This year's Festival de Cannes is now well underway – with plenty of notable names in film flocking to the red carpet – and boy is the schedule this year jam-packed with blockbusters and indie flicks we'd like to let our eyes feast upon. There are 22 films competing for the Palme d'Or this year, and more than 50 other films are premiering outside of the main competition.

Even though we are not in Cannes this year, we thought we'd take the guesswork out of the equation for you and give you the RUSSH-ified highlight reel, so you can mark your calendars and 'Add' to your Letterboxd Watch Lists all the films to watch from the Cannes Film Festival 2024.


1. Megalopolis by Francis Ford Coppola

Yes, the godfather of film, who directed the ACTUAL Godfather films, is back – 45 years after winning a Palme d'Or for Apocalypse Now. Coppola has written, produced and directed this epic sci-fi drama about an architect trying to rebuild New York City as a utopia following a devastating disaster. As you might expect, it has a stacked cast including that includes Adam Driver, Aubrey Plaza, Shia LaBeouf and Dustin Hoffman. Despite reportedly garnering nearly 10 minutes of applause at its conclusion, it's already getting some wildly polarising views online from attendees, so we're thinking you'll either love it or hate it.


2. Kinds of Kindness by Yórgos Lánthimos

The duo behind the Oscar-winning Poor Things is already back with another film – adding Euphoria and Hunger Games star Hunter Schafer to the mix, among other notable names like Jesse Plemons, Willem Dafoe and Margaret Qualley. All we know so far about the plot is that it will follow three stories, with the core cast transforming into different characters for each.


3. The Shrouds by David Cronenberg


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Cronenberg will be debuting his latest project, The Shrouds, at Cannes this year, which follows the story of a widower and businessman named Karsh who builds a new device that can connect people with the dead inside a burial shroud. The film is said to be Cronenberg's most autobiographical yet.

Cronenberg also has some INTERESTING history with both Cannes and Francis Ford Coppola, when his film Crash almost won the Palme D'or in 1996 but was blocked by Coppola's vote (who served as president of the Cannes jury that year), and barred from winning more than a Special Jury Prize. With both Coppola and Cronenberg back in competition, who knows if old beef between the two might rear its ugly head.


4. Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga by George Miller


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After much anticipation, the next instalment in the Mad Max saga made its world premiere at this year's Cannes (screening out of competition). Standing ovation time for the screening fell somewhere between 6-8 minutes (publications seem to disagree online). With Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlee Fraser and Chris Hemsworth at the helm of this film, we're likely to see plenty more desert steam-punk action set across the Wastelands of an Australian dystopia.


5. Emilia Perez by Jacques Audiard


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One of three films from the newly minted film arm of Saint Laurent Productions (one of three films from the House that made the Cannes cut this year), this Spanish-language comedy crime film follows a cartel leader on the run from the law. Its screening earned the longest standing ovation of the festival thus far, with the film's stars Karla Sofía Gascón, Zoe Saldana and Selena Gomez getting teary-eyed in response.


6. Bird by Andrea Arnold


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The British auteur Andrea Arnold (who directed the second seas of Big Little Lies) has her latest film, Bird, on the bill this year. Starring Saltburn lead and actor-of-the-moment Barry Keoghan (all tatted up I might add), the film has few plot details leaked as of yet. But if Arnold's past work is anything to go off of – American Honey, Fish Tank, Wasp – we're certain it will be worth a watch. Bird also had one of the longest reported standing ovations of the week so far.


7. The Surfer by Lorcan Finnegan


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Lorcan Finnegan's psychological thriller shot in WA has made the cut this year, enjoying a 6-minute standing ovation. Starring Nicholas Cage, it was chosen as one of four films for the Midnight Screenings section. We'd highly suggest checking this one out just for the Australian cast talent like Julian McMahon, Nicholas Cassim, Miranda Tapsell, Alexander Bertrand, Justin Rosniak, Rahel Romahn, Finn Little, and Charlotte Maggi.


8. On Becoming a Guinea Fowl by Rungano Nyoni


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Zambian-Welsh director and screenwriter Rungano Nyoni's comedy drama film premiered in the ‘Un certain regard’ category at Cannes Film festival last week to standing ovations – a film that centres on Shula (played by Susan Chardy) who is forced by tradition to mourn an uncle who abused her.


9. Oh, Canada by Paul Schrader


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Based on the 2021 novel Foregone by Russell Banks, and starring Richard Gere, Uma Thurman, Michael Imperioli, Jacob Elordi, Victoria Hill, and Kristine Froseth, this film is high on our list of Cannes must-watches. As far as the storyline goes, the film follows Leonard Fife, a terminally ill writer and filmmaker, who has agreed to have his final moments captured by documentary filmmakers, but proves to be a somewhat unreliable narrator. Its screening earned a standing ovation clocking in at 4 minutes.


10. The Seed of the Sacred Fig by Mohammad Rasoulof


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The Iranian director's film has garnered particular attention since Rasoulof was sentenced last week to eight years in prison over the film's subject matter – which centres on the Islamic Revolutionary Court. Rasoulof has since fled Iran, but with several cast and crew members being threatened by the state, it's unclear whether anyone involved will attend Cannes for the screening.


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