The most exciting films at Cannes 2024

The prestigious festival takes place from 14 to 25 May

Cannes 2024 has a lot of interesting films to watch, including Megalopolis and Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga. (Getty/20th Century Studios/Warner Bros.)
Cannes 2024 has a lot of interesting films to watch, including Megalopolis and Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga. (Getty/20th Century Studios/Warner Bros.)

The dust has only just settled on awards season for the films released in 2023, but that means that it's time to look ahead at the movies that will dominate the next one and their campaign starts in one place: the Cannes film festival.

Cannes has always been the best spot for the public to get their first look at the most exciting titles ahead of their official release, and this year's event —which runs from 14 to 25 May— will be no different. From George Miller's epic return to the Mad Max franchise to Francis Ford Coppola's highly anticipated science fiction drama, there's a lot to look forward to at the prestigious event.

With that in mind, here are the films that you should be looking out for at the festival, and the films that are likely to generate the most buzz amongst critics.

Adam Driver and Nathalie Emmanuel in the first look at Megalopolis. (American Zoetrope/Megalopolis/Mihai Malaimare Jr.)
Adam Driver and Nathalie Emmanuel in the first look at Megalopolis. (American Zoetrope/Megalopolis/Mihai Malaimare Jr.)

Starring an A-list cast including Adam Driver, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Giancarlo Esposito, Megalopolis is a long-standing passion project for Coppola who first conceived of the story in 1977. The Godfather filmmaker first began working on the film in 1983 and it is only now, more than four decades later, that we are getting the chance to watch it.

The movie is set in a dystopian universe where architect Cesar Catilina (Driver) hopes to use his ability to control time to rebuild a decaying metropolis into a new utopia, but he faces opposition from Mayor Franklyn Cicero (Esposito) who would rather keep the status quo. In between them is Franklyn's daughter Julia (Emmanuel), who is searching for meaning in her life.

Megalopolis is competing for the Palme d'Or and will likely be one of the big titles at Cannes.

WILLEM DAFOE, JESSE PLEMONS and MARGARET QUALLEY in KINDS OF KINDNESS (2024), directed by YORGOS LANTHIMOS. Credit: Element Pictures/Film4 Productions/Fox Searchlight / Album
Margaret Qualley, Jesse Plemons and Willem Dafoe in Kinds of Kindness. (Searchlight)

Yorgos Lanthimos' follow-up to his Oscar-winning movie Poor Things is Kinds of Kindness, which is in competition at the prestigious festival. The film is described as a "triptych fable", with the narrative focusing on three stories that are loosely connected — one about a man taking charge of his own destiny, another about a man who believes his spouse is an imposter, and another around a woman's quest to find a cult leader.

The narrative sounds suitably trippy for what's expected of Lanthimos, and the film will see him reunite with Emily "Emma" Stone and Willem Dafoe. Other actors set to appear in the movie include Margaret Qualley, Jesse Plemons, and Joe Alwyn.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth, is coming to cinemas in 2024. (Warner Bros.)
Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth, is coming to cinemas in 2024. (Warner Bros.)

George Miller is bringing Mad Max fans a film centred on Furiosa, Charlize Theron's breakout character from Fury Road now being played by Anya Taylor-Joy. The prequel is set almost two decades before the 2015 film and follows a young Furiosa as she is taken from her home by warlord Dementus (Chris Hemsworth) and his gang.

So begins Furiosa's quest to return to her home, all whilst two villains compete to gain dominance over the Citadel. The film is receiving its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, meaning those waiting to know more about the movie will get to hear all about critics reaction after.

Jeremy Strong and Sebastian Stan in The Apprentice. (Mongrel Media)
Jeremy Strong and Sebastian Stan in The Apprentice. (Mongrel Media)

There's a biopic for everyone and everything these days, so perhaps it is unsurprising that there is now a film centred on Donald Trump. The Apprentice —not to be confused with the BBC series— stars Sebastian Stan as Trump, and it follows how he came to build his real estate empire with the help of lawyer Roy Cohn (Jeremy Strong).

Directed by Ali Abbasi, The Apprentice is being screened in competition, and because of its subject matter it will likely generate a lot of buzz.

Richard Gere at the City Harvest 40th Anniversary Gala held at Cipriani 42nd Street on April 25, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Kristina Bumphrey/Variety via Getty Images)
Richard Gere is reuniting with Paul Schrader for his new film Oh Canada. (Getty Images)

Paul Schrader, the creative mind behind classics like American Gigolo, is returning to the director's chair for the period drama Oh, Canada. The film sees him reunite with Richard Gere, who takes on the role of Leonard Fife — one of the country's 60,000 draft evaders who avoided serving in the Vietnam war, and who is now sharing his secrets.

The film features an exciting cast alongside Gere, such as Uma Thurman and Jacob Elordi, and the film is also being shown at Cannes in competition.

PARIS, FRANCE - DECEMBER 10: Actor Vincent Cassel attends the
Vincent Cassel stars in David Cronenberg's The Shrouds. (Getty Images)

Another prolific director heading to Cannes this year is David Cronenberg, who is presenting his film The Shrouds in competition.

The film stars Vincent Cassel, Diane Kruger, and Guy Pearce, and it follows a grieving businessman Karsh (Cassel) who invents a machine that will allow the living to monitor their dearly departed shrouds. When his wife's grave, and multiple others, are targeted, Karsh sets out to find the culprit.

26 June 2017 - Seoul, South korea : (L to R) South Korean director Ryoo Seung-wan and actor Hwang Jung-min, attend a photo call for the film 'The Battleship Island' showcase in Seoul, South Korea on June 26, 2017. The movie about a group of about 400 Joseon workers who risk their lives to attempt an escape from Hashima, and the story of forced labor on the island. will appear on South Korea screens starting on July. Photo Credit: Lee Young-ho *** Please Use Credit from Credit Field ***
South Korean director Ryoo Seung-wan and actor Hwang Jung-min pictured in 2017 promoting The Battleship Island, the pair are reuniting for film I, The Executioner. (Getty Images)

Korean cinema has established itself well in the international market in recent years, particularly with the success of films like Parasite (which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes). The 2024 edition of the festival will see an exciting Korean blockbuster be given time to shine —Ryoo Seung-wan's I, The Executioner.

Starring prolific Korean actor Hwang Jung-min, the movie follows his character Detective Seo Do-cheol as he and the Violent Crimes Investigation Division face a new threat in the form of an unnamed character played by K-Drama favourite Jung Hae-in. I, The Executioner is a follow-up to 2015 film Veteran, a intense but surprisingly fun cop drama but don't worry you won't have had to see that film to enjoy this one, which is being shown as part of the Midnight screenings.

Demi Moore in The Substance. (Mubi)
Demi Moore in The Substance. (Mubi)

Demi Moore, Margaret Qualley and Dennis Quad star in The Substance, a body horror film written and directed by Coralie Fargeat which has already gained a lot of interest after the success of her first film Revenge.

The movie is said to be about a product that "can generate another version of yourself, younger, more beautiful, more perfect". The Substance is competing for the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes.

Irish actor Barry Keoghan arrives for the 2024 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2024, in New York. The Gala raises money for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute. The Gala's 2024 theme is
Barry Keoghan will lead Bird, which will have its world premiere at Cannes. (Getty Images)

Barry Keoghan is certainly the man of the moment after his star-turning role in Saltburn, and he is following up the provocative film with another intriguing drama — Bird.

Directed by Andrea Arnold, the film stars Keoghan opposite Franz Rogowski and Nykiya Adams. They take on the roles of Bug, Bird, and Bailey, but little is known about the film's story aside from that. The mystery around the narrative, as well as the general buzz around the cast, has made Bird one of the film's to watch at the festival, where it is getting its world premiere.

The 77th Cannes Film Festival will take place from 14-25 May, 2024.