Updated On: November 06, 2023 by   Marise   Marise  

It’s that time of the year again when prominent figures in the film industry, directors, producers, actors and more, are gathered under the French sun in Cannes to celebrate films from all over the world. The 76th annual Cannes Film Festival started in Cannes on 16 May 2023 and will be going on until 27 May 2023. As usual, the festival showcases a wide selection of feature films, short films and documentaries both in and out of competition. 

Cannes Film Festival was founded in 1946 and has been one of the most important film festivals worldwide. It is an actual class act where professionals in the film industry from all over the world get the chance to meet each other, watch movies from different cultures and perspectives and widen their experiences. 2023 is no different from any other year at Cannes. An incredible selection of movies is up for the different programmes at Cannes. In this article, we will briefly examine all the movies competing for Cannes’s various prizes.

Films in Competition

The feature films selected for the main competition at Cannes Film Festival compete for the Palm d’Or (The Golden Palm), which is the festival’s biggest prize among other prizes such as the Grand Prix (The Grand Prize) and the Prix du Jury (Jury Prize). The winners are decided among the official jury, with consists of director Ruben Östlund as President, scriptwriter Julia Ducournau, director Damián Szifron, scriptwriter Atiq Rahimi, actor Paul Dano, actress Brie Larson, director Rungano Nyoni, actor Denis Ménochet and scriptwriter Maryam Touzani.

Here are the films selected for “In Competition”:

Anatomie D’une Chute (Anatomy of a Fall)


Country: France

Directed by: Justine Triet

Starring: Sandra Hüller, Swann Arlaud and Milo Machado Graner

Release date: 23 August 2023

The film tells the story of a family living on a remote mountain. One day the husband, Sam, is found dead in front of their house, and the wife, Sandra, is accused of murder. A year later, their son Daniel attends his mother’s trial, where he learns details about his parents’ marriage that he may have been better off not knowing.

Asteroid City

Country: Spain

Directed by: Wes Anderson

Starring: Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson and Tom Hanks

Release date: 16 June 2023

Astroid City is a science fiction romantic comedy with an all-star cast that tells the story of parents and students who gather in the American desert to participate in a Stargazing Convention when word-changing events change their lives.

Banel E Adama (Banel and Adama)

Country: France, Senegal, Mali

Directed by: Ramata-Toulaye Sy

Starring: Khady Mane, Mamadou Diallo and Binta Racine Sy

Release date: May 2023

Banel and Adema are a Senegalese married couple who are fiercely in love. However, their community’s culture and costumes do not know how to deal with or accept strong passion, let alone chaos, drama and uncertainty in relationships. 

Black Flies

Country: United States

Directed by: Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire

Starring: Sean Penn and Tye Sheridan

Release date: May 2023

Ollie Cross prepares for attending Medical School by shadowing experienced EMT Gene Rutkovsky. When faced with violence, blood and the risk that a paramedic’s job entails, Ollie starts to question his beliefs about life and death.

Club Zero

Country: Austria, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Denmark

Directed by: Jessica Hausner

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Sidse Babett Knudsen and Elsa Zylberstein

Release date: May 2023

An international boarding schoolteacher, Miss Novak, forms a strong bond with five students as she teaches them that eating less is healthy. Club Zero is formed before teachers and parents find out about the situation, and things get out of hand.


Country: United Kingdom

Directed by: Karim Aïnouz

Starring: Eddie Marsan, Sam Riley and Amr Waked

Release date: May 2023

Firebrand tells the story of Katherine Parr, the sixth wife of King Henry VIII, as she pushes her radical protestant beliefs while the King is away and forms a group of supporters around her. As the blood-lusting King returns and kills everyone who speaks of Protestant beliefs, including Katherin’s best friend, Queen Katherin must fight for her own survival.

Il Sol Dell’avvenire (A Brighter Tomorrow)

Country: Italy

Directed by: Nanni Moretti

Starring: Nanni Moretti, Margherita Buy and Silvio Orlando

Release date: 20 April 2023

The USSR invasion of Hungry in 1956 changed the life of Giovanni, a renowned Italian filmmaker, as he grabbles with the fact that the world was changing around him. Giovannie must learn to deal with problems in his marriage, the fact that his co-producer is facing bankruptcy and that life will not be the same forever, but a brighter tomorrow is still possible.

Kaibutsu (Monster)

Country: Japan

Directed by: Kore-Eda Hirokazu

Starring: Sakura Ando, Eita Nagayama and Soya Kurokawa

Release date: 2 June 2023

Palme d’Or winner director Kora-Eda Hirokazu returns with a moving story of love, duty and social conflict. A mother feels her son is acting strangely and visits his school for answers. She discovers that a teacher in her son’s school is why her son is acting. Through the eyes of the mother, the teacher and the son, many secrets unfold.

Kuolleet Lehdet (Fallen Leaves)

Country: Finland

Directed by: Aki Kaurismaki

Starring: Alma Pöysti and Jussi Vatanen

Release date: 2023

Continuing his working-class trilogy, Aki Kaurismaki presents Kuolleet Lehdet, a story of two people looking for the love of their lives. Ansa and Holappa meet in Helsinki one night and then try to find each other again. Still, the fact they did not exchange names, phone numbers or addresses makes their honourable journey to find love harder than it already is.

Kuru Otlar Ustune (About Dry Grasses)

Country: Turkey, France, Germany

Directed by: Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Starring: Deniz Celiloglu and Merve Dizdar

Release date: 12 July 2023

An angsty art teacher in a small town in Anatolia completes his compulsory service when a turn in events makes him question his ability to move on with his life. As he meets another Nuray, another teacher, he starts to see life through a different lens.

L’été Dernier (Last Summer)

Country: France

Directed by: Catherine Breillat

Starring: Léa Drucker, Olivier Rabourdin and Samuel Kircher

Release date: 20 September 2023

A remake of 2019’s film Queen of HeartsL’été Dernier tells the story of Anna, a lawyer, wife and mother of two who engages in a passionate relationship with her teenage stepson. Her infidelity threatens to destroy everything she worked hard for, including her career and family.

La Chimera

Country: Italy, France, Switzerland

Directed by: Alice Rohrwacher

Starring: Josh O’Connor, Carol Duarte, Isabella Rossellini and Alba Rohrwacher

Release date: 6 December 2023

The film tells the story of a young British archaeologist and his fellows who hunt for Etruscan remains and engage in black-market trading. The story follows the chargers as each one look for their Chimera, whether it is retiring from the job, finding easy wealth or getting back lost love.

La Passion De Dodin Bouffant (The Pot-Au-Feu)

Country: France

Directed by: Hùng Tran Anh

Starring: Juliette Binoche, Benoit Magimel and Bonnie Chagneau-Ravoire

Release date: November 8, 2023

In 1855, a passionate love story blossomed between astounding cooks Eugenie and Dodin, creating the most delicious dishes that dumbfounded the most illustrious chefs. However, when Dodin proposes to Eugenie, she can’t find it in herself to accept his proposal and lose the freedom of life she loves so much. Dodin decides that he can make her change her mind only if he cooks for her.

Le Retour (Homecoming)

Country: France

Directed by: Catherine Corsini

Starring: Cedric Appietto, Harold Orsini and Marie-Ange Geronimi

Release date: May 2023

Going back home after 15 years is both sweet and bitter for Khédidja and her daughters. Khédidja, a native of Corsica, has been living in Paris and working for a wealthy Parisian family for the past 15 years. One summer, they decide to take her and her daughters along for a vacation in Corsica. While Khédidja faces the home she left behind and the associated memories, her daughters have a summer filled with new love, encounters, and questions to find answers for.

Les Filles D’olfa (Four Daughters)

Country: France, Tunisia, Germany, Saudi Arabia

Directed by: Kaouther Ben Hania

Starring: Hend Sabri, Olfa Hamrouni and Eya Chikhaoui

Release date: May 2023

A unique documentary that mixes reality with fiction to tell the story of Olfa Hamrouni, a mother of four girls. In 2016 Olfa announced that her two eldest daughters, Rahma and Ghofrane Chikhaoui, had disappeared and then discovered fighting alongside the Islamic State in Libya. Director Kaouther Ben Hania attempts to tell the story of the two girls and their mother by inviting professional actresses to take their places in this enticing documentary.

May December

Country: United States

Directed by: Todd Haynes

Starring: Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore and Charles Melton

Release date: May 2023

Twenty years ago, the tabloids made a show of a notorious romance between a man and woman with a huge age difference. Twenty years later, Elizabeth, an actress set to play the women Gracie in a film adaptation of their story, arrives at their home in Maine for research purposes. Elizabeth’s digging into the couple’s past will threaten to unravel their marriage.

Perfect Days

Country: Japan

Directed by: Wim Wenders

Starring: Tokio Emoto, Arisa Nakano and Aoi Yamada

Release date: May 2023

It is a feature film that combines four short stories about the life of Tokoyo toilet cleaner Hirayama. Hirayama is satisfied with his life and daily routine of going to work and returning home to enjoy his music and books. Through the four short stories, the audience unravels more of Hirayama’s past and life before his perfectly structured present.

Rapito (Kidnapped)

Country: Italy, France, Germany

Directed by: Marco Bellocchio

Starring: Leonardo Maltese, Fausto Russo Alesi and Barbara Ronchi

Release date: May 2023

A nurse secretly baptises a Jewish baby with his parents’ knowledge. Now, seven years later, the catholic church bursts into the home of the Mortata family to take their son, Edgardo, and give him a Catholic education. Distraught and feeling powerless, the Mortata family fights to bring their son back home from the clutches of the pope, supported by public opinion and the International Jewish Community.

The Old Oak

Country: United Kingdom, France, Belgium

Directed by: Ken Loach

Starring: Col Tait, Jordan Louis and Chrissie Robinson

Release date: 29 September 2023

The Old Oak is the last remaining public space for the people of County Durham to meet in peace. As the landlord, TJ Bannatyne, fights tooth and nail to keep the pub thriving in a dying community, Syrian refugees arrive in the small county. Tensions rise between the county’s residents and the Syrians, but TJ strikes an unlikely friendship with a young Syrian photographer as they try to bring the two communities together.

The Zone of Interest

Country: United States, United Kingdom, Poland

Directed by: Jonathan Glazer

Starring: Christian Friedel and Sandra Hüller

Release date: May 2023

In Auschwitz, the largest German Nazi concentration camp, the commandant Rudolf Höss and his wife Hedwig try to build a life for their family. In a turn of events, a Nazi officer falls in love with Hedwig setting the events of this chilling Holocaust drama.

In a Nutshell!

Being nominated for the Palm d’Or is a great honour for filmmakers worldwide. These twenty films selected as part of the main competitions in the Cannes Film Festival are being screened in the Théâtre Lumière in Cannes from 16 May to 27 May 2023. The winners will be announced on Saturday, 27 May and will be streamed online for people to watch worldwide. Don’t miss the chance to watch the dazzling closing ceremony of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and make sure you catch the nominated films in selected theatres after the festival.

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