10 Cannes Film Festival Movies I Can’t Wait to See

I am always highly anticipating every film that gets strong buzz from the Cannes Film Festival. However, this year is particularly exciting because most of the films that were super highly buzzed I will actually get the chance to see! Many of them either already had planned U.S. release dates or have recently been picked up for U.S. distribution with release date announcement imminent. Many of them are either going to make it into cinemas this year. Based on the buzz that we at Film Misery followed closely over the last two weeks, here are the 10 films that I am eager to see.

10) The Kid With the Bike – The Dardennes Brothers
Comes to the USA: TBA 2012

This film from Cannes veterans Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes tells the story of a boy who is abandoned by his biological father and left to an unqualified caregiver. The film failed to give the brothers their third Palme d’Or, but it came awfully close, tying for the Grand Prix Award. Initial reviews of the film were not overwhelmingly positive and I gave it a Grade Estimate of B- in my daily wrap-up, but since its premiere the positive buzz has been growing with David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter calling it “impeccably observed drama.” It was recently acquired for distribution by Sundance Selects and will probably be one of the most talked about limited releases in early 2012.

9) The Skin I Live In – Pedro Almodovar
Comes to the USA: November 18, 2011

While not the most highly praised of Almodovar’s recent films this twisted tale of revenge sounds absorbing. Despite mixed reviews critics called it “gripping” and have said that it is a valuable addition to the Almodovar canon. It will probably get some attention this fall when it inevitably gets snubbed by Spain’s selection for Best Foreign Film and it might make a few end of the year top ten lists. I have really enjoyed Almodovar’s recent collaborations with Penelope Cruz and this film may inspire me to look back on some of his earlier work when his muse was Antonio Banderas.

8) Take Shelter – Jeff Nichols
Comes to the USA: October 7, 2011

This psychological thriller is the only film on my list that didn’t play in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. However, it has now scored raves both in Cannes and Sundance and should be on its way to a strong Fall opening. The trailer was recently posted and looks fascinating as does Michael Shannon’s lead performance. This is one of many Cannes films that could potentially get some Awards attention this winter depending on how well it plays with U.S. audiences.

7) Once Upon a Time in Anatolia – Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Comes to the USA: No Distribution Yet.

Based purely on the reviews I have read, this 3-hour long police procedural sounds a lot like last year’s Cannes hit A Prophet. Descriptions of the cinematography sound absolutely riveting and its calculated pacing seems right up my alley. This film also tied for the Grand Prix Award and was one of the most praised at the Festival. Some speculate it may have done better had it not played on the last day when fatigue had really set in. There is no U.S. distribution yet, but I have no doubt that there will be soon.

6) Melancholia – Lars Von Trier
Comes to the USA: November 4, 2011

Despite Lars Von Trier announcing he sympathizes with Hitler and subsequently getting banned from this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the movie still managed to secure a Best Actress win for Kirsten Dunst. Lars Von Trier’s films have never been Awards friendly and I don’t expect this to be any different, but it will still probably play well with U.S. critics and find its way onto many end of the year top ten lists. The trailer looks amazing and has me more excited for a Von Trier film than I can remember ever being.

5) The Artist – Michael Hazanavicius
Comes to the USA: TBA 2011 (Late Fall)

Will a modern silent film be attractive to a mainstream American audience? If anybody can sell it to them, it’s Harvey Weinstein who picked up the rights for the film’s American release and is planning for a late Fall (ahem…Oscar season) release. This was one of the biggest crowd-pleasers of the Festival with many calling it their favorite entry. It also earned its star Jean Dujardin the Best Actor award, which is remarkable for a silent film.

4) Le Havre – Aki Kaurismaki
Comes to the USA: No Distribution Yet.

Surprisingly shut-out from the major awards at the Cannes Film Festival, this film did manage to pull in the FIPRESCI Award after it got great reviews from critics. As one of the biggest crowd and critic pleasers of the Festival, I can’t imagine that this movie about immigrant refugees in France won’t find American distribution. I anticipate it will get a small On Demand and limited theatrical release in early 2012 and when that happens I’ll be one of the first in line to see it.

3) We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lynne Ramsay
Comes to the USA: TBA 2011 (Late Fall)

Oscilliscope Pictures picked up this film about a couple dealing with their violent son with plans for a winter release and an awards campaign. Tilda Swinton was one of the talks of the whole festival for her performance in Lynne Ramsay’s powerful drama and she should hear her name tossed around when Awards season approaches. I anticipate a staggered release before it finally gets released in my market, but I’ll be hitting up the cinema as soon as it does.

2) Drive – Nicholas Winding Refn
Comes to the USA: September 16, 2011

If any film received an Oscar boost from this year’s Cannes Film Festival it has to be Nicholas Winding Refn’s film Drive. It hasn’t jumped to the top of the Best Picture charts, but it has certainly grabbed the attention of anybody who follows the Oscars (or loves movies in general). Described as one of the best action movies of the year this movie sounds absolutely brilliant and is complemented by a fantastic cast.

1) The Tree of Life – Terence Malick
Comes to the USA: May 27, 2011

Of course my most anticipated film of the year lands on the top of this list. All the reviews from critics I trust at the festival were positive and it won the freaking Palme d’Or, so of course my flame of enthusiasm was only fanned. Luckily I only have to wait two weeks until it opens in Minneapolis.

What movies did the Cannes Film Festival get you excited for?

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  • Asif Khan

    yaaaaaaaay my most awaited movie of the year TREE OF LIFE is coming on my Birthday :) also can’t wait to watch Drive, Melancholia and The Artist. gonna think about the others :))

  • “Drive” looks pretty fantastic. But “Tree of Life” at #1 is a no-brainer.

  • I wonder how The Weinstein is going to market “The Artist”. I mean, it’s a black and white silent movie, surely not a lot of people are eager to see that kind anymore, especially if their intention is to get the film into Oscar buzz.

    Maybe only Weinstein who can handle this film looking at their aggressive and well-played campaign.

  • Jose

    5)Midnight in Paris
    4)The Tree of Life
    3)Drive
    2)The Artist
    1)We Need To Talk About Kevin

  • Jose

    And I forgot Melancholia, added.

  • I am alarmed that the ever-faithful Woody Allen fan isn’t more excited about ‘Midnight in Paris.’ That honestly tops my list. Something about that trailer does it for me.

    This year looks like a vast improvement over last year’s fest though, tough competition.

  • Andrew R.

    Tree of Life, followed by Melancholia and We Need to Talk About Kevin. Although Lars fucked up with the Hitler comments.

  • @Davin – Yeah, for some reason I didn’t count that because it didn’t play exclusively at Cannes (it screened for critics in the U.S. the same week) and it wasn’t in competition. I am VERY excited for it, though.

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