Cannes 2015 Wish List: 20 Films We Hope to See at the Cannes Festival

Cannes is a sort of annual cinematic Olympics, with almost every country vying for spots in the official selection. With the official 2015 Cannes Film Festival announcement a little over a month away, Indiewire offers its annual Cannes wish list.

Indiewire’s annual Cannes wish list isn’t so much about officially predicting the lineup, but rather a survey of films we hope are finished in time and considered good enough to make the cut. We’re not including films that have zero chances of being ready in time — or, for that matter, the one film we officially know will be there: “Mad Max: Fury Road” (which is screening out of competition).

Among the candidates are celebrated filmmakers such as Jacques Audiard, Woody Allen, Arnaud Desplechin, Cary Fukunaga, Todd Haynes, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Naomi Kawase, Yorgos Lanthimos, Terrence Malick, Jeff Nichols, Gaspard Noé, Paolo Sorrentino, Joachim Trier, Gus Van Sant and Apichatpong Weerasethaul, among many others.

Films that don’t get a spot in Cannes (and there will definitely be a few) will immediately become hot topics for a fall festival slot in Venice and/or Toronto. But that’s then; this is now. Let the guessing game begin.

“The Assassin”
Director: Hou Hsiao-hsien
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes: So that this’ll be the last time we put it on this list, for one. For the past three years we’ve had our fingers crossed for Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien’s long-awaited follow-up to his remarkable 2007 film “Flight of the Read Balloon,” and every year we’ve been disappointed. In development since the 1980’s (and in production since 2010), the Tang Dynasty-set epic is apparently close to being ready and Cannes makes a lot of sense given the filmmaker’s history with the festival. But we’ve learned our lesson assuming anything when it comes to “The Assassin.”

“Beasts of No Nation”
Director: Cary Fukunaga
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes: Cary Fukunaga is following up his acclaimed stint directing the first season of “True Detective” with this adaptation of Uzodinma Iweala’s novel “Beasts of No Nation.” Following a young boy (newcomer Abraham Attah) forced to join a unit of mercenary fighters after civil war tears his family apart and militants kill his father, the film could very well be one of the big American entries in Cannes competition. That would certainly be fine with us, given Fukunaga’s recent track record and the fact that Idris Elba has a major role.

“A Bigger Splash”
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes: The last time director Luca Guadagnino teamed up with actress Tilda Swinton, we got the incredible “I Am Love.” Six years later, we simply cannot wait to see how their collaborative follow-up, “A Bigger Splash,” turns out. Ralph Fiennes, Matthias Schoenaerts and “Fifty Shades of Grey” breakout Dakota Johnson join in this time around for an English-language drama about an American couple (Schoenaerts and Swinton) on vacation in Italy who run into trouble when Swinton’s character invites a former lover (Fiennes) and his teenage daughter (Johnson) to visit. The cast makes for a pretty fascinating love quadrangle, and with Guadagnino guiding it we can’t imagine being proven wrong.

Director: Todd Haynes
Why We Hope It’s Going to Cannes: One of our most anticipated films of the year, Todd Haynes’ first theatrical film since 2007’s “I’m Not There” reunites him with one of that film’s most memorable Bob Dylans, Cate Blanchett. The 1950s-set Patricia Highsmith adaptation finds Blanchett playing a wealthy woman who seduces Rooney Mara, a department store clerk that dreams of a better life. Kyle Chandler and Sarah Paulson co-star (as if you needed more), and the film is reportedly done. Haynes has been to Cannes before. It would also give the festival’s red carpet a dose of A-list celebrity that the rest of this year’s potential crop doesn’t seem so heavy on. We don’t care about that, though. We just want to see what Haynes can do with this dreamy cast and juicy source material.