The Cannes Film Festival has unveiled its competition selection for 2021, for the later-than-usual edition of the festival taking place in July. Following a year in which the festival was cancelled due to the pandemic, a bumper selection of 24 films offers new work from directors including Sean Penn, Asghar Farhadi, Jacques Audiard and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. There’s a record showing for female directors too, including Mia Hansen-Løve, Julia Ducournau, Catherine Corsini and Ildikó Enyedi.

Wes Anderson’s publishing comedy The French Dispatch and Paul Verhoeven’s nun drama Benedetta, which were also in the line-up for the cancelled 2020 edition, will also finally premiere. The festival’s opening film (also playing in competition) is Annette, the first film from Léos Carax since 2013’s Holy Motors.

Also announced is the festival’s Un Certain Regard section, dedicated to up-and-coming filmmakers, as well as a selection of out-of-competition titles, including Todd Haynes’ new documentary The Velvet Underground.

Cannes is also introducing a new section called Cannes Premiere. Titles announced for the section include Cow, the new film by British director Andrea Arnold, and the BFI-backed Mothering Sunday, the latest by Eva Husson.

The festival runs 6 to 17 July and the president of the jury this year will be Spike Lee.

Update: Two UK films backed by the BFI will screen in the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight official selection 2021, which was announced on 8 June.

Joanna Hogg’s semi-autobiographical The Souvenir Part II picks up the life of aspiring filmmaker Jane, played by Honor Swinton Byrne,  first visited in The Souvenir (2019), which will also get a special screening.

Ali & Ava, from Clio Barnard, starring Claire Rushbrook and Adeel Akhtar, will also premiere at Directors’ Fortnight. Barnard’s The Selfish Giant premiered in the same section in 2013.

Both Ali & Ava and The Souvenir Part II are supported by the BFI Film Fund with National Lottery funding. 

Competition

Annette – Leos Carax (also opening night film)
Benedetta – Paul Verhoeven
Bergman Island – Mia Hansen-Love
Drive My Car – Ryusuke Hamaguchi
A feleségem története (The Story of My Wife) – Ildikó Enyedi
Flag Day – Sean Penn
La Fracture – Catherine Corsini
The French Dispatch – Wes Anderson
Ha’berech (Ahed’s Knee) – Nadav Lapid
Haut et Fort (Casablanca Beats) – Nabil Ayouch
Un héros (A Hero) – Asghar Farhadi
Hytti Nro 6 (Compartment No.6) – Juho Kuosmanen
Les Intranquilles (The Restless) – Joachim Lafosse
Julie (The Worst Person in the World) – Joachim Trier
Lingui – Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Memoria – Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Nitram – Justin Kurzel
Les Olympiades (Paris 13th District) – Jacques Audiard
Par un demi clair matin – Bruno Dumont
Petrov’s Flu – Kirill Serebrennikov
Red Rocket – Sean Baker
Titane by Julia Ducournau
Tout s’est bien passé – François Ozon
Tre piani by Nanni Moretti

Un Certain Regard

After Yang – Kogonada
Blue Bayou – Justin Chon
Bonne Mère – Hafsia Herzi
Commitment Hasan – Hasan Semih Kaplanoglu
Delo (House Arrest) – Alexey German Jr.
Freda – Gessica Geneus
The Innocents – Eskil Vogt
Lamb – Valdimar Jóhansson
Moneyboys – C.b Yi
Noche de fuego – Tatiana Huezo
Un monde – Laura Wandel

Cannes Premiere

Cette musique ne joue pour personne (Love Songs for Tough Guys) – Samuel Benchetrit
Cow – Andrea Arnold
Evolution – Kornél Mundruczo
In Front of Your Face – Hong Sang-Soo
Mothering Sunday – Eva Husson
Serre-moi fort (Hold Me Tight) – Mathieu Amalric
Tromperie (Deception) – Arnaud Desplechin
Val – Ting Poo and Leo Scott

Out of Competition

Aline – Valérie Lemercier
Bac Nord – Cédric Jimenez
De son vivant – Emmanuelle Bercot
Emergency Declaration – Han Jae-Rim
Stillwater – Tom McCarthy
The Velvet Underground – Todd Haynes

Special screenings

Cahiers noirs (Black Notebooks) – Shlomi Elkabetz
H6 – Yé Yé
JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass – Oliver Stone
Jane par Charlotte – Charlotte Gainsbourg
O marinheiro das montanhas (Mariner of the Mountains) – Karim Ainouz

Midnight screenings

Oranges sanguines (Bloody Oranges) – Jean-Christophe Meurisse

Director’s Fortnight

Between Two Worlds – Emmanuel Carrère (opening film)
Our Men – Rachel Lang (closing film)

A Chiara – Jonas Carpignano
Ali & Ava – Clio Barnard
A Night of Knowing Nothing – Payal Kapadia
The Braves – Anaïs Volpé
A Brighter Tomorrow – Yassine Qnia
Clara Sola – Nathalie Álvarez Mesen
The Employer and the Employee – Manuel Nieto Zas
Europa – Haider Rashid
Fragments – Jean-Gabriel Périot
Furuta – Alice Rohrwacher, Pietro Marcello and Francesco Munzi
The Hill Where Lionesses Roar – Luàna Bajrami
Hit the Road – Panah Panahi
Integralded – Radu Muntean
Magnetic Beats – Vincent Maël Cardona
Medusa – Anita Rocha da Silveira
Murina – Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović
Neptune Frost – Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman
Ripples of Life – Shujun Wei
The Sea Ahead – Ely Dagher
The Souvenir Part II – Joanna Hogg
The Tale of King Crab – Alessio Rigo de Righi and Matteo Zoppis
The Tsugua Diaries – Miguel Gomes, Maureen Fazendeiro

Special screening

The Souvenir – Joanna Hogg

Originally published: 3 June 2021