Cannes 2020 Lineup Unveiled

The French Dispatch
Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

Wes Anderson's 'The French Dispatch,' starring Timothée Chalamet, Elisabeth Moss, Saoirse Ronan and Tilda Swinton, is one of the highlights. Films from the canceled event will screen at other festivals around the world.

The message from the Cannes Film Festival is: Coronavirus or not, the show must go on. The iconic French festival, which was as scheduled to run May 12-23 but was forced to cancel its physical event due to the coronavirus pandemic, on Wednesday unveiled its lineup for Cannes 2020, a selection of films that will carry the Cannes brand to the screen at other events around the world.

The Cannes 2020 program includes many of the year's buzziest art house and indie titles — among them Wes Anderson's The French Dispatch; Naomi Kawase's True Mothers; François Ozon's Summer of '85ADN (aka DNA), directed by and starring French filmmaker Maïwenn (Polisse); and Thomas Vinterberg’s pro-drinking drama Another Round. (Scroll down for the full lineup).

Pixar's Soul, the animated feature from Inside Out director Pete Docter, which was widely tipped to have its world premiere in Cannes, also made the cut for the Cannes 2020 selection. Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey and Questlove are among the voice talents on the picture, whose release Disney has pushed back to November of this year.

British director Steve McQueen, who started his film career in Cannes, winning the best first feature award for his 2008 debut, Hunger, returns, post-best picture Oscar for 12 Years a Slave, with two films: Lover’s Rock and Mangrove.

Viggo Mortensen's directorial debut Falling, which premiered at this year's Sundance festival, also scored a Cannes 2020 slot. God's Own Country director Francis Lee will make his Cannes debut with his new feature, Ammonite, a period drama starring Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan and Fiona Shaw.

Cannes unveiled the Cannes 2020 lineup in the grand but — because of coronavirus restrictions — all-but-empty UGC Normandie cinema in Paris.

Cannes artistic director Thierry Frémaux picked a total of 56 films for the Cannes 2020 selection, many of which had planned to premiere on the Croisette. Instead, they will now screen at different partner festivals around the world. The titles will be gathered together in a single list, not split up into the traditional festival categories of competition, Un Certain Regard, out of competition, Midnight Screenings, and special screenings. There is no competition, no jury and no prizes will be awarded. Spike Lee, who would have been president of this year's Cannes jury, has been invited to head up the jury for next year's festival.

Introducing the lineup on Wednesday, Frémaux name-checked events including Toronto, Deauville, San Sebastian, Pusan, Morelia, Angoulême, New York, Rome, Rio, Tokyo, Mumbai, Mar del Plata and Sundance. It is not yet clear whether those festivals will screen a portion or all of the Cannes 2020 films. San Sebastian, scheduled to run Sept. 18-26, has agreed to allow Cannes 2020 titles to screen in competition for its top honor, the Golden Shell.

In addition to the bigger names, this year's lineup includes a typical Cannes mix of international art house titles. Highlights include Sweat, a Polish-language drama from Magnus von Horn, who made his directorial debut with The Here After in Cannes in 2015.

The selected films will also carry the Cannes 2020 brand, which they can use for marketing and promotional purposes as they roll out in theaters. "Cannes is the single most important brand for international art house audiences. Cinephiles around the world pay attention to what Cannes selects," Andrew Frank, vp sales and acquisitions at Canadian distributor Mongrel Media told The Hollywood Reporter. Mongrel prebought Vinterberg’s Another Round for the Canadian market and will be using the Cannes 2020 label as part of its marketing for the film.

Last year's festival reasserted the strength of the Cannes brand. Bong Joon Ho's Parasite used its Palme d'Or win to springboard to a best picture Oscar and a $250 million-plus global box office haul, while the 2019 lineup also delivered such art house cross-over titles as Celine Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire and Pedro Almodovar’s Pain and Glory.

Cannes also released statistics that showed 16, or 28.5 percent, of the films in its Official Selection were directed by women, compared to 14 titles (23.7 percent) from last year. A total of 532 female directors submitted their film to the Official Selection, 25.7 percent of the total, compared to 575 female directors registered in 2019.

French and French-language films are particularly well represented in the lineup, with 21 titles in Cannes 2020, compared to 13 last year. The single Canadian film picked for official selection — Nadia, Butterfly, from director Pascal Plante (Fake Tattoos) — is also a majority French-language title.

From the start, Frémaux rejected the option of taking Cannes online, as some film festivals, including SXSW, have done. Frémaux is a steadfast supporter of the primacy of the theatrical release. Cannes famously banned Netflix films from its competition lineup. He also refused to cancel Cannes.

"Cancellation has never been an option," Frémaux said in his speech introducing the lineup on Wednesday. "As you probably know, the festival was canceled only once, in 1939. And only one other edition did not go to completion, it was in 1968. In 2020, if [the festival] could not take its usual form, it was necessary for it to take another form. It could not just disappear."

Cannes 2020 Lineup

Wes Anderson — The French Dispatch

Pete Docter — Soul

Francois Ozon — Summer Of 85

Naomi Kawase — True Mothers

Steve McQueen — Lover’s Rock

Steve McQueen — Mangrove

Thomas Vinterberg — Another Round

Maïwenn – ADN

Viggo Mortensen— Falling

Francis Lee – Ammonite

Magnus von Horn — Sweat

Pascal Plante — Nadia, Butterfly

Jonathan Nossiter — Last Words

Im Sang-Soo — Heaven: To The Land of Happiness

Fernando Trueba — Forgotten We'll Be

Yeon Sang-Ho — Peninsula

Sharunas Bartas — In the Dusk

Lucas Belvaux — Home Front

Koji Fukada — The Real Thing

Marie Castille Mention-Schaar — A Good Man

Danielle Arbid — Passion Simple

Emmanuel Mouret — Les Choses Qu'on Dit, Les Choses Qu'on Fait

Ayten Amin — Souad

Ben Sharrock — Limbo

Farid Bentoumi — Red Soil

Ludovic and Zoran Boukherma — Teddy

Kamen Kalev — February

Elie Wajeman — Un Medecin du Nuit

Oskar Roehler — Enfant Terrible

Nir Bergman — Here We Are

Ninja Thyberg — Pleasure

Charlène Favier — Slalom

Joao Paulo Miranda Maria — Memory House

Jimmy Keyrouz — Broken Keys

Samir Guesmi — Ibrahim

Déa Kulumbegashvili — Beginning

Fanny Liatard, Jérémy Trouilh — Gagarine

Suzanne Lindon — 16 Printemps

Peter Dourountzis — Vaurien

Nicolas Maury — Garcon Chiffon

Nora Martirosyan — Should the Wind Fall

Pascual Sisto —John and the Hole

Wei Shujun — Striding Into The Wind

Dani Rosenberg —The Death of Cinema and My Father Too

Dieudo Hamadi— The Billion Road

Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw — The Truffle Hunters

Xavier de Lauzanne —9 Jours a Raqqa

Ann Hui, Johnnie To, Tsui Hark, Sammo Hung, Yuen Woo-Ping and Patrick Tam — Septet: The Story of Hong Kong

Caroline Vignal — Antoinette Dans Les Cévenènnes

Bruno Podalydès — Les Deux Alfred

Emmanuel Courcol — The Big Hit

Laurent Lafitte — L'Origine du Monde

Laurent Lafitte — Le Discours

Goro Miyazaki — Earwig and the Witch

Jonas Poher Rasmussen — Flee

Aurel — Josep