What to expect from the Cannes Film Festival 2023

Here’s everything that you need to know about one of the most-awaited film festivals of the year.

Harper's Bazaar India

We’re just a day away from cinema’s biggest showcase. Yes, we’re talking about none other than the Cannes Film Festival, the iconic calendar event—one filled with glitz and glamour on red carpet—that will be hosted in the resort city of Cannes, on the French Riviera. This year’s edition, the 76th, will, like always, be filled with screenings, glamourous parties (and after parties)  and commence on the 16th of this month with the French-language film Jeanne du Barry starring director Maiwenn and Johnny Depp, closing with Pixar's animated film Elemental on the 27th.

With a host of A-listers from Hollywood and Bollywood all set to dazzle on the red carpet, we tell you what’s in store at the festival this year. 

First, the movies

All eyes will be on the top prize—the Palme d'Or, whose past winners include Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now, Pulp Fiction, The Pianist, Parasite, and last year’s winner Triangle of Sadness

There are as many as 21 films contending for the Palme d’Or prize this year. They are The Zone of Interest by Jonathan Glazer, Kuolleet Lehdet (Fallen Leaves) by Aki Kaurismaki, Les Filles d’Olfa (Four Daughters) by Kaouther Ben Hania, Asteroid City by Wes Anderson, Anatomie d'une chute (Anatomy of a Fall) by Justine Triet, Kaibutsu (Monster) by Kore-eda Hirokazu, Il Sol dell Avvenire (A Brighter Tomorrow) by Nanni Moretti, L’ete dernier (Last Summer) by Catherine Breillat, Kuru Otlar Ustune (About Dry Grasses) by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, La Chimera by Alice Rohrwacher, La Passion de Dodin Bouffant (The Pot-au-Feu by Tran Anh Hung), Rapito (Kidnapped) by Marco Bellocchio, May December by Todd Haynes, Qing Chun (Youth) by Wang Bing, The Old Oak by Ken Loach, Banel e Adama by Ramata-Toulaye Sy, Perfect Days by Wim Wenders, Firebrand by Karim Aïnouz, Black Flies by Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire, and Le Retour (Homecoming) by Catherine Corsini.

The other awards include the Grand Prix, jury prize, best director, best actor, best actress, best screenplay, and best short film. This year’s festival will see acting legend Michael Douglas receive his honorary Palme d’Or too.

Expect nothing less than a star-studded affair

It’ll be celebs, celebs, and celebs everywhere as Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert DeNiro will be in attendance for the upcoming Martin Scorsese film Killers of the Flower Moon, while Harrison Ford, Mads Mikkelsen, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge will showcase the last installment in the Indiana Jones saga—Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. Other big films headlining at the festival will be Johnny Depp starrer, Maïwenn’s Jeanne Du Barry and Jude Law and Alicia Vikander featuring in Karim Aïnouz’s historical drama Firebrand

Last, but certainly not least is the star-studded Asteroid City that’ll see Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, Margot Robbie, Edward Norton, and Maya Hawke amongst others have all eyes on them. 

The Indian films at Cannes this year

It’s not one, not two, but three films from India that will be shown at the upcoming festival. First up is director Anurag Kashyap's Kennedy, which has been selected as part of the Midnight Screenings section of the festival. The film revolves around an ex-cop, thought to be dead, who operates for the corrupt system and looks for redemption. That will be followed by the Rahul Roy-starrer Agra, which will have its world premiere at the Directors' Fortnight section of the fest. The film is an exploration of sexual dynamics within a family and the deep dystopian fractures created in modern India that are fast shrinking into pigeon-holed spaces. Lastly, is Manipuri film-maker Aribam Syam Sharma's award-winning film of 1990 Ishanou. It has been officially selected for a red-carpet world premiere on May 19 at the prestigious Cannes Classic section of the festival. This restored film becomes the only Indian film to be considered under the Classic Section of the Cannes Film Festival this year, a segment that celebrates restored versions of all-time classics.

The festival will also see actor Anushka Sharma make her debut on the Cannes red carpet along with 2017 Miss World and actor, Manushi Chillar.