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Cannes Critics’ Week Unveils 2024 Lineup

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Cannes Critics’ Week, the sidebar dedicated to first and second films, will open with Jonathan Millet’s psychological thriller “Ghost Trail” and wrap with Emma Benestan’s genre film “Animale.”

“Ghost Trail” and “Animale” are two of the 11 features slated for Critics’ Week, which runs alongside the Cannes Film Festival.

The sole U.S. film of the selection is Constance Tsang’s “Blue Sun Palace,” a bittersweet film about two Chinese immigrants living in Queens who bond following a tragic death and find meaning in each other’s company. “As humble and dignified as its characters, this first, realistic and intimate, film sheds light on a community that is little seen,” said Ava Cahen, Critics’ Week’s artistic director. “Blue Sun Palace” stars Lee Kang-sheng whose recent credits include “Twisted Strings.”

Besides the opening and closing films, the Special Screenings section will comprise of Saïd Hamich Benlarbi’s “Across the Sea” and Alexis Langlois’ first feature “Queen of Dramas.”

“Across the Sea,” a melodrama set in the ’90s and boasting a score of Raï music, depicts 10 years in the life of a clandestine Moroccan immigrant in Marseille. The film stars Grégoire Colin, Anna Mouglalis and rising actor Ayoub Gretaa. “Across the Sea” marks Hamich Benlarbi’s follow up to “Retour à Bollène.”

“Queens of Drama,” meanwhile, is a pop, queer musical comedy following an influencer who falls for a punk singer from the 2000s. Cahen described the film as a “glittery, vibrant love letter to cinema and its history, its styles and genres. The film stars Louiza Aura and Gio Ventura, along with Bilal Hassani, Asia Argento and Alma Jodorowsky.

“Ghost Trail” is inspired by real-life events and tells the story of a Syrian man pursuing some of the people who perpetrated horrors in the name of the regime during the civil war. Cahen described the film as a “thrilling sensory film in which French-Tunisian actor Adam Bessa’s subtlety leaves us breathless.” 

“Animale” is a feminist genre film at the “crossroads between western, slasher, body horror, and revenge film, in the heart of the Camargue,” Cahen said. The film stars Oulaya Amamra, who previously starred in “Divines.”

The other films set to world premiere at Critics’ Week include the romantic genre film “Locust,” which marks the feature debut of Taiwanese multidisciplinary artist KEFF; Leonardo Van Dijl’s “Julie Keeps Quiet”; Argentinian director Federico Luis’s “Simon of the Mountain”; Brazilian director Marcelo Caetano’s “Baby”; Nada Riyadh and Ayman El Amir’s “The Brink of Dreams” and French director Antoine Chevrollier’s “Block Pass.” A record 1,050 feature films were submitted for Critics’ Week, a third of which were directed by female directors. The 63rd edition of Critics Week will take place May 15-23.

Competition

“Baby,” Marcelo Caetano

“Blue Sun Palace,” Constance Tsang

“The Brink of Dreams,” Nada Riyadh and Ayman El Amir

“Julie Keeps Quiet,” Leonardo Van Dijl

“Locust,” KEFF

“Block Pass,” Antoine Chevrollier

“Simon of the Mountain,” Federico Luis

Special Screenings

“Ghost Trail,” Jonathan Millet (Opening Film)

“Queens of Drama,” Alexis Langlois

“Across the Sea,” Saïd Hamich Benlarbi

“Animale,” Emma Benestan (Closing Film)