A Canadian guide to the 2023 Cannes Film Festival | CBC News

A solid group of Canadian filmmakers will be part of the Cannes Film Festival this year, as the prestigious event gets underway with new movies from Martin Scorsese, Wim Wenders, Todd Haynes and Pedro Almodóvar.

Canada has various connections to the festival, which began Tuesday and runs until May 27, and to the Marché du Film, an industry event and market held in parallel.

This is your guide to all things Canadian on the Croisette this year.

The Weeknd, The Nature of Love and In Flames

In the Un Certain Regard section, Quebec filmmaker Monia Chokri’s film The Nature of Love (French title: Simple comme Sylvain) will be the lone Canadian film in competition. The romantic dramedy follows a wealthy woman who has an affair with a working class man. Chokri’s film A Brother’s Love competed in the same category in 2019, winning the Jury Coup de Coeur Award.

Meanwhile, Canadian singer and actor Abel Tesfaye — known by his stage name The Weeknd — is the star and co-creator of upcoming HBO drama The Idol. The series will premiere outside of competition at this year’s festival. Lily Rose Depp plays a bad girl pop star who has a toxic dalliance with Tesfaye’s self-help cult leader.

Also highly anticipated is In Flames, Pakistani Canadian filmmaker Zarrar Kahn’s feature directorial debut. The horror film will have its world premiere at the festival’s Directors Fortnight, following a mother and daughter engulfed by evil after the death of the family patriarch.

Film in development

Two Canadian filmmakers will bring their projects to the Cannes impACT Lab, a program meant to foster co-productions between countries. Thai Canadian producer and director Nach Dudsdeenaytha — based in Vancouver — is developing a feature called Akashi, while Toronto-based Turkish Canadian filmmaker Sibel Guvenc is developing her debut feature Lola.

A woman walks down a palm tree-lined street with posters nearby advertising Cannes.
A person walks along the Croisette prior to the 75th Cannes Film Festival on May 16, 2022. This year’s fest runs from May 16 until May 27. (Petros Giannakouris/The Associated Press)

The Docs-in-Progress Showcase from Telefilm Canada and the Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal (RIDM) includes four documentary projects looking for distribution: Sean Devlin’s Asog follows a non-binary teacher and typhoon survivor; Laurence Lévesque’s Mama no himitsu, about a Japanese Canadian woman who returns to Japan to honour her late mother’s memories; The Death Tour by Sonya Ballantyne and Stephan Peterson and Pablo Alvarez-Mesa’s The Soldier’s Lagoon.

Short films

Telefilm’s short film showcase Not Short on Talent returns to the festival year with seven selections:

  • Teyama Alkamli’s I Never Promised You a Jasmine Garden, about a queer Arab woman in love with her best friend.
  • Dada’s Joie de vivre, about a destabilizing breakfast table conversation between a couple.
  • Derek Kwan’s 100 Days, in which a surprise guest arrives at a Chinese family’s dinner.
  • Karen Knox’s The Comics, about two comedians who come to regret a joke they’ve told.
  • Catherine Boivin’s 6 minutes/km, a dreamy vision of the filmmaker’s morning runs.
  • Olivier Côté’s The Kings, a tale of two summer camp counsellors.
  • Vanessa Magic’s The Future Above Us, about a woman scared of moving to a new planet after surviving an apocalyptic event.

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