Cannes Critics’ Week, a parallel film festival sidebar selected by the French syndicate of film critics, has unveiled its roster of 11 feature films for 2023, including seven competition titles and four special screenings.
The section focuses on the first and second feature films by emerging directors. The 62nd edition will take place alongside Cannes’ main festival from May 17 to 25.
This year’s lineup includes two Asian horror films: the Korean horror film sleep (jam) from Bong Joon-Ho’s new director and former assistant, Jason Yu, and Tiger Stripes by Malaysian director Amanda Eu. The former features Parasite star Lee Sun-kyun and Jung Yu-mi of Train to Busan as newlyweds whose lives slide into horror caused by the husband’s strange behavior while he sleeps. Inspired by Southeast Asian folklore, Tiger Stripes is a coming-of-age story about a 12-year-old girl whose body begins to change in alarming and horrifying ways as she enters puberty.
Physical changes of a different kind take center stage Stream Alley (Levante), the title of the game from Brazilian director Lillah Halla, about a budding teen volleyball champion who discovers she is pregnant and violates Brazil’s abortion ban in her efforts to pursue an illegal termination of pregnancy. Halla, whose short Menarca screened at Cannes Critics’ Week in 2020, developed Power Alley with the support of the Critics’ Week Next Step initiative, a program designed to help filmmakers transition from their first short film to their first feature film.
Amjad Al Rasheed becomes the first-ever Jordanian director in Critics’ Week with Inshallah a boy. The drama, starring Palestinian actress Mouna Hawa (A House In Jerusalem), explores Jordan’s sexist inheritance laws through the story of a woman fighting for her economic survival and independence after the death of her husband. This is Al Rasheed’s feature film debut, after he garnered attention with the award-winning short film The parrotco-directed with Darin J. Sallam.
Also in the Week of the Critics competition this year are the French psychological thriller Le Ravissement from director Iris Kaltenbäck, starring Hafsia Herzi as a woman who kidnaps her friend’s newborn baby in an attempt to build a life with a former lover; the Belgian drama Il Pleut Dans La Maison from director Paloma Sermon-Daï’s book about two teenagers who are left alone in a dilapidated house during the summer holidays; And Lost land by director Vladimir Perišić, a Serbian drama set against the background of student demonstrations in Belgrade in 1996 against the attempted election fraud by then president Slobodan Milošević. Perišić appeared in Critics’ Week in 2009 with Ordinary people.
Ava Cahen, now in her second year as Artistic Director of Critics’ Week, made a big impact on her debut, with breakthrough hits including Charlotte Wells’ Oscar nominee After sunthe Portuguese feature film by Cristèle Alves Meira Alma Vivaand Andrés Ramírez Pulido’s Colombian drama La Jauria. This year’s Critics’ Week poster features a scene off After sun.
by Marie Amachoukeli Mama Gloriaa drama about the deep bond between a motherless six-year-old and her nanny, opens the Critics’ Week section in a special screening, and Erwan Le Duc’s No love loststarring 120 beats per minute actor Nahuel Perez Biskart as a single father raising a daughter (Céleste Brunnquell), closes the section. Stéphan Castang’s zombie film will also be screened this year Vincent must die and the Belgian romantic comedy The (experience) of love by director duo Ann Sirot and Raphaël Balboni, about a couple who are trying to conceive and decide to sleep with their ex-partner.
Audrey Diwan, whose French abortion drama happens won the Golden Lion at the 2021 Venice Film Festival and will head this year’s Critics’ Week jury alongside German actor Franz Rogowski, Sundance programmer Kim Yutani, Portuguese cinematographer Rui Poças and Indian journalist Meenakshi Shedde.
Check out the full line-up for Critics’ Week 2023 below.
Stream Alley (Levante)Lillah Halla
Il Pleut Dans La MaisonPaloma Sermon-Daï
Inshallah a boyAmjad Al Rasheed
sleep (jam)Jason Yu
Lost landVladimir Perisic
Le RavissementIris Kaltenback
Tiger StripesAmanda Nell Eu
opening film — Mama GloriaMaria Amachoukeli
The (experience) of loveAnn Sirot & Raphael Balboni
Vincent must dieStephen Castan
Closing film — No love lostErwan Le Duc