There’s no other film event that courts excitement quite like Cannes Film Festival, which will once again invite cinephiles from around the world to the Croisette to get their first look at some of the most anticipated films of the year from 14th-25th May.

Notable entries vying for the coveted Palme d’Or this year include David Crononberg’s The Shrouds, which stars Vincent Cassell and Diane Kruger, and is being touted as the filmmakers most personal film yet, the long-awaited unveiling of Francis Ford Coppola’s latest high wire act Megalopolis, and Kinds of Kindness, a surprise new Yorgos Lanthimos film that will see him reunite with his Dogtooth (2009) and The Lobster (2015) Efthimis Filippou. Also inviting anticipation is Andrea Arnold’s Bird, starring Barry Koeghan, Ali Abbasi’s Donald Trump biopic The Apprentice, Anora, Sean Baker’s follow up to the electrifying Red Rocket (2021), and Oh, Canada, from Paul Schrader, starring Jacob Elordi.

Now that the lineup has had a few weeks to simmer, we’ve parsed through every announced title to find seven gems that we think are worth keeping an eye out for.

Scénarios (dir. Jean-luc Godard)

What kind of movie does the greatest filmmaker of all time make twenty-four hours before his death? At this year’s Cannes, we’ll find out. Scenarios, the final film by the iconic (and the word has never felt more apt) French-Swiss auteur Jean-Luc Godard, shot only a day before his death by assisted suicide, will premiere at the Cannes Classics strand of the festival. Not much is known about the premise of the film itself  other than it’s 18 minutes long and will be supported by a 34-minute introduction by Godard himself, billed as a hybrid of “still and moving images, halfway between reading and seeing.”

Caught By The Tides (dir. Jia Zhangke)

It’s been six long years since Chinese director Jia Zhangke released his stylish thriller Ash Is Purest White—a film that has not only aged into modern classic status, but also boasts the downright smoothest use of Village People’s Y.M.C.A. in a movie, frankly, ever—but the festival darling is finally back in-competition with Caught By The Tides. The film stars longtime Zhangke muse (and spouse) Zhao Tao, who plays, like in Ash, a woman who crosses provinces in search of a lost lover.

Grand Tour (dir. Miguel Gomes)

Though it doesn’t have the clout of Kinds of Kindness and Megalopolis, there’s no other film in-competition that looks quite as breathtaking as Miguel Gomes’ Grand Tour, which may well prove to be this year’s underdog. The Portuguese director has slowly been making a name for himself with a string of ambitious and acclaimed outings like Arabian Nights (2015), Our Beloved Month of August (2008) and the recent The Tsugua Diaries (2022), and there’s a buzz in the air hinting that Grand Tour could see the culmination of Gomes’ hard-earned momentum in glorious fashion.

Spectateurs! (dir. Arnaud Desplechin)

“What is going to the movies? Why have we been going for over 100 years? I wanted to celebrate cinemas and their magic.” Said Arnaud Desplechin about his new film Spectateurs!, the english title of which is Filmlovers! A mainstay at the Croisette, Desplechin has premiered almost every one of his film’s at the festival. There’s nothing that gets a Cannes crowd riled up like a film about filmmaking, and regardless, Spectateurs! Looks to be a refreshing departure from Desplechin’s usual approach. 

An Unfinished Film (dir. Lou Ye)

A Chinese film crew shooting near Wuhan struggles to complete a film they started production on a decade prior when the city is suddenly put under lockdown, in this new documentary from acclaimed sixth gen Chinese filmmaker Lou Ye. Though Ye has often encountered controversy in his home country (the Chinese government has banned him from making movies multiple times), he’s always had a home at Cannes, which has previously premiered his features Mystery (2012), Summer Palace (2006), and the beloved Spring Fever (2009), and after recent retrospectives on Mubi and Criterion Channel, it’s the perfect time for the director to step back into the festival spotlight.

The Balconettes (dir. Noémie Merlant)

Noemie Merlant has been one of  France’s most captivating screen presences since she first took the world stage in Heaven Can Wait (which earned her her first Cesar nomination), but withThe Balconettes, the accomplished actor is taking her talents behind the camera. Directed and co-written by Merlant, The Balconettes is a horror-comedy that follows three roommates whose Marseilles Summer takes a turn for the worst after an encounter with their mysterious neighbour.

September Says (dir. Ariane Labed)

Noemie Merlant isn’t the only actor-turned-director launching their debut feature at the fest this year, with Greek-French Ariane Labed premiering her film September Says, which follows sisters September and July, whose relationship strains after July begins to explore her independence following a school suspension. Well known for her collaborations with Yorgos Lanthimos (whom she is also married to), September Says promises to be a new chapter for a filmmaker whose screen performances we’ve been admiring for years.