The 2016 Cannes Film Festival is in full swing, and in between Blake Lively pretending she’s Grace Kelly or some shit and Kristen Stewart saying some truly wince-worthy things about her decision to star in Woody Allen’s Cafe Society (“If [co-star Jesse Eisenberg and I] were persecuted for the amount of shit that’s been said about us that’s not true, our lives would be over.” KRIS-TEN. WE. ARE. TALKING. ABOUT. CHILD. MOLESTATION.), there are some films playing. Last year, Carol, The Lobster, Son of Saul and Sicario came out of Cannes—it’s generally a pretty good spot for the, shall we say, more adult offerings hitting theatres over the subsequent year.
And ohhhhh boy, the label “adult” sure looks like it applies to The Handmaiden (aka Mademoiselle), a lesbian erotic thriller that has Cannes buzzing. It’s the latest film from Korean auteur Park Chan-Wook, who also directed (among others) Oldboy, Thirst, Lady Vengeance, and his criminally underseen English-language debut Stoker; here, he returns to Korea for an adaptation of Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith, about a handmaiden who’s tasked with duping an heiress into marrying a con artist, but instead starts up a relationship with the heiress herself. (The Handmaiden moves the action from the UK to 1930s Korea, during Japanese occupation.) Reviews out of Cannes throw around phrases like “luridly mesmerizing” and “sexy and depraved,” and “lurid lesbian potboiler.”
It looks… intense.
Anyway. Here are some other movies making some waves at Cannes. They all look good, but none of them (probably) have anyone doing whatever the fuck’s going on in that mannequin scene, so how good can they be, really?
Director: Andrea Arnold
Synopsis: “Star (Sasha Lane), a teenage girl from a troubled home, runs away with a traveling sales crew who drive across the American Midwest selling magazine subscriptions door to door. Finding her feet in this gang of teenagers, one of whom is Jake (Shia LaBeouf), she soon gets into the group’s lifestyle of hard-partying nights, law-bending days, and young love.”
Why should you care?: Between Fish Tank and Wuthering Heights, Brit Andrea Arnold is one of the most promising directors working today, and critics have fallen hard for her latest; Variety says the Palme d’Or could be “Arnold’s prize to lose.” Lest the presence of LaBeouf turn you off, he’s apparently really good in the film, and he hasn’t engaged in any douchebaggy shenanigans at the fest itself.
Director: Jeff Nichols
Synopsis: “‘Loving’ celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving, who married and then spent the next nine years fighting for the right to live as a family in their hometown. Their civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia, went all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1967 reaffirmed the very foundation of the right to marry - making their love story an inspiration to couples everywhere.”
Why should you care?: Great story, great director (Nichols directed Take Shelter, Mud and Midnight Special), and a great cast—Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton play Mildred and Richard Loving, with Michael Shannon as Grey Villet, the LIFE photographer who took iconic photos of the couple—are enough to put this one on our radar. It hits theatres this November from Focus Features.