Following part one of our 2024 preview, we’re counting down our 50 most-anticipated films of the year.
50. The Actor (Duke Johnson)
Duke Johnson, one half of the directing duo behind Anomalisa, makes his solo directorial (and live-action) debut with The Actor. For being based on the posthumously published novel from Donald E. Westlake, a synopsis points towards an amnesia thriller with André Holland as a New York City actor beaten and stranded in 1950s Ohio. Gemma Chan and Toby Jones co-star. As a state native I’m intrigued how they shot Budapest for small-town Ohio––the two don’t exactly scream perfect matches, but I won’t doubt the movie magic before I see it. Anomalisa was a wholly original stop-motion feature; we’re intrigued how Johnson continues that creativity in the live-action realm. – Caleb H.
49. Presence (Steven Soderbergh)
Steven Soderbergh has flirted with horror before––2018’s Unsane in particular nearly broke out of its psychological-thriller straitjacket––but his latest collaboration with screenwriter David Koepp (writer of the most purely enjoyable film from his current phase, Kimi) appears to be a good old-fashioned fright fest. The brief synopsis reads: “A family discover they are not alone when they move into a new house”. Whether that refers to a home-invasion story or something more supernatural, we’ll find out soon enough. But I’m hoping the chameleonic filmmaker is ticking another genre off his bucket list. – Alistair R.
48. Dao (Alain Gomis)
After his recent stellar archival documentary Rewind & Play, Alain Gomis wrapped production on his next feature, the narrative drama Dao, last summer. Cineuropa reports the film follows “Gloria, who is marrying her daughter in the Paris banlieue today. Not long ago, in Guinea-Bissau, she was attending the ceremony which consecrated her dead father as an ancestor. From one ceremony to the other, between past and present, life and death, reality and fiction, Gloria reconciles with her history, finds her place, and knows a moment of peace…” Expect this one to show up on the festival circuit soon. – Jordan R.
47. Lucca Mortis (Peter Greenaway)
Peter Greenaway’s eccentric films have dazzled and baffled and offended viewers for almost half a century. His latest, starring Dustin Hoffman, is set in Italy, with its star playing Jacob––named for the biblical character. The film is a meditation on death and dying or, as the director himself said, “a fight with the angels.” Like all of Greenaway’s work so far, it’ll be like nothing we’ve seen before. – Fran H.
46. The Magnificent Life of Marcel Pagnol (Sylvain Chomet)
If you love France and animated films, you’ve undoubtedly already seen something by Sylvain Chomet. The Oscar-nominated cartoonist and director is back with another feature, the long-in-the-works The Magnificent Life of Marcel Pagnol. We’re suckers for movies about movies and animated projects that tackle real life––this fits the bill(s) perfectly. Pagnol is widely regarded as one of France’s greatest writers of the 20th century, and he was the first filmmaker elected to the Académie française. – Lena W.
45. I Saw the TV Glow (Jane Schoenbrun)
Jane Schoenbrun’s Sundance breakout We’re All Going to the World’s Fair was one of the most-celebrated features to date by a transgender filmmaker, and they seem well on the way to a flourishing, long-running career, with their third feature Nevada also ramping up production. For this year, Schoenbrun will premiere I Saw the TV Glow, produced by A24 and Emma Stone’s company Fruit Tree, swapping World’s Fair’s Internet fascination for traditional broadcast media: two teenagers (Justice Smith and Brigette Lundy-Paine) face strange phenomena after their favorite TV show is canceled. Keeping with their debut’s Y2K-era nostalgia, Fred Durst is featured in the cast. – David K.
44. Kind of Kindness (Yorgos Lanthimos)
Hot off the heels of the delirious and wildly successful Poor Things, Yorgos Lanthimos and Emma Stone aren’t taking a break. Originally titled And, Lanthimos’s Kind of Kindness is an anthology co-written with Efthimis Filippou, his longtime collaborator from Dogtooth, Alps, The Lobster, and Killing of a Sacred Deer. According to Lanthimos, the film––starring Emma Stone, Jesse Plemons, Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qualley, Hong Chau, Joe Alwyn, Mamoudou Athie, and Hunter Schafer––has already been shot and editing is underway. He also says it comprises three different stories that take place in contemporary America, and the process is almost like making three different films. – Soham G.
43. All We Imagine as Light (Payal Kapadia)
Kapadia’s breakthrough A Night of Knowing Nothing was a poetic non-fiction in the Chris Marker vein, though the rising Indian filmmaker honed her chops on fiction shorts of a notably atmospheric and surreal bent. This looks to be maintained in her second feature, following the dual stories of female roommates in Mumbai nursing secrets and, in the director’s words, becoming “free of the world they belong to through a collective dream.” – David K.
42. Dune: Part II (Denis Villeneuve; March 1)
After the industry-strike shakeup pushed Villeneuve’s second-parter just four months, the anticipation for what might’ve been 2023’s biggest global movie event of the year has suddenly shifted to 2024. With the addition of Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Léa Seydoux, Tim Blake Nelson, and Christopher Walken––not to mention the security-offered, sky-high expectations created by the home run that was part one––the legend of Paul Atreides is set for a spectacular finish. – Luke H.
41. Shadow Walk (Carlos Reygadas)
Carlos Reygadas is a filmmaker who works sparsely yet consistently, having debuted a movie around every four years for the past 20. After 2018’s Our Time, he seems to have taken a little more time than usual (perhaps because of the pandemic) and his next feature, Estela de sombra aka Shadow Walk, is set for 2024. It was supposedly being filmed, like all of his features, in Mexico, though plot details are currently sparse. – Soham G.
40. Here (Robert Zemeckis)
Robert Zemeckis’ best films often work from inside-out, using concepts for the sake of whichever wizardry––either bleeding-edge tech or old-fashioned trickery––Zemeckis hopes to try. This both explains why his last few features haven’t generated quite so much excitement and why Here has potential for something major: it adapts Richard McGuire’s comic spanning a single space from 500,957,406,073 BCE to the year 22,175 CE, and set (somewhat) closer to the latter when it’s a home occupied by generation after generation of tenants. Look at these panels and imagine them brought to life––it’s almost mind-boggling in possibility. And, yes, Here marks a Forrest Gump reunion between Zemeckis, Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, and Eric Roth, but the real heads frankly hope for something a bit bolder. – Nick N.
39. Rumours (Guy Maddin)
The Canadian experimentalist obsessed with silent-era filmmaking techniques could reach new heights with Cate Blanchett. For the style of filmmaking Maddin exercises, the kind of budgets he typically gets, and the lack of significant distribution that comes with the territory, A-listers aren’t exactly in his casting purview. Lately, features haven’t been either. So this should be interesting. If you haven’t seen a Guy Maddin film, each entry constitutes a major treat. Watch his 2020 short Stump the Guesser for a little primer––it’s from the same team behind Rumours and 19 minutes well-spent. – Luke H.
38. Bird (Andrea Arnold)
Boasting two actors-of-the-moment in Barry Keoghan and Franz Rogowski, expectations are high for Andrea Arnold’s first fiction feature since American Honey. No logline has been revealed of yet, beyond the news that it’s set in the director’s hometown of Kent, England. How could the character portrayed by the magnetic Rogowski have ended up out there, we wonder? – David K.
37. Nosferatu (Robert Eggers; Dec. 25)
This take on one of the most iconic movie monsters of them all has been a passion project gestating for nearly a decade, with Robert Eggers understandably waiting until he had a few more movies under his belt so it wouldn’t be a “blasphemous” remake of a classic. With his approach to horror now easily identifiable, this is a director-material match made in heaven. – Alistair R.
36. The Brutalist (Brady Corbet)
Since Brady Corbet’s 2015 directorial debut, his breakneck acting career screeched to a halt. He doesn’t pepper in the occasional performance (his last was in 2014, a year in which he was in 10 films and series). No: he’s gone full auteur, writing and directing singular projects that, two films in, have the makings of a director who believes his name will be etched into history. If Vox Lux was any indication of the juicy complexity we can expect from Corbet’s films, The Brutalist‘s plot––which follows a real Hungarian-born Australian architect and his wife rebuilding their lives in America––places it on an epic scale. – Luke H.
35. Dry Leaf (Alexandre Koberidze)
Word is Alexandre Koberidze is still editing Dry Leaf, his much anticipated follow-up to 2021 festival favorite What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? The film––which Koberidze also wrote and shot––is said to follow the trail of a woman who went missing while photographing football stadiums and her father’s attempts to find her. With his last film, Koberidze dreamt of Lionel Messi lifting the World Cup a full three years before it happened. Expect Dry Leaf to cement him as the game’s first auteur, if not some kind of Nostradamus. – Rory O.
34. Miséricorde (Alain Guiraudie)
Knowing Guiraudie’s unflinching visions of violence and sexuality (not least in his superb novel Now the Night Begins), I’m already girding my loins for Miséricorde. It’s said to follow a noir-like plot concerning Jérémie, a 30-year-old who returns to his native Saint-Martial for a friend’s funeral. While there “he must contend with rumors and suspicion, until he commits an irreparable act and finds himself at the centre of a police investigation.” The vibes are likely to be insanely bad, and with Claire Mathon (his DP on Staying Vertical and Stranger By the Lake) in tow I anticipate it’ll come packaged in perfect images. – Nick N.
33. Black Tea (Abderrahmane Sissako)
Billed as an investigation into the growing economic and cultural relationship between Africa and China, the latest from the Mauritanian great follows a young Ivorian woman who resettles in Guangzhou and falls in love with her colleague at a tea-export shop. Their pasts and others’ prejudices test their love. Many expect a Berlin competition premiere for this one. – David K.
32. Second Part of Youth Trilogy (Wang Bing)
Wang Bing’s Youth (Spring), the first part of a trilogy, followed young underpaid textile workers living and working in Zhili, China. Wang is interested in the quotidian interpersonal relationships of lives that, in the abstract, could be considered quite dramatic. He’s quoted as saying the concluding two installments will be finished by this year. I’m not sure what the seasonal code might imply but, for someone who found Spring more interesting to think about than watch, I wouldn’t be surprised if further juxtaposition in parts two and three continue bringing it into view. – Shawn G.
31. Pavements (Alex Ross Perry)
Could this be Alex Ross Perry and Stephen Malkmus’ A Hard Day’s Night? We can but hope. The dual interest of Perry mounting the official second act of his career––to say nothing of the most iconic indie group of their generation getting another cinematic tribute following their breakup era doc Slow Century––provides some optimism. With its Brechtian approach––a corny Broadway-style jukebox musical of the band is a large element––expect something as knotty as a Wowee Zowee deep cut. – David K.
30. Mother Mary (David Lowery)
Green Knight fans rejoice: David Lowery is back this year with one for the ladies. For his third team-up with A24, Lowery is crafting an “epic pop melodrama” about a fictional musician (Anne Hathaway) and a famous fashion designer (Michaela Coel). Other cast members include Kaia Gerber and Jessica Brown-Findlay, and Jack Antonoff and Charli XCX are set to provide original music. The cherry on top: the female leads are apparently lovers, putting Anne Hathaway in her Rachel Weisz era. – Lena W.
29. Abiding Nowhere (Tsai Ming-liang)
Lee Kang-Sheng is the red-robed Buddhist monk roaming half-a-tiptoe at a time through various decrepit or famous urban areas, Tsai capturing him in equally magisterial long shots. In this feature getting a bigger festival platform than others in the Walker series––which are mostly art-gallery commissions––the monk traverses none other than Washington D.C. Squint and you may see him on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. – David K.
28. Le retour (Mati Diop)
After one of the 2010s’ great debuts with Atlantics, we’ve awaited Mati Diop’s follow-up for some time. Word finally arrived early last year (via Cineuropa) she was crafting the documentary Le retour, “about the return of the royal treasures of Abomey in Benin, snatched away by colonial plunder, to a country that has had to build itself up and come to terms with their absence.” There hasn’t been much word since then, and with Catherine Corsini debuting a film of the same name at Cannes last year, I imagine we’ll get a title change and hopefully some updates soon. – Jordan R.
27. Spectateurs! (Arnaud Desplechin)
There wasn’t exactly the need for Arnaud Desplechin to continue chronicling Paul Dedalus after 1996’s My Sex Life… or How I Got Into an Argument, but the fulfillment from checking in with this richly drawn, low-key character has made it more necessary than any known franchise. (It’s also likely I’m just willing to watch Mathieu Amalric wherever he goes.) The follow-up to 2015’s My Golden Days is (somewhat curiously) billed as a docu-fiction about “a movie theatre from the 1960s to the present day,” with Françoise Lebrun (The Mother and the Whore, Vortex) co-starring. If recent history’s any bellwether, we can anticipate Spectateurs! to be overwhelming, roundly excellent, and incapable of receiving U.S. distribution. – Nick N.
26. Trap (M. Night Shyamalan; Aug. 2)
After Knock at the Cabin, M. Night Shyamalan has ditched Universal and signed a multi-year deal with Warner Bros. The first film from that deal sounds like a delicious Hitchcockian thriller, a perfect blockbuster antidote in the late-summer season. So far we only know it’s set at a concert, will star Josh Hartnett alongside the director’s own daughter, Saleka, and is shot by the great Sayombhu Mukdeeprom; we don’t need to hear anything else to know we’ll be there. – Alistair R.
25. Anora (Sean Baker)
Prior to Red Rocket, Sean Baker was developing an ensemble drama about the opioid crisis that would have had a significantly bigger budget than any of his efforts to date. But making that dark, transgressive comedy seems to have led his artistic impulses in the completely opposite direction, and with Anora he might proudly stay in the gutter for another raucous comedy about sex workers––this time in upstate New York. It sounds like an archetypal Sean Baker film, in short, which is reason enough to be excited. – Alistair R.
24. Emmanuelle (Audrey Diwan)
French writer-director Audrey Diwan made a mark in 2021 with the Golden Lion-winning Happening, a harrowing, intimate portrait of a young girl’s pregnancy. For her sophomore effort, she’s directing Emmanuelle, readapting the 1967 novel which was also made in 1974 as an X-rated erotic drama. Diwan brings Noémie Merlant (Tár, Portrait of a Lady on Fire) to the table as her lead, a woman having a series of erotic fantasies, while Naomi Watts and Will Sharpe fill out the supporting cast. Diwan has shown a willingness to craft intimate, difficult images, to not flinch in the face of physical, sensual moments in someone’s life. Emmanuelle suggests the perfect fit. – Mike F.
23. Untitled Hong Sangsoo Film
Only the mildest confirmation a film’s even en route? Whatever. The man with the greatest prolificacy-to-success ratio wouldn’t let us down. But while Hong’s greatest attribute is his consistency, this next feature bears special anticipation for reuniting him with Isabelle Huppert and––not for nothing!––boasting a longer-than-usual shooting schedule. But this is just the one Hong we’ve heard about; I’d hardly be surprised seeing two by year’s end. A hat-trick, even? Don’t count him out. – Nick N.
22. Juror #2 (Clint Eastwood)
Just when you thought he was out––e.g. the maligned new Warner Bros. leadership expressing concern over Cry Macho’s performance––he’s happily reeled back in. With Nicholas Hoult and Toni Collette on board, we have a crack cast that will thrive under Eastwood’s no-nonsense direction and chiaroscuro frames. Hoult plays a murder-trial juror who gradually realizes his potential guilt in the victim’s death. – David K.
21. Chocobar (Lucrecia Martel)
When we recently caught up with her at the international documentary festival Visions du Reel, Lucrecia Martel spoke about her next project Chocobar, which is based on the life and murder of indigenous leader Javier Chocobar. The film is described as a documentary-narrative “hybrid” and delves not only into the life of the character, but will examine the ways that colonialism and indigenous struggle have clashed and evolved regarding land ownership over the past five centuries in Latin America. With over 300 hours of material and funding coming in piecemeal, there’s a chance Martel may not lock it this year, but we’ll be waiting whenever she deems it ready. – Soham G.
20. L’Empire (Bruno Dumont)
After 2021’s France was shot in Paris, Bruno Dumont returns to his filmmaking hub of Northern France for his 11th feature, assembling an intriguing cast including Camille Cottin (Call My Agent!), Lyna Khoudri (The French Dispatch), and Anamaria Vartolomei (Happening). Fans of Dumont’s Li’l Quinquin miniseries will be thrilled to see inept inspectors Bernard Pruvost and Philippe Jore in there as well. Even by mid-career Dumont standards––which have given us aristocratic cannibals and airlifted bovine––L’Empire‘s logline still reads as fairly insane: “from the banal daily life of a fisherman’s village on the Opal Coast, emerges the epic parallel life of knights from interplanetary kingdoms…” – Caleb H.
19. Oh, Canada (Paul Schrader)
There’s already something of a mythos around Paul Schrader’s latest, a 91-minute drama that’s allegedly retained every scene shot over its 17 days of production. Will it feature another solitary man facing existential dread and scribbling into his journal? It sounds likely. Based on Russell Banks’ 2021 novel “Foregone,” it stars Jacob Elordi, Richard Gere, and Uma Thurman, and centers on a health-stricken documentary filmmaker coming to terms with his own life. Schrader has compared it to Mishima, calling it “an assembly of scattered memories, heterogeneous formats, fragments.” It might just be his most personal movie yet. – Jake K-S.
18. The Grand Tour (Miguel Gomes)
Miguel Gomes returns with another historical fantasia, a project mounted as a larger-scale one, Selvajaria, struggled to get off the ground. We’re in Rangoon circa 1917, and a civil servant of the British Empire jilts his newly arriving fiancé to embark on a “grand tour” of the wider region. Gomes and his team did something similar as research, creating an archive of images and sounds to be interspersed with the conventional dramatic scenes. – David K.
17. Sontag (Kirsten Johnson)
Nobody expected Kirsten Johnson, she of brilliant documentaries Cameraperson and Dick Johnson Is Dead, would wade into fiction filmmaking with the standard biopic. Accordingly, Sontag has already placed itself on unusual ground: while headlining the jury at last year’s Berlinale, Kristen Stewart began shooting her role from a documentary perspective, detailing her process to become the legendary Susan Sontag for Johnson’s film, which will follow four stages in the writer’s life. A marriage of director, star, and material from which I couldn’t ask more. – Nick N.
16. Me (Don Hertzfeldt)
We don’t know anything about the Austin animator’s upcoming film, but we know what kinds of films he makes (e.g. World of Tomorrow, It’s Such a Beautiful Day, Rejected), and they inspire the deepest sense of anticipation. Hertzfeldt’s exceptional experimental animation skills, bone-dry sense of humor, quirky storytelling knacks, and––perhaps most importantly––profound existential and technological reflections add up to something unforgettable every time. – Luke H.
15. The Sparrow in the Chimney (Ramon Zürcher)
With their formally thrilling The Strange Little Cat and The Girl and the Spider being exquisite examples of blocking and performance, we look forward to the third film from the Zürcher brothers. Starring Maren Eggert, Britta Hammelstein, Andreas Döhler, and Milian Zerzawy, their latest captures a dysfunctional family. “The third part will be more explosive. The conflicts won’t be under the surface anymore, and the characters will really let things out––it’s way louder. it’s kind of a family war film, and that’s something we want to figure out and try to do,” said Ramon Zürcher, noting they will be experimenting more with camera movement with this film, which takes place over three days. – Jordan R.
14. Blitz (Steve McQueen)
Long expected to premiere at Cannes, largely because Thierry Fremaux has promised as much, Steve McQueen’s big-budget WWII drama is the latest beneficiary of Apple’s decision to invest truckloads of cash into auteur projects. Saoirse Ronan and Harris Dickinson lead the ensemble cast in this tale of Londoners living through Hitler’s bombing campaign against England’s capital. Not much is known about the specifics, but it’s Steve McQueen tackling another historical drama and one of the year’s must-sees by default. – Alistair R.
13. Father Mother Sister Brother (Jim Jarmusch)
While there are several films on this list where specific details are scarce, few are as tantalizing while remaining quite so vague as Jim Jarmusch’s next effort, his first feature since 2019’s The Dead Don’t Die. Reuniting with Cate Blanchett for the first time since Coffee and Cigarettes, all we know is that it’s been shooting in New Jersey, will continue production in Paris, and that the director has described it as “funny and sad.” Say no more––we’ll be there. – Alistair R.
12. The Nickel Boys (RaMell Ross)
RaMell Ross returns with his fiction feature debut The Nickel Boys. In this adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s eponymous novel, Nickel Academy student Elwood Curtis will do what it takes to survive the school’s corruption and terror. Featuring an onscreen reunion with When They See Us actors Aunjanue Ellis and Ethan Herisse, Ross’s “epic banal” approach in emphasizing the simple should lead The Nickel Boys to a unique examination of abuse at reform schools. – Edward F.
11. C’est pas moi (Leos Carax)
It seems, like many esteemed filmmakers of late, Leos Carax is creating a project that self-reflects. C’est pas moi is set for a 2024 release in France and, according to him, will revisit more than 40 years of the man’s filmography and question the major stations of his life while capturing political tremors of the time. If it’s anything like Carax’s last few films, we can expect something free-wheeling and fun. – Soham G.
10. Furiosa (George Miller; May 24)
From 1979 to 1985, George Miller made three Mad Max films. Over the next thirty years he wasn’t able to make any. Interest had run dry in his beloved franchise. It was Happy Feet 2 or nothing. But now––one Mad Max film to rule them all later––he’s pacing out his franchise entries. Before we get Mad Max: The Wasteland (the Fury Road sequel currently in production), Miller is taking us back in time to the story of the young Furiosa a mere 45 years after the fall of civilization. Rest assured: there’s already a war equipped with an instrument. – Luke H.
9. Serpent’s Path and Chime (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
The bar-none greatest living horror filmmaker will make two appearances this year, and if only one at least amounts to “pretty good” it’ll be leagues above known brethren. Notwithstanding any changes––such as a female protagonist––Serpent’s Path has solid precedent: even by Kurosawa’s standards is the original a cold-blooded and blood-chilling work, its story of revenge for a murdered child shaped by characteristically perfect production design, sustained atmosphere, and ornate plotting. (Its enviable cast of Damien Bonnard, Mathieu Amalric, Grégoire Colin, and Ko Shibasaki is exactly the direction we want to see it head.) Meanwhile, Chime suggests a tale of madness as only he can tell, and the typically demure Kurosawa seems comfortable talking a big game, calling it “a crazy movie, a movie that’s out of this world.” – Nick N.
8. The End (Joshua Oppenheimer)
A man (portrayed by George MacKay) has never stepped outside, living in a bunker since birth. He, his mother (Tilda Swinton), and entrepreneurial father (Michael Shannon) endure heavy obstacles in The End, the debut fiction feature (and musical) from The Act of Killing‘s Joshua Oppenheimer. According to its synopsis, Oppenheimer eliminates “Golden Age theatricality” of many musicals by emphasizing the realism of his characters’ doom and responsibilities. Considering the director’s past play with the genre, expect absurdity, dark humor, and bleak lyricism. – Edward F.
7. Mickey 17 (Bong Joon-ho; March 29)
Parasite’s Oscar sweep was the last good thing to happen before COVID, and Bong Joon-ho’s follow-up can hopefully mark another high point for Hollywood, picking up from Barbie and Oppenheimer as proof that bold, original projects from distinctive filmmakers can still be big hits. It sounds right in his wheelhouse, with its tale of a “disposable employee” (Robert Pattinson) tasked with colonizing a far-off planet feeling at-home in a filmography packed with stinging satires of late capitalism and class. If this is even a fraction of the crowd-pleaser his last effort was, expect Mickey 17 to be one of this year’s most talked-about movies. While we’d be surprised if it still makes its March 29 release date considering WB’s lack of promotion (and their release of another major sci-fi film that month), perhaps Bong will find a return to Cannes Film Festival. – Alistair R.
6. The Shrouds (David Cronenberg)
Among many things to appreciate about Crimes of the Future is how, despite seemingly playing greatest hits, the film never kowtowed to lowest-common-denominator expectations––it was slow, strangely plotted, loaded with jargon, not especially fun in its gore. Early word’s placed The Shrouds among that camp, and perhaps the saddest, toughest film David Cronenberg’s ever made––a reckoning with the passing of his wife dressed in characteristically stunning sci-fi conceits. Everybody’s seemingly forgotten a new work from the master is likely months from debut; I suspect The Shrouds will only land all the harder for it. – Nick N.
5. Suspended Time (Olivier Assayas)
We gave Suspended Time a prime place without knowing any solid details. We’d typically place anything from Olivier Assayas in the upper hype echelon, and after Irma Vep––a late-career masterwork to nearly equal Twin Peaks as longform project––anticipation hit fever-pitch, particularly with Vincent Macaigne in a leading role. We now know it’s a small-scale domestic story that suggests his greatest work––Summer Hours and Late August, Early September in particular––centered on a fraternal dynamic that suggests Assayas’ own with his brother. His work has never shied from personal expression (again: Irma Vep) but there’s also no sign he could go too deep, too far. – Nick N.
4. Hard Truths (Mike Leigh)
If other British social-realist features have the aura of stale lager served on a grimy coaster, Mike Leigh’s is milky, lukewarm tea at a modest kitchen table––one of the most unmistakable, endearing moods in world cinema. His latest finally finds him back in the present day, seen through “post-pandemic lens” after a Victorian sojourn of mixed success; it should also be his most directly political in decades. – David K.
3. We Shall Be All (Jia Zhangke)
Jia Zhangke began shooting DV footage for We Shall Be All in 2001, setting the table for a decades-spanning “dismantling of dystopia” starring (who else!) Zhao Tao as a woman who “lives to herself in silence, celebrating the prosperous Belle Epoque with songs and dance.” There’s always risk for passion projects stewing in one’s mind too long, emerging overthought and constricted (about which risk see the next two), but few filmmakers make more of their time and place than Jia; I wouldn’t anticipate anything but a brilliant, fluid encapsulation of our strange century. – Nick N.
2. The Way of the Wind (Terrence Malick)
Malick’s films wear his Christian beliefs openly with priest and pastor characters aplenty. But now he’s diving straight into the Bible with a story that retells chapters in the life of Jesus. Mark Rylance is slated to play Satan, Son of Saul actor Géza Röhrig is Jesus, and Matthias Schoenaerts is listed as the Apostle Peter. A host of other actors fill The Way of the Wind‘s IMDb page, some without character names attached––most notably Ben Kingsley. Not listed is A Hidden Life star Franz Rogowski, who recently confirmed his participation. Some of these actors may be cut come the final edit––it’s the Malick way. It’s his second straight film to shoot in Europe and the new location has Malick working with new artists: A Hidden Life cinematographer Jörg Widmer returns after years of Malick-“Chivo” Lubezki collaborations. There’s also a new production designer for Malick’s third straight feature, after working exclusively with Jack Fisk for much of his career. He takes his time in the edit bay, unworried about anything––least of all this list. If we get The Way of the Wind this year, it will be a great gift. If not, we’ll receive it graciously whenever it comes. – Caleb H.
1. Megalopolis (Francis Ford Coppola)
Well, what else? It’s one thing for this to be the return of Francis Ford Coppola, whose filmography stands on the shoulders of four films from the 1970s but runs much deeper and far stranger than that suggests, hitting the wildest of late-career resurgences between 2007 and 2011. It’s quite another that Coppola’s dreamed of Megalopolis longer than I––and likely you, and probably almost anybody reading this––have been alive, the commitment so profound he traded an entire portion of his wine fortune for budget, which (standing somewhere between $100-120 million) is about the biggest he’s ever had. Smallest peeks at the final result foretell a work of staggering ambition, genuinely utopian vision, and creative abandon never permitted at this scale. (On the basis of his recent work, this also suggests something less “from the director of The Godfather” and more “looks and sounds like a Star Wars prequel.”) Megalopolis fulfills Francis Ford Coppola’s decades-long dream, and with it film history might never be the same. – Nick N.
Special Mention: The Day the Clown Cried (Jerry Lewis)
Call it wishful thinking. There have been conflicting reports on just how much of The Day the Clown Cried is possessed by the Library of Congress or if they’ll even make that material available, but this year’s long-anticipated by anyone pining for perhaps the most notorious unseen––and, let’s be honest, likely unfinished––film of all-time. “Jerry Lewis Holocaust Movie” is the kind of thought one might consult hypnosis to banish, making this potential completion of a decades-long slow drip––clips, production stills, behind-the-scenes shots––something… notable, surely. We can only promise that much. And maybe a trip to Culpeper, Virginia this June. – Nick N.
50+ More 2024 Films on Our Radar
- Spaceman (Johan Renck; March 1)
- Road House (Doug Liman; March 21)
- The Idea of You (Michael Showalter; May 2)
- Inside Out 2 (Kelsey Mann; June 14)
- Twisters (Lee Isaac Chung; July 19)
- Flint Strong (Rachel Morrison; Aug. 9)
- Mufasa: The Lion King (Barry Jenkins; Dec. 20)
- À notre beau métier (Quentin Dupieux)
- All the Long Nights (Shô Miyake)
- Azrael (E.L. Katz)
- Babes (Pamela Adlon)
- Bring Them Down (Christopher Andrews)
- The Code (Eugene Kotlyarenko)
- Coyote vs. Acme (Dave Green)
- Echo Valley (Michael Pearce)
- Eephus (Carson Lund)
- Den of Thieves 2: Pantera (Christian Gudegast)
- The Devil’s Bath (Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz)
- Disappearance (Kirill Serebrennikov)
- Gaucho Gaucho (Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw)
- Girls State (Jesse Moss, Amanda McBaine)
- Greedy People (Potsy Ponciroli)
- Havoc (Gareth Evans)
- Hedda (Nia DaCosta)
- Henrico’s Farm (Lav Diaz)
- Humane (Caitlin Cronenberg)
- The Jealousy Man (Philippe Lacote)
- Love Me (Sam and Andy Zuchero)
- MaXXXine (Ti West)
- The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare (Guy Ritchie)
- Motel Destino (Karim Aïnouz)
- My Father’s Son (Qiu Sheng)
- The Outrun (Nora Fingscheidt)
- Parthenope (Paolo Sorrentino)
- The Piano Lesson (Malcolm Washington)
- Portraits trompeurs (Patricia Mazuy)
- Près des yeux, près du coeur (Christophe Honoré)
- Pussy Island (Zoë Kravitz)
- Reflection in a Dead Diamond (Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani)
- Sacramento (Michael Angarano)
- The Student (Ali Abbasi)
- The Substance (Coralie Fargeat)
- Swimming Home (Justin Anderson)
- La Tour de glace (Lucile Hadzihalilovic)
- Une honnête femme (Emmanuel Mouret)
- Union (Stephen Maing, Brett Story)
- Untitled Trey Edward Schults Project
- Untitled Radio Silence Monster Project (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett)
- Visitation (Nicolas Pesce)
- The Watchers (Ishana Shyamalan)
- We Live In Time (John Crowley)
- Y2K (Kyle Mooney)
Along with the above film selections, on the television side we hope Wong Kar-wai’s 25-hour, 30-part Blossoms Shanghai, now airing in China, finds U.S. distribution. Park Chan-wook’s Max-bound The Sympathizer and Alfonso Cuarón’s Apple TV+ series Disclaimer are other auteur-driven projects on the small screen worth paying attention to this year.
2025 and Beyond
Lastly, while we’ve seen a few of these show up in various 2024 previews, and for others we’ve received updates they’re in the works, there’s a strong chance the following won’t premiere until 2025 or beyond: the next films from Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Steven Spielberg, Jordan Peele, Mia Hansen-Løve, Noah Baumbach, Josh Safdie, Lynne Ramsay (any of the many reported projects in development), Claire Denis, Todd Haynes, Paul Verhoeven, and Dario Argento. Plus, we’ll likely have to wait a bit longer for the below:
- Apex (Joseph Kosinski)
- Aurora (Kathryn Bigelow)
- Bruce Lee (Ang Lee)
- A Complete Unknown (James Mangold)
- The Dreamt Adventurer (Valeska Grisebach)
- Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 421 (Paul Greengrass)
- Ella McCay (James L. Brooks)
- The Entertainment System Is Down (Ruben Östlund)
- Ezekiel Moses (James Gray)
- Eddington (Ari Aster)
- The Fountains of Paradise (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
- Frankenstein (Guillermo del Toro)
- The Island (Pawel Pawlikowski)
- Jane (Alfonso Cuarón)
- Jupiter (Andrey Zvyagintsev)
- Liarmouth (John Waters)
- Love Child (Todd Solondz)
- The Materialists (Celine Song)
- The Movie Critic (Quentin Tarantino)
- Nekrokosm (Panos Cosmatos)
- Out of This World (Albert Serra)
- Resurrection (Bi Gan)
- The Room Next Door (Pedro Almodóvar)
- Romería (Carla Simon)
- Sentimental Value (Joachim Trier)
- Tropical Gothic (Isabel Sandoval)
- Weapons (Zach Cregger)
- Where to Land (Hal Hartley)