Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

Cannes 2024: Time to decide. Who will win the Palme d'Or?

For the Iranian director, whose “The Seed of a Sacred Fig” was one of the last to be shown in this year's competition, a visit to Cannes is associated with a personal drama. He has been repressed by his country's authorities for years for his politically engaged work and open criticism of the regime. Including being in prison and being banned from leaving Iran. Rasoulof decided to take a desperate step, which was to escape from his homeland after being convicted once again, which he told in detail in an interview for Deadline magazine. Moreover, his latest film was largely made in secret, without the knowledge of the authorities, without professional equipment and only with the participation of the necessary crew.

“The Seed of a Sacred Fig” this is a cinema in which politics plays the main role, and the director shows in a very suggestive way how it affects the everyday life of an Iranian family. Suspended between the man's career in the structures of the state apparatus, his wife trying to maintain the status quo, and two daughters representing the young generation which, after the death of Mahsa Amini, increasingly expresses its opposition and anger towards the regime. I have no doubt that the shocking events surrounding Rasoulof's stay in Cannes will not go unnoticed and may influence the jury's decisions, but in artistic terms “The Seed of a Sacred Fig” is a film that deserved an important Cannes award. Intense, well-thought-out, generating great emotions. It is possible that the Iranian director will now add the Palme d'Or to the 2020 Berlin Golden Bear for “There Is No Evil” (he was unable to accept it in person at that time).

American Sean Baker is also a serious candidate for the final triumph “Anora” triumphed in the journalists' ranking published in the prestigious “Screen” magazine. The director of “The Florida Project” (2017) and “Red Rocket” (2021) once again stole the hearts of viewers, including mine. This time a modern variation on the fairy tale about Cinderella. The heroine of his new film is an erotic dancer whose life has the potential to change dramatically after she meets the teenage son of a Russian billionaire. Baker, despite the huge sympathy of the audience, has not yet had any luck with awards at the Cannes festival, but perhaps this time the tide will turn. If we add to this the two French titles that I mentioned in the previous correspondence, i.e “Emilia Pérez” Jacques Audiard and “The Substance” Coralie Fargeat, as well as a film from India “All We Imagine as Light” Payal Kapadia (this could be a dark horse!), it's going to be an extremely interesting and exciting Saturday evening.

I hope that the race for the Palme d'Or will ultimately be decided between the first two titles I mentioned. But at the same time, I would like each of the mentioned films to find recognition in the eyes of the jurors, because they definitely deserved it. I would give Audiard the award for best director and Fargeat – for best screenplay. The competition for the best actress award promises to be very interesting, as there has been no such competition in this category for years. Demi Moore, Zoe Saldana, or maybe Vic Carmen Sonne from “Girls with a Needle” Magnus von Horn? In this context, I remember much less expressive male outfits. I would probably choose Jesse Plemons from “Kinds of Kindness” by Giorgos Lanthimos.

And what will it be like? We will find out on Saturday evening.

Kuba Armata, Cannes