All the Moments You Missed From the 2024 Cannes Film Festival

Every year, the poster for the Cannes Film Festival sets the tone for the 12-day showcase to follow. In 2023, it featured a frolicking Catherine Deneuve in the ’60s South of France-set La Chamade, signaling a return to unapologetic glamour and escapism. This year’s poster, however, was strikingly different: it displayed a still from Akira Kurosawa’s touching 1991 drama Rhapsody in August, which shows a family sitting on a bench and staring up at the moon—except, in the poster, the moon is instead a luminous Palme d’Or. Considering the film itself is a reflection on the ripple effects of war—in this case, World War II as it impacts a Japanese family—it was clearly an acknowledgement of the devastating crises currently gripping the world, and felt appropriately subdued and thoughtful.


Many believed that the festival would feel similarly restrained and politically engaged—and it did, in parts, though it also had its fair share of glitz and glamour. Below, all the moments you missed from the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival.

#MeToo loomed large (at least for a time)


Judith Godrèche and the cast of Moi Aussi pose with their hands covering their mouths, in a nod to the silencing of women, on the Cannes red carpet. Photo: Getty Images


Ahead of the showcase, rumors swirled of a bombshell exposé being published that would outline new accusations of abuse against a string of prominent industry figures who would be in attendance. At the pre-festival press conference, Cannes’s artistic director, Thierry Frémaux, refused to comment on the matter, stressing that the festival’s focus should be the films itself. However, that didn’t stop journalists from quizzing the likes of jury president Greta Gerwig and Léa Seydoux, the star of the festival’s opening film, The Second Act, on the topic at Cannes’s earliest press conferences—though it quickly emerged that no such report would be coming after all.


Still, women directors did what they could to ensure the subject wasn’t entirely forgotten: over the next few days, Judith Godrèche’s powerful short Moi Aussi debuted on the Croisette (and the filmmaker posed on the red carpet with her hands over her mouth to symbolize the silencing of women), alongside Rungano Nyoni’s On Becoming a Guinea Fowl, Noémie Merlant’s The Balconettes, and Sandhya Suri’s Santosh, all of which approach the issue from a number of different, equally fascinating angles.

There were nods to the war in Gaza

In his pre-festival press conference, Thierry Frémaux also spoke of his hopes for “a festival without polemics,” and organizers did their best to deliver exactly that: protests were banned, and while, initially, the festival was reportedly amenable to a plan for Arab filmmakers to wear pins in support of Palestinians, it later changed course. That’s not to say that no one made their voices heard: some attendees did indeed wear ceasefire pins; before the festival kicked off, Lupin star and jury member Omar Sy publicly called for a ceasefire; and on May 21, at the festival’s Algerian pavilion, a moment of silence was observed in memory of those killed in Gaza.


Bella Hadid on the Croisette in her Michael and Hushi keffiyeh dress. Photo: Getty Images 


Cate Blanchett at the premiere of The Apprentice in her Haider Ackermann-designed Jean Paul Gaultier gown, which some believed was a nod to the Palestinian flag. Photo: Getty Images


Meanwhile, Bella Hadid showed solidarity and honored her own Palestinian heritage with a Michael and Hushi keffiyeh dress, and Cate Blanchett’s floor-length, Haider Ackermann-designed Jean Paul Gaultier gown for the premiere of The Apprentice generated much discourse, with some viewers speculating that it was intended to resemble the Palestinian flag when held up against the red carpet. (The actor has long been pushing for a ceasefire, but did not comment further on her look. It’s worth adding that while the back of her dress looked paler on camera, in reality, it was a blush pink.) Elsewhere, Laura Blajman-Kadar, a survivor of the October 7 Hamas attacks, wore a bright yellow dress featuring the faces of hostages held in Gaza and a sash that read: “Bring them home.”


Trump battled The Apprentice


Director Ali Abbasi with The Apprentice’s stars Sebastian Stan and Maria Bakalova, writer Gabriel Sherman, and producers Amy Baer and Louis Tisné. Photo: Getty Images


Ali Abbasi’s The Apprentice, the Sebastian Stan-led account of the embattled entrepreneur and future president’s rise in ’70s and ’80s New York, predictably drew its subject’s ire, given it features him undergoing liposuction and a scalp reduction, experiencing erectile dysfunction, and in one horrifying scene, raping his wife, Ivana (Maria Bakalova). (That sequence is a fictionalized account of an incident recorded in Ivana Trump’s 1990 divorce deposition, which was later retracted. “As a woman I felt violated,” she subsequently said. “I referred to this as a rape, but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.” Trump always denied the allegation.)


Following the film’s premiere, Trump’s campaign communications director, Steven Cheung, released a statement saying that they would be addressing “the blatantly false assertions from these pretend filmmakers,” adding, “this garbage is pure fiction which sensationalizes lies that have been long debunked. This is election interference by Hollywood elites, who know that President Trump will retake the White House and beat their candidate of choice because nothing they have done has worked. This ‘film’ is pure malicious defamation, should not see the light of day, and doesn’t even deserve a place in the straight-to-DVD section of a bargain bin at a soon-to-be-closed discount movie store. It belongs in a dumpster fire.”


At his press conference, Abbasi responded: “Donald’s team should watch the movie before they start suing us. Everyone’s always talking about him suing a lot of people. They don’t talk about his success rate, though.” Trump’s lawyers then sent a cease-and-desist letter to producers, attempting to block the film’s US sale and release, to which they said, “The film is a fair and balanced portrait of the former president. We want everyone to see it and then decide.” The film’s future currently hangs in the balance.

Megalopolis was the talk of the town


Francis Ford Coppola joined by Shia LaBeouf, Jon Voight, Grace VanderWaal, Giancarlo Esposito, Aubrey Plaza, Romy Mars, Adam Driver, Nathalie Emmanuel, Laurence Fishburne, Kathryn Hunter, Talia Shire, and Chloe Fineman at the premiere of Megalopolis.Photo: Getty Images


Francis Ford Coppola’s long-gestating, futuristic epic dominated headlines for all the wrong reasons, even before the director and his cast arrived on the Croisette. Just days before the film’s premiere, The Guardian published a report about the blockbuster’s reportedly chaotic shoot which alleged that the director “pulled women to sit on his lap” on set and “tried to kiss some of the topless and scantily clad female extras” in a nightclub scene. (Executive co-producer Darren Demetre responded: “There were two days when we shot a celebratory Studio 54-esque club scene where Francis walked around the set to establish the spirit of the scene by giving kind hugs and kisses on the cheek to the cast and background players. It was his way to help inspire and establish the club atmosphere, which was so important to the film. I was never aware of any complaints of harassment or ill behaviour during the course of the project.”)


When the film did finally make its debut, following a red carpet which saw Shia LaBeouf and Jon Voight rubbing shoulders with Adam Driver, Aubrey Plaza, and Nathalie Emmanuel, the responses ranged from applause to shouted boos and more than one viewer approaching the press afterwards to declare that it was the worst film they’d ever seen—understandable, considering it featured Plaza playing a deranged villain named Wow Platinum, Voight brandishing a massive boner, and a truly bizarre piece of live theatre. Will the film ever find American distribution? Who’s to say? But I, for one, will always remember it for providing my most bonkers Cannes moment to date.

Women directors triumphed


Divya Prabha, director Payal Kapadia, Chhaya Kadam, and Kani Kusruti celebrate All We Imagine as Light’s Grand Prix win at Cannes. Photo: Getty Images


Just a year after Justine Triet became only the third woman in 76 years to take home the Palme d’Or, for Anatomy of a Fall, the thriller which went on to earn her a best-original-screenplay Oscar, it was disappointing to see that only four women-directed films were set to play in competition this year—Agathe Riedinger’s Wild Diamond, Andrea Arnold’s Bird, Coralie Fargeat’s The Substance, and Payal Kapadia’s All We Imagine as Light—compared to seven last year. Even then, these films had an outsized impact, yielding—along with Rungano Nyoni’s aforementioned On Becoming a Guinea Fowl, which played in the Un Certain Regard section—some of the festival’s strongest reactions and most rapturous reviews.


Coralie Fargeat poses with the Best Screenplay prize for The Substance. Photo: Getty Images

Fargeat left the festival with the best-screenplay award, and Kapadia, who had already made history as the first Indian filmmaker to compete for the top prize in 30 years, came within spitting distance of the Palme d’Or, taking home the second-place Grand Prix. Look out for the latter in the 2025 Oscars best international feature race, where she could very well follow in the footsteps of last year’s Grand Prix recipient and eventual Academy Award winner, Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest.

Red carpet legends dominated


Demi Moore, 61, at the Kinds of Kindness premiere. Photo: Getty Images



Naomi Campbell, 54, at the Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga premiere. Photo: Getty Images

12624845680?profile=RESIZE_180x180Jane Fonda, 86, at the premiere of The Second Act. Photo: Getty Images


From Meryl Streep bringing Nancy Meyers-core to the Croisette when collecting her honorary Palme d’Or to Demi Moore’s return to the spotlight, Andie MacDowell’s off-duty ease, Naomi Campbell referencing herself in ’90s Chanel couture, Helena Christensen serving bombshell glamour, Michelle Yeoh radiant in Bottega Veneta, Isabelle Huppert’s bathrobe-esque Balenciaga moment, and Jane Fonda’s eternal magnetism, the Cannes red carpet, unquestionably, belonged to women in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s—Hollywood’s ageist beauty standards be damned.

Bella had a blast


Bella Hadid in Saint Laurent for the premiere of The Apprentice. Photo: Getty Images


Leaving the Hôtel Martinez in vintage Versace. Photo: Getty Images


On the Croisette in archival Gucci. Photo: Getty Images


Those ravishing pap shots, that naked dress, the gold mini, the sleek archival Gucci, the ice cream break, the two vintage Versace dresses in one day … yes, Anya Taylor-Joy, Hunter Schafer, et al looked great, but the supermodel proved, once again, that no young starlet can do Cannes quite like she can.


Celebrity progeny (and pooches) were the best plus-ones


Francis Ford Coppola with his granddaughter Romy Mars at the premiere of Megalopolis. Photo: Getty Images


Demi Moore and her dog, Pilaf, at a photo call for The Substance. Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images


Sienna Miller with her daughter Marlowe Sturridge at the premiere of Horizon: An American Saga. Victor Boyko/Getty Images


Sofia Coppola’s 17-year-old daughter, Romy Mars, quietly made her red-carpet debut alongside her grandfather Francis Ford Coppola at the premiere of Megalopolis, and Sienna Miller’s 11-year-old daughter, Marlowe Sturridge, joined her mom to celebrate the debut of Horizon: An American Saga. Demi Moore’s chihuahua Pilaf, already a front-row regular, also made for a stylish plus-one—draped in Chopard jewels, no less—though there was some canine competition in the form of the nation’s favorite dog, Messi from Anatomy of a Fall, who made a triumphant red-carpet return.

Kelly Rowland stood her ground

The musician and actor went viral when she was seemingly rushed up the red carpet by a security guard at the premiere of Marcello Mio. In videos of the incident, she can be seen smiling and responding politely to requests to move up the stairs before she’s surrounded by guards and confronts one of them directly. “I have a boundary, and I stand by those boundaries, and that is it,” she later told the Associated Press. “And there were other women that attended that carpet who did not quite look like me, and they didn’t get scolded or pushed off or told to get off. I stood my ground, and she felt like she had to stand hers, but I stood my ground.” Colleagues of the usher insisted she was “only doing her job” and needed to get guests inside the venue so that the event could begin on time, but she was soon caught up in a number of other kerfuffles involving Dominican actor Massiel Taveras, K-Pop star Yoona, and Ukrainian model Sawa Pontyjska, who was literally dragged away from photographers. On a red carpet known for its arcane customs, it was a reminder of how guests are sometimes treated if they’re not, say, Bella Hadid or Heidi Klum.

The festival ended on an emotional note


Director Mohammad Rasoulof at a photo call for The Seed of the Sacred Fig with actors Mahsa Rostami and Setareh Maleki. The latter two are seen with photographs of Missagh Zareh and Soheila Golestani, two of the film’s actors who had been prevented from leaving Iran. Photo: Getty Images


In the run-up to Cannes, many attendees were concerned about the fate of Mohammad Rasoulof. Just days before his latest release, The Seed of the Sacred Fig—the emotionally charged tale of a judge in the revolutionary court in Tehran who turns against his own family—was due to premiere in competition toward the very end of the festival, the Iranian filmmaker was sentenced to eight years in prison and flogging by the government. Miraculously, it didn’t prevent the director from debuting the film—he fled his home nation on foot, arrived on the Croisette, and received a galvanizing 12-minute standing ovation at his premiere, easily the festival’s longest and most enthusiastic.

At his press conference the following day, he said: “My only message to Iranian cinema is don’t be afraid of intimidation and censorship in Iran. [The regime is] afraid. They want us to feel afraid; they want to discourage us. But don’t let yourself be intimidated. You have to believe in your liberty. We have to fight for a dignified life.”

The winners included plenty of surprises


Sean Baker with his Palme d’Or for Anora. Photo: Getty Images

Given the euphoric response to The Seed of the Sacred Fig, not to mention its political weight and significance, it was the presumed frontrunner for the Palme d’Or heading into the closing ceremony—but, ultimately, it was Sean Baker’s bubbly comedy Anora, which had been surging in the race a few days earlier, that scooped the honor, while Rasoulof received a special prize instead. Meanwhile, Payal Kapadia took the Grand Prix for All We Imagine As Light; Miguel Gomes the best-director prize for Grand Tour; Jesse Plemons best actor for Kinds of Kindness; and Emilia Pérez both the Jury Prize and best actress jointly for its stars Karla Sofía Gascón, Zoe Saldaña, Selena Gomez, and Adriana Paz. It was a fitting end to a festival that was quite the wild and unpredictable ride.




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