2024 Un Certain Regard First Look

18 films were selected to take part in the 2024 Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival. The Un Certain Regard section presents films showcasing unique styles of film, and non-traditional forms of filmmaking, typically by young filmmakers. This year, 8 of the films selected are the filmmakers first films. 

This year the section includes Canadian actor, director, screenwriter and producer Xavier Dolan as the President of the Un Certain Regard jury. He will be presiding over the jury alongside a jury of four others including Moroccan director, screenwriter and producer Asmae El Moudir, French-Senegalese screenwriter and director Maïmouna Doucouré, German-Luxembourg actress Vicky Krieps, and American film critic, director, and writer Todd McCarthy. Their responsibilities include awarding prizes for the section.

ARMAND Directed by Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel

The film takes place during one day, in an empty elementary school. During this fatal afternoon between two mothers, when one son is accused of crossing boundaries against the other, the mother of Armand (6) and the mother of Jon (6) get into a desperate fight. The trajectory soon turns to madness, as desire and obsession begin to arise as everything evolves less and less around the children in the picture, who we never meet, as it all drifts more about the Adults in this story.

FLOW directed by Gints Zilbalodis

For Cat The world seems to be coming. As his home is devastated by a great flood, this solitary animal must face realities of overpopulation with the vestiges of a human presence. He finds refuge on a boat populated by various species, and will have to team up with them despite their differences. In the lonesome boat sailing through mystical overflowed landscapes, they navigate the challenges and dangers of adapting to this new world.

GOU ZHEN Directed by Hu Guan

On the edge of the Gobi desert in Northwest China, Lang returns to his hometown after being released from jail. While working for the local dog patrol team to clear the town of stray dogs before the Olympic Games, he strikes up an unlikely connection with a black dog. These two lonely souls now embark on a new journey together.

L’HISTOIRE DE SOULEYMANE Directed by Boris Lojkine

As he pedals through the streets of Paris to deliver meals, Souleymane repeats his story. In two days, he has to go through his asylum application interview, the key to obtaining papers. But Souleymane is not ready.

LE PROCÈS DU CHIEN Directed by Laetitia Dosch

April, an idealistic lawyer dedicated to lost causes, agrees to defend Cosmos, a dog that has bitten three people, leading to the first canine trial. She has no choice but to win the case, as otherwise, her unusual client will be put down.A courtroom comedy with a lively cast that raises questions about our relationships with animals.

The Kingdom Directed by Julien Colanna

Corsica, 1995. It’s Lesia’s first summer as a teenager. One day a man bursts into her life and takes her to an isolated villa where she finds her father, in hiding, surrounded by his clan. An underworld war erupts. The noose is tightening around them. Death strikes. Forced to go on the run, father and daughter will learn to face one another, to understand and love each other…

When the Light Breaks Directed by Rúnar Rúnarsson

When the light breaks on a long summer’s day in Iceland. From one sunset to another, Una, a young art student encounters love, friendship, sorrow and beauty.

MY SUNSHINE Directed by Hiroshi Okuyama

On a small Japanese island, life revolves around the changing seasons. Winter is time for ice hockey at school, but Takuya isn’t too thrilled about it. His real interest lies in Sakura, a figure skating rising star from Tokyo, for whom he starts to develop a genuine fascination. Coach and former champion Arakawa, spots potential in Takuya, and decides to mentor him to form a duo with Sakura for an upcoming competition. As winter persists, feelings grow, and the two children form an harmonious bond. But even the first snow eventually melts away.

NIKI Directed by Céline Sallette

Paris, 1952. Niki has recently moved from the US with her husband and daughter. Despite this newfound distance from a family and country that were suffocating her, disturbing flashbacks of her childhood continue to invade her thoughts. From the hell she is about to discover, Niki de Saint Phalle will find in her art a weapon to free herself.

NORAH Directed by Tawfik Alzaidi

Set in a small remote Saudi Arabian village, in the 90s when artistic expression was banned, NORAH is a story about the basic human need to communicate through art, in all its forms. Nader, a new schoolteacher and an artist in secret, arrives at the village and meets Norah, a young woman who ignites the creativity inside him and inspires him to paint again. At great risk, they develop a delicate connection and a quiet bond. Nader enlightens Norah on the wider world outside of her tiny community and she realises she must leave, to find a place where she can be free to express her artistic self.

ON BECOMING A GUINEA FOWL Directed by Rungano Nyoni

On an empty road in the middle of the night, Shula stumbles across the body of her uncle. As funeral proceedings begin around them, she and her cousins bring to light the buried secrets of their middle-class Zambian family, in filmmaker Rungano Nyoni’s surreal and vibrant reckoning with the lies we tell ourselves.

SANTOSH Directed by Sandhya Suri

A government scheme sees newly widowed Santosh inherit her husband’s job as a police constable in the rural badlands of Northern India. When a low-caste girl is found raped and murdered, she is pulled into the investigation under the wing of charismatic feminist inspector Sharma.

SEPTEMBER SAYS Directed by Ariane LABED

Sisters July and September are thick as thieves, though very different -September is protective and distrustful of others, while July is open to and curious about the world. Their dynamic is a concern to their single mum, Sheela, who is unsure what to do with them. When September is suspended from their school, July is left to fend for herself and begins to assert her own independence – which does not go unnoticed by September. Tension among the three women builds when they take refuge in an old holiday home in Ireland, where July finds her bond with September shifting in ways she cannot entirely understand or control – and a series of surreal encounters test the family to their limit.

THE DAMNED Directed by Roberto Minervini

Winter 1862. In the midst of the Civil War, the US Army sends a company of volunteer soldiers to the western territories, with the task of patrolling the unchartered borderlands. As their mission ultimately changes course, the meaning behind their engagement begins to elude them.

THE SHAMELESS Directed by Konstantin Bojanov

In the dead of night, Renuka escapes from a Delhi brothel after stabbing a policeman to death. She takes refuge in a community of sex workers in northern India, where she meets Devika, a young girl condemned to a life of prostitution. Their bond develops into a forbidden romance. Together, they embark on a perilous journey to escape the law and forge their path to freedom.

THE VILLAGE NEXT TO PARADISE Directed by Mo HARAWE

In a windy Somali village, a newly assembled family must navigate between their different aspirations and the complex world surrounding them. Love, trust and resilience will power them through their life paths.

VIET AND NAM Directed by TRUONG Minh Quý

In the depths of the underground coal mines, where danger awaits and darkness prevails, Nam and Viêt, both young miners, cherish fleeting moments, knowing that one of them will soon leave for a new life across the sea. But the departure cannot happen as lying somewhere deep within the earth, in the far-off forest is Nam’s father, a soldier, whose remains they’re compelled to find. Together, following the mysteries of memories and dreams, they retrace the path to the past.

VINGT DIEUX Directed by Louise Courvoisier

Totone, 18 years old, spends most of his time drinking beers and partying in the Jura region with his group of friends. But reality catches up with him: he has to take care of his 7-year-old sister and find a way to make a living. He then sets out to make the best Comté cheese in the region, the one that would win him the gold medal at the agricultural competition and 30,000 euros.

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