Trump biopic and more movies to premiere at Cannes Film Festival

Cannes, France - A Donald Trump biopic and the latest dark creation by David Cronenberg premiere in Cannes on Monday as the world-famous film festival reaches its midway point.

Sebastian Stan (l.) stars as Donald Trump in The Apprentice biopic due to premiere at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival.
Sebastian Stan (l.) stars as Donald Trump in The Apprentice biopic due to premiere at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival.  © Collage: Dimitrios Kambouris / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP & JUSTIN SULLIVAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Emilia Perez, a musical about a narco boss having a sex change, is the audacious frontrunner so far, after 11 of the 22 entries for the top prize Palme d'Or have been seen.

The festival – considered the film industry's foremost get-together – concludes with its award ceremony on Saturday, with Barbie director Greta Gerwig heading the jury.

But two more buzzy entries arrive on Monday.

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The Apprentice is a biopic of Trump's formative years from Iranian-born director Ali Abbasi – bound to stir up controversy in an election year for the US.

It stars Sebastian Stan, best-known for playing the Winter Soldier in Marvel films, though he also won best actor at this year's Berlin Film Festival and widespread acclaim for his part as rocker Tommy Lee in series Pam & Tommy.

Later, Cronenberg – director of many body-horror classics like The Fly, Crash, and Videodrome – returns to the Cote d'Azur festival with The Shrouds.

Billed as his most personal film yet, it tells the story of a widowed businessman (Vincent Cassell) who invents a machine to monitor the dead in their graves. It was partly inspired by the death in 2017 of Cronenberg's wife of 43 years.

"I don't really think of art as therapy," the Canadian director told Variety. "Grief is forever, as far as I'm concerned. It doesn't go away. You can have some distance from it, but I didn't experience any catharsis making the movie."

Well-scoring movies at the Cannes Film Festival

Among entries to score well with critics during the first week was Bird, a gritty but sweet and fantastical tale about a young girl in working-class England from director Andrea Arnold.

Kinds of Kindness, the latest bizarro team-up between Emma Stone and Yorgos Lanthimos, featured some ultra-dark comedy moments, including a thumb-and-cauliflower dinner.

Megalopolis, the decades-in-the-making epic from Francis Ford Coppola, has perhaps been the most divisive entry, with some reviewers finding it a profound end-of-life work of philosophy, and others a barely comprehensible mess.

But the one to beat so far is Emilia Perez, which has won a lot of acclaim for stars Zoe Saldana, Selena Gomez, and trans actor Karla Sofia Gascon in the title role, as well as its risk-taking French director, Jacques Audiard, who already has a Palme d'Or under his belt.

Hollywood sagas hit the big screen

Anya Taylor-Joy (l.) and Chris Hemsworth pose during a photocall for the film Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga at the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival.
Anya Taylor-Joy (l.) and Chris Hemsworth pose during a photocall for the film Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga at the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival.  © LOIC VENANCE / AFP

The festival has also seen glitzy out-of-competition launches for two Hollywood blockbusters that fancy themselves as sagas.

The action-packed Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga received largely strong reviews, while Kevin Costner returned to his favorite Western genre with the three-hour Horizon: An American Saga, just the first of four mooted chapters.

Like Coppola, Costner put millions of his own fortune into the decades-long passion project.

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"At a certain moment I just said OK, I'm going to do this myself. And so I mortgaged property, I raised the money," he told AFP at the festival.

The early reviews were decidedly mixed, with The Hollywood Reporter deriding it as a "clumsy slog."

But Costner says he is unconcerned about losing his money.

"If they take it away from me, I still have my movie. I still have my integrity. I still listened to my heart," he said.

Cover photo: Collage: Dimitrios Kambouris / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP & JUSTIN SULLIVAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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