Showroom Cinema at Cannes 2023

Cannes Film Festival is the world’s leading film festival and marketplace for the film industry, and this year’s edition was bursting with exciting titles that will form the majority of what audiences will see in arthouse cinemas like ours in the coming months. As an independently programmed cinema, attending the festival for Showroom Cinema is a vital opportunity to look ahead and get to know the films we think will resonate with our fellow film lovers and also to learn more about the stories and people behind them.

The festival itself is vast. Encompassing films in and out of competition and with numerous prizes and strands, although of course, it is the coveted Palme d’Or top prize that takes much of the main attention in the media. Still, there is a whole world of film and film culture beyond that. Yes, there’s the new Ken Loach or Catherine Breillat to be excited about, but there’s also genre films and curios aplenty looking to be bought, as well as conferences, networking opportunities and media frenzies galore.

Cannes attracts the world’s leading filmmakers and we were lucky enough to attend red carpet premieres of many films with the directors and stars in attendance. Martin Scorsese’s The Killers of the Flower Moon, Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Monster, Kaouther Ben Hania’s Four Daughters, Todd Haynes’ May December and Steve McQueen’s Occupied City to name but a few. It is a cinephile’s dream to bump into Juliette Binoche on the way out of a film she just starred in, or to sit right with Wim Wenders for another screening. Something of a surreal dream for an ordinary film fan.

Having seen just shy of 30 screenings during the week of being in Cannes, the selection of titles I saw were very strong. Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest was one of the very best from the selection I saw – a staggering and formally inventive work that chillingly and unforgettably approached the subject of the holocaust in a way that has never been done before, seeing Glazer pick up the Grand Prix. Lead actor Sandra Hüller also starred in Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall, which picked up the Palme d’Or in a very strong field, and the film will be released by Picturehouse in the UK.

Elsewhere, Molly Manning Walker’s How to Have Sex is a dazzlingly visceral, relatable and affecting debut that a British audience, in particular, will find uncomfortably close to home. We were over the moon to see the film bring home the Un Certain Regard Award and cannot wait to play it at Showroom.

There are many new titles we look forward to bringing to Sheffield. Aki Kaurismaki’s Fallen Leaves is another perfectly formed gem of deadpan romance from the Finnish maestro, and Wim Wenders’ Perfect Days presents a beautifully paced and bittersweet tale of a solitary, music-loving Japanese cleaner. There’s also Tran Anh Hung’s The Pot-Au-Feu which enters into the canon of gorgeously photographed haute cuisine on film, and Sean Price William’s genre-bending The Sweet East features a dazzling, star-making turn from Talia Ryder.

Outside of new films, Cannes presents classic cinema and restorations, and I took some time to preview new restorations of Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound (restored by Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation), a double-bill of lesser-known gems by Yasujiro Ozu, and attended a talk with Quentin Tarantino, who presented a 35mm archive print of John Flynn’s Rolling Thunder. The appreciation of cinema history is abundant throughout Cannes, from the murals adorning buildings to vintage red carpet photos along the Croisette.

Attending for the first time this year, Cannes is a rollercoaster of experiences and emotions. It is a festival of jubilant highs but also, the hours are long and it is a marathon of endurance. Online ticket bookings open in the early morning, leaving just enough time to get ready and out to attend your 8.30am screening. Films go on all day until the wee hours and time for food is scarce, as cinema itself becomes your sustenance unless you plan well. Add in the changing weather of downpours and blazing heat, the rigid traditions of having to attend some screenings in formal dress (yes, I witnessed people turned away for their shoes), and trying to negotiate queues and crowds of autograph hunters and you’ve got yourself a very hectic schedule. Let’s not forget, much of Cannes takes place outside of the cinema, so find yourself at a film’s after-party or trying to meet people and you might just get home in time to book tickets and go again.

Still, it’s all worth doing for the passionate love of cinema that Cannes offers. I am very excited about the selection that this year’s edition offers for Showroom Cinema regulars and there is much to look forward to coming out of Cannes.

Being alongside colleagues and industry partners for the duration also means we will be looking to excitedly bring many of the highly regarded titles that we simply couldn’t squeeze in ourselves but now have the inside scoop on. Here’s to an exciting year of cinema ahead!


We use cookies to help us provide you with a better service, but do not track anything that can be used to personally identify you. If you prefer us not to set these cookies, please visit our Cookie Settings page or continue browsing our site to accept them. Close