74th edition | Update : 17.11.22 . 12:15 PM

Cannes 2021: discoveries and revelations

Official Selection 2021: the first films

Official Selection 2021: the first films © RR

Guided, as it is every year, by its ambitions to discover, share and transmit, in 2021 the Festival de Cannes contributed to shining a light on new talents by programming first films and inviting artists at the beginning of their careers and little-known filmmakers to take advantage of the international exposure of its Selection. As 2022 begins and the awards season gets underway, let’s take a look at the revelations of the 74th edition.

Some numbers…

In July 2021, 129 feature films from all selections were screened at the Palais des festivals as part of the 74th edition. Among the filmmakers invited, 41 (31.7%) appeared in the Official Selection for the first time and 13 (10%) presented first films.

In addition to these feature films, there was also a competition of 10 short films as well as a competition of 17 school films from the LA CINEF selection.

In total, an original and diversified panorama of films selected for their artistic qualities and their boldness, and which took us on a journey to 133 production countries from around the world.

The revelations of the Festival de Cannes 2021

The revelations of the Festival de Cannes 2021 © FDC

Revelatory award winning women

The second woman to win the Palme d’or after Jane Campion in 1993, Julia Ducournau created surprise and enthusiasm with her unclassifiable Titane. The French director made her debut in the Official Selection with her second feature film (after Grave (Raw) in 2016) and earned international fame by winning the Festival's highest honour. In the US, Titane had the best box office run of any Palme winner since Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 in 2004, whereas in France the film's star, Agathe Rousselle, won Most Promising Actress at the 27th Lumières Awards on 17 January.

The 2021 awards held other discoveries, with women directors distinguishing themselves in a historic manner by winning the 4 most prestigious prizes of the different competitions:

In the CINEF selection, which showcases and encourages film school films as part of the Jeune Cinéma initiatives, we recall that the First Prize was won by the Belgian director Théo Degen for L'Enfant Salamandre (The Salamander Child), Second Prize went to the Korean Yoon Daewoen for Cicada and Third Prize was a tie between Carina-Gabriela Dasoveanu (Romania) for Prin Oras circula scurte povesti de dragoste (Love Stories on the Move) and Rodrigo Ribeyro (Brazil) for Cantareira.

Revelatory award winning women: Julia Ducournau, Tang Yi, Kira Kovalenko and Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic

Revelatory award winning women: Julia Ducournau, Tang Yi, Kira Kovalenko and Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic © Montage FDC © AFP & GETTY images

Onoda, 2022 Louis-Delluc Award 

Selected at Cannes and screened at the opening of the Un Certain Regard section, Onoda, 10 000 nuits dans la jungle (Onoda: 10,000 Nights in the Jungle) won the 2022 Louis-Delluc Award on 12 January, and, "given its exceptional qualities", the jury requested that it be re-released in theatres. Wonderful recognition for the French director Arthur Harari, whose second film is a biopic inspired by the true story of a Japanese soldier who spent 30 years in the jungle refusing to believe that the Second World War had ended.

Onoda - 10 000 nuits dans la jungle d’Arthur Harari (Onoda: 10,000 Nights in the Jungle)

Onoda - 10 000 nuits dans la jungle d’Arthur Harari (Onoda: 10,000 Nights in the Jungle) © bathysphere


Spotlight on Agathe Rousselle, Gagarine (Gagarin) and La Panthère des neiges (The Velvet Queen)

During the 27th Lumières Award ceremony, which took place on 17 January, 9 of the 13 awards were taken by French films that had their first screenings at Cannes. Among them, the international press distinguished, in particular, the works and talents revealed by the Festival. This was the case for Fanny Liatard and Jérémy Trouilh’s Gagarine  (Gagarin) (2020 Selection), which won the Lumière Award for Best First Film, La Panthère des neiges (The Velvet Queen), the first film from Marie Amiguet and Vincent Munier, which won for Best Documentary, and Agathe Rousselle, the starring actress from Titane, who took home the Most Promising Actress Award.

From Cannes to the César Awards

On the acting side, last November the Académie des César announced the 32 revelations in the running for the César Awards for Most Promising Actress and Most Promising Actor this coming February. 

Among them, more than half of the performers were discovered for the first time on the red carpet last July or in films chosen by the Festival for its 2020 Selection.

On the women's side, we have: Noée Abita (Slalom), Ophélie Bau (Vaurien (Rascal)), Aissatou Diallo Sagna (La Fracture (The Divide)), Christine Gautier (Teddy), Lilith Grasmug (Oranges Sanguines (Bloody Oranges)), Daphné Patakia (Benedetta), Agathe Rousselle (Titane), Lucie Zhang (Les Olympiades (Paris 13th District).

And on the men's side: Anas Basbousi (Haut et Fort (Casablanca Beats)), Alséni Bathily (Gagarine (Gagarin)), Abdel Bendaher (Ibrahim), Théo Christine (Suprêmes), François Créton (Les Héroïques (The Heroics)), Sandor Funtek (Suprêmes), David Murgia (Tom Medina), Makita Samba (Les Olympiades (Paris 13th District).

From Cannes to the Oscars

And finally, whereas the first films revealed by the Festival in 2020 were particularly popular among festivals and received awards abroad (think of the enthusiastic receptions given to Beginning, Ibrahim, Falling, Slalom and Josep… For more information ► Debut films, first successes and names to remember), this year we can only salute the exceptional performances of the Belgian director Laura Wandel, the Icelandic director Valdimar Jóhannsson and the Danish filmmaker Jonas Poher Rasmussen. These three each saw their first film selected at Cannes and then sent to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences by their countries of origin.


Today, alongside six other films from the 2021 selection (For more information ► The Cannes films en route for the 2022 Oscars), these three films are in the running for the 2022 Oscar for Best International Feature Film:

Un monde (Playground) by Laura Wandel (Un Certain Regard, 2021), Lamb by Valdimar Jóhannsson (Un Certain Regard - Prize of Originality, 2021) and Flee by Jonas Poher Rasmussen ("Animated Films" selection, Cannes 2020) which is also competing for the 2022 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.

From Cannes to the Oscars: the first films

From Cannes to the Oscars: the first films © FDC



The Festival de Cannes supports them all and wishes them the best on their cinema journeys!
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