Now in its 75th year, the iconic Festival de Cannes has bolstered its roster of screenings with several intelligent, thought-provoking, and fascinating films all hailing from South Asia’s epic, diverse pool of talent.

It’s certainly a landmark year for the festival, as it’s not only a celebration of the event’s diamond jubilee, but also a return to full form after two reduced-capacity Covid-hit years. This year’s South Asian lineup of films, which tackles complex, highly localized subjects, will be viewed by guests between the May 17th-28th, 2022, hopefully before hitting streaming services for those of us without a ticket to the French Riviera.

Here’s our list of 10 standout films from the region that are making an appearance:

1. Starfruits by Gourab Mullick

Starfruits

From: India

Category: La Fabrique Cinéma

A ‘90s Bombay love story set between a small-time gangster and a young man, the latter of whom leaves for Dubai and pushes them further apart.

2. The Beer Girl in Yangon by Sein Lyan Tun

The Beer Girl in Yangon

From: Burma

Category: L’Atelier

Lily, a 17 years old girl, works as a hostess in a sleazy bar where underage prostitution is a constant temptation. There, she develops a relationship with a co-worker named Moon.

3. Haven of Hope by Seemab Gul

Haven of Hope

From: Pakistan

Category: La Fabrique Cinéma

Three inmates from a Pakistani ‘Safe House’ for women dare to venture into the outside world for a day. They soon discover that their families would rather conveniently brand them lunatics than give them their rights.

4. Elephants in the Fog by Abinash Bikram Shah

Elephants in the Fog

From: Nepal

Category: La Fabrique Cinéma

When a young trans woman from rural Nepal disappears while patrolling wild elephants, the blame falls on the leader of her trans community, who must find her before their imminent yearly ritual.

5. Nauha by Pratham Khurana

Nauha

From: India

Category: Cannes La Cinef

A promising film-school entry from Mumbai’s Whistling Woods, Nauha explores questions of class, ageism, and death between the relationship of an ailing old man and his caretaker.

6. All That Breathes by Shaunak Sen

All That Breathes

From: India

Category: Cannes Special Screenings

A documentary following brothers Mohammad Saud and Nadeem Shehzad, who work tirelessly to save injured birds in the backdrop of Delhi’s harrowing pollution and environmental degradation.

7. Lori by Abinash Bikram Shah

Lori

From: Nepal

Category: Cannes Shorts Competition

A mother sings lullabies to her 12-years-old daughter in order to calm her down. But, when the lullabies end and the daughter comes to her senses, the reality turns out to be much grimmer, and life-altering.

8. Joyland by Saim Sadiq

Joyland

From: Pakistan

Category: Cannes Un Certain Regard

A patriarchal family yearn for the birth of a baby boy to continue the family line, while their youngest son secretly joins an erotic dance theatre and falls for an ambitious trans starlet. Their impossible love story begins to illuminates the entire family’s desire for a sexual rebellion.

9. Pratidwandi (1970) by Satyajit Ray

Pratidwandi

From: India

Category: Cannes Classics

An educated middle-class man gets caught up between a revolutionary brother and a career-focused sister.

10. Thampu (1978) by Aravindan Govindan

Thampu

From: India

Category: Cannes Classics

A documentary-style exploration of one of Kerala’s traveling circuses and their stop at a quaint village.

(Featured Image Credits: All in Caps Productions, Arbhaat Films, Underground Talkies Nepal)