8 Rising Stars to Know After the 2024 Cannes Film Festival

Photo: Courtesy Cannes Film Festival

For nearly 80 years, the Cannes Film Festival has been the place where young filmmakers and actors transform from unknowns into bonafide stars. Almost overnight, some of today’s most talked-about artists—among them Adèle Exarchopoulos, Lea Seydoux, Xavier Dolan, and Wes Anderson—have become industry stalwarts, whose work cinephiles flock to. In short, the approval of Cannes audiences and critics means something.

In 2024, rising actors from around the globe had their first taste of fame on the Croisette. Here are eight you should be very excited about.

Mark Eydelshteyn

Photo: Getty Images

Sean Baker (The Florida Project) often casts his own films, pulling people from unlikely places into the spotlight. The co-lead of his latest film, the Palme d’Or-winning Anora, has a little bit more experience, but was largely unknown in the west. The film features a magnetic Mikey Madison as a sex worker in Brooklyn falling for one of her clients, but it’s the actor who plays said client—the scrappy and immature son of a Russian oligarch—who feels like the film’s big find. Mark Eydelshteyn, 22, has already been dubbed the “Russian Timothée Chalamet” for his compelling performance (and mop of curly hair).

Mia Tharia and Pascale Kann

Photo: Courtesy Cannes Film Festival

Based on Daisy Johnson’s 2020 novel SistersSeptember Says—the strange new film from Greek-French filmmaker Ariane Labed (the wife of one Yorgos Lanthimos)—is about a young girl guided by her malicious older sister. It thrives on the strength of its two leads: actors Pascale Kann (September) and Mia Tharia (July) lean into the film’s discomfiting quirks with terrifying commitment, giving two of the festival’s most memorable performances.

Mahmood Bakri

Mahmood Bakri leads the only Palestinian film in this year’s festival. In To a Land Unknown, he plays a refugee who has wound up in Athens. Desperate to find a way out, and start a life in Germany with friends and relatives, he resorts to desperate measures to make that happen. An alluring and confident performer, Bakri is the film’s beating heart, and has the makings of an actor with international appeal.

Malou Khebizi

Photo: Courtesy Cannes Film Festival

In Agathe Riedinger’s Wild Diamond, a 19-year-old girl abandons life in the south of France to become a reality star in the big city. The premise relies on the performance of its central star, Malou Khebizi, a new French actor of Middle Eastern heritage who injects every scene with a sense of spunk and energy.

Celeste Dalla Porta

Photo: Courtesy Cannes Film Festival

In Paolo Sorrentino’s Parthenope, a film deeply concerned with beauty, the titular character is played by model-turned-actor Celeste Dalla Porta. The 26-year-old from Milan is present in practically every frame of this languorous, sun-touched film inspired by Greek mythology; and she looks as though she were plucked straight from it.

Ariella Mastroianni

Photo: Coutresy Quinzaine

In the festival’s Director’s Fortnight section, writer Ariella Mastroianni debuted her first feature with director Ryan J Sloan. Gazer, a trippy psycho-thriller, stars Mastroianni as a mother with a condition that stops her from understanding how much time is passing. The film, somehow funded with no production partners, tax breaks, or investors, is something of a miracle, and Mastroianni is owed much of the credit.

Setareh Maleki

Photo: Getty Images

It’s fitting, given the dire situation it depicts—the crack-down on pro-women protests in Tehran—that director Mohammad Rasoulof’s drama The Seed of the Sacred Fig, which won a special award for best screenplay at Cannes, places its power in the hands of its women. At the story’s center is the young Setareh Maleki as Sana, the youngest daughter in a family torn apart by their differing opinions on what’s happening in Iran. She bears that responsibility with boldness and assurance.

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