Directors Magnus von Horn and Ali Abbasi ready for main competition with Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel playing in Un Certain Regard.

As the Official Selection of the 77th Festival de Cannes was announced Thursday noon at the UGC Normandie cinema theatre in Paris, an eminent Nordic trio could be noted among the chosen few. Playing in main competition is the Nordisk Film & TV Fond-supported The Girl with the Needle (Pigen med nålen), directed by Sweden’s Magnus von Horn, produced by Denmark’s Nordisk Film Creative Alliance, Nordisk Film Sweden and Lava Films, Poland. Shot in Poland and set in Denmark in 1918, the story deals with the notorious Dagmar Overby, who would attend to the offspring of young women of unwanted pregnancy in the most cold-blooded of ways. Trine Dyrholm plays the “angle maker” Overby with Vic Carmen Sonne as the ill-fated young title character. No stranger to Cannes, von Horn’s debut feature The Here After (Efterskalv) opened in the Directors’ Fortnight section in 2015 to great acclaim.

Back in the main Cannes competition after just a one-year “pause” is Dane-Iranian-Swede Ali Abbasi, who made a splash in 2022 with the harrowing Holy Spider, winning a deserving Best Actress Award for Zar Amir Ebrahimi and eventually becoming Denmark’s 2023 Oscar submission – as did previously his 2018 outing Border (Gräns), winner of the Cannes Un Certain Regard award. The English-language The Apprentice, Abbasi’s latest work, describes as “a dive into the underbelly of the American empire, charting a young Donald Trump’s ascent to power through a Faustian deal with the influential right-wing lawyer and political fixer Roy Cohn.” Leads are played by Sebastian Stan and Jeremy Strong with production shared between Canada’s Scythia Films, Denmark’s Profile Pictures and Ireland’s Tailored Films.

While Norway’s Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel may be a first-time feature film director, the names of his grandmother Liv Ullmann and grandfather Ingmar Bergman should ring a bell, not least when it comes to Cannes royalty. Armand, a story of two young schoolboys and the unrest they cause during a more or less innocent game, premieres in the Un Certain Regard section. The film co-stars Renate Reinsve, Cannes Best Actress winner in 2021 for The Worst Person in the World, whose director Joachim Trier also in on board as executive producer with main production by Eye Eye Pictures with co-production by Sweden’s Prolaps Produktion, the Netherlands’ Keplerfilm and Germany’s One Two Film.

With further announcements coming up – including the unveilings of the Critic’s Week and Directors’ Fortnight sections as well as a handful of supplementary picks of the Official Selection – the line-up may well (according to certain buzz) include additional Nordic titles.

The 2024 Cannes Film Festival takes place May 15-24.

Full selection information: CLICK HERE.