Joel Edgerton stars opposite Sean Harris in Thomas M Wright's 'The Stranger'.

Thomas M Wright’s crime thriller The Stranger was added to the Australian contingent for next month’s Cannes Film Festival on Thursday, alongside Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis and George Miller’s Three Thousand Years of Longing.

The director’s second feature, previously titled The Unknown Man, was one of 15 films selected for Un Certain Regard, becoming the first entry from Down Under since Rolf de Heer’s Charlie Country in 2014.

Written and directed by Wright, The Stranger stars Sean Harris and Joel Edgerton as Henry and Mark, two strangers that meet and strike up a friendship.

For Henry, worn down by a lifetime of physical labour, this is a dream come true. His new friend Mark becomes his saviour and ally. However, neither is who they appear to be, each carry secrets that threaten to ruin them – and in the background, one of the nation’s largest police operations is closing in.

Producers include See-Saw Films’ Emile Sherman, Iain Canning, and Rachel Gardner; Anonymous Content’s Kerry Roberts and Kim Hodgert; and Edgerton via Blue Tongue Films. Rocket Science’s Thorsten Schumacher and Lars Sylvest are the executive producers with Trinity Media Financing’s Jean-Charles Levy and See Saw’s Simon Gillis. International sales are being handled by Rocket Science and Cross City Films.

In a statement, Sherman and Canning said Cannes was the “perfect festival to premiere the film”.

“We’re thrilled for Thomas, Joel, and the whole team who worked so hard on the film,” they said.

As previously reported, Luhrmann’s Elvis and Miller’s Three Thousand Years of Longing will have their world premieres at the festival, where they will screen out of competition.

Shot in Queensland, the former explores the life and music of Elvis Presley (Austin Butler), seen through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks).


Anticipation is also high for Three Thousand Years of Longing, which follows Dr Alithea Binnie (Tilda Swinton), a scholar who is content with life and comes at the world with healthy scepticism. Despite this, she encounters a Djinn (Idris Elba) who offers her three wishes in exchange for his freedom. Their conversation, in a hotel room in Istanbul, leads to consequences neither would have expected.

Writer/director Miller, who also produces alongside Doug Miller, said the selection was a testament to the efforts of the cast and crew.

“A superb cast and crew brought the best of themselves to the crafting of this movie,” he said.

“It’s a lovely thing that its first showing will be at that magnificent theatre on the Croisette at Cannes.”

Miller previously had Mad Max Fury Road premiere at Cannes in 2015 and also headed the jury at the 69th edition in 2016, while Luhrmann is the only director to have two feature films open the festival, first with Moulin Rouge! in 2001 and then again with The Great Gatsby in 2013.

Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason paid tribute to both filmmakers for continuing their respective associations with the event.

“Cannes is one of the most important and prestigious celebrations of cinema each year and it’s tremendous to see continued appetite for Australian filmmaking talent,” he said.

“It’s special that 2022 marks 30 years since Baz Luhrmann’s first feature Strictly Ballroom screened there, and it’s great to see Dr George Miller returning to the festival after 2015’s outstanding Mad Max Fury Road. I couldn’t think of a better way to launch these two feature films that audiences around the world are already excited for.”

The 75th Cannes Film Festival will be held from May 17- 28.

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