22.05.2024 UNIFRANCE, CANNES #cinema


New faces of French cinema – Iris Kaltenbäck

Meet the new faces of French cinema. Unifrance’s 10 to Watch were selected by international journalists after making a name for themselves at major international festivals in 2023 before breaking out on screens around the world in 2024. Rebecca Leffler met them in Cannes to learn WHO they are and WHAT they’re up to in Cannes and beyond.


Iris Kaltenbäck is a graduate of France’s famous La Fémis film school. Her first feature The Rapture was selected for Critics’ Week in 2023, where it received the SACD prize and then went on to win several awards at international festivals, plus France’s Louis-Delluc Prize and a Lumière Award for best first feature. The film and its star Hafia Herzi grace the official poster of this year’s Critics’ Week where Iris was back as a member of the jury.

“I never talk about things I don’t do. I want to do and then talk – that’s my mantra.”

WHO are you?

Iris Kaltenbäck:

I’m Iris Kaltenback, I’m a director and this year I’m on the Critics’ Week jury where my film The Rapture premiered last year.

WHO inspires you?

Iris Kaltenbäck:

Edward Yang, Lucrecia Martel and Krzysztof Kieslowski.

WHO have you met in Cannes?

Iris Kaltenbäck:

I went to see Jia Zhang-Ke’s film Caught by the Tides in Competition. His actress Zhao Tao was there and I find her extremely inspiring. Even though I didn’t meet her in person, she was 1 meter away and it is a moment I’ll remember from Cannes this year.

I also had a really interesting discussion with Baloji about film – it was really inspiring.

It was so great to talk about film with someone who has a completely different perspective on cinema. We kept seeing each other at every screening at discussing films.

WHO do you dream of meeting in Cannes?

Iris Kaltenbäck:

Kelly Reichardt. I’d love to have a conversation with her about her films.

WHAT is your best Cannes memory?

Iris Kaltenbäck:

Last year, for the first world premiere of The Rapture. The way people reacted at the end of the screening was my best memory. This year, it has been spending with my best friend Ramata Toulaye-Sy who also premiered her first film Banel & Adama in Cannes last year.

WHAT is your next project?

Iris Kaltenbäck:

It’s a secret. I never talk about things I don’t do. I want to do and then talk – that’s my mantra.

WHAT is your favourite film ever?

Iris Kaltenbäck:

Edward Yang’s Yi Yi. And Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. I’ve watched it 100 times.

WHAT is your favourite French film of the year?

Iris Kaltenbäck:

Anatomy of a Fall.

Interview by Rebecca Leffler

Photos by Paul Blind for SAY WHO

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