The Agenda: Culture | Monocle

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film ––– france

Cannes heat

From 14-25 May, the Cannes Film Festival is at the starting line of the race to the Oscars. After 2023’s memorable line-up, the 77th edition of the festival embraces a more global view of film. Here are three highlights to keep an eye on.


César-winning French actor Noémie Merlant (Marianne in Portrait of a Lady on Fire) directs her second title, a comedy-horror feature called The Balconettes. The story centres on three roommates with a balcony who play with the lives of their neighbours. Set in a Marseille heatwave, it’s all fun and games until it isn’t.

Already a must-see, director Francis Ford Coppola’s self-funded Megalopolis has critics comparing it to his 1979 Palm d’Or winner Apocalypse Now. Pivoting on the power struggles in rebuilding New York after its accidental destruction, the epic drama stars Adam Driver, Aubrey Plaza, Talia Shire and Dustin Hoffman.

The hottest ticket of the festival belongs to Ali Abbasi’s The Apprentice. This biographical feature focuses on Donald Trump’s 1970s and 1980s New York real-estate career. Its solid-gold cast includes Jeremy Strong, Maria Bakalova as Ivana and, fresh from winning the 2024 Silver Berlin Bear as best leading performer for A Different Man, Sebastian Stan as the young Donald.

For highlights from Cannes and clued-up film coverage across the year, listen to ‘Monocle on Culture’ with Robert Bound every week at or wherever you get your podcasts.

media ––– mexico

Special addition

Whereas many magazines are cutting back on regional editions, Spanish design quarterly Manera – founded by former editor in chief of AD España, Enric Pastor, in 2022 – provides some good news for a change, having launched a Mexican edition to showcase the nation’s design and architecture.

“From the beginning, we offered articles and reports from creatives in Spain and Latin America – especially from Mexico – due to the common language and common cultural tradition,” Pastor tells monocle. “And that’s why it was very natural to decide to launch a Mexican edition.”

The title will be overseen by Mexico-based María Alcocer. “My homeland has the soul of an artisan,” she says. “Mexico was built by revolutionary minds and artisanal hands. It’s one of the most visited countries in the world for its famous architecture, authentic design and one-of-a-kind craftsmanship.” Plenty to read up on, it seems.

Hear the full interview with Enric Pastor and María Alcocer on ‘The Stack’ on Monocle Radio.

Kieran Long
Director, Amos Rex


Kieran Long took the reins of Helsinki’s Amos Rex art museum in February 2024, having previously worked at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and ArkDes in Stockholm. Amos Rex opened in 2018 with a landmark exhibition by Tokyo-based TeamLab and has since built a name for itself by focusing on future fields of art and culture. Backed by the generous budgets of its wealthy private owner, the Finno-Swedish Konstsamfundet, Amos Rex has been one of Finland’s most visited museums year-on-year since its launch. monocle met Long fresh from the Venice Art Biennale to discuss his plans for the museum and the role of art and culture in the civic life of cities.

After London and Stockholm, what was it about Helsinki and Amos Rex that attracted you?
My passion for art and culture has always been about what they can contribute to the city. Amos Rex has an unusual ability to contribute. We are in central Helsinki, in a modern and well-equipped museum space. We also have an adjacent courtyard, the modernist Lasipalatsi building (a Helsinki landmark) and have recently bought and renovated the building on the other side of the courtyard, which we have interesting plans for. Amos Rex has immense potential to transform the way we experience art as part of urban life. I was attracted by the amazing job that the museum has done in engaging people beyond those who are normally interested in art. It’s rare to see young people queueing to visit a museum these days; we see it every week.

There is a lot of talk about the future of cities right now. What role can art institutions play?
Culture is the future of the city. Helsinki understands this. The new central library, Oodi, just across the street, is a great example. If you build major institutions of art, culture and learning that are also public spaces, then you have a future for your inner city, regardless of what happens to retail. Helsinki is also building a new flagship design and architecture museum – I sit on the advisory board. All are spaces for everyone and they occupy the most central locations in the city, instead of being institutions that you have to be qualified to enter.

You have only just started, but what are the three things that will make your tenure successful?
I want to give Amos Rex the international profile that it deserves. Finns are humble and like to downplay things but Amos Rex is, in my opinion, one of the most successful new art halls anywhere in Europe. Throughout its history, art has played a key role for Finland and its identity, much more so than in other countries. Our audience is much younger than the audience for museums in general, and given the many difficult issues that today’s youth grapple with, we have a role to play in helping them to reflect and to understand – and we can be a space in which they can take a step back and breathe.

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