Cannes have unveiled the as-yet-incomplete lineup for the 68th edition of their renowned festival, giving Australian director Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth a competition berth alongside new films from Hou Hsiou-Hsien, Todd Haynes, Paulo Sorrentino, Jia Zhangke and Gus Van Sant. Announcing the festival on Thursday morning, festival director Theirry Fremaux reminded the press that with seventeen films secured to compete for the Palme d’Or and only fourteen in the Un Certain Regard sidebar, there is still plenty of room for further additions to the lineup. “It’s a good selection. It’s new, it’s fresh”, said Fremaux from Cannes. “Our selection will lay out some assumptions, some hypotheses, and the mission is to put new names on the world cinema map.” The 2015 competition Jury will be presided over by Joel and Ethan Coen, marking the first time that two people have shared the honour. In another first, opening night film Standing Tall is the first to be made by a woman, French director Emmanuelle Bercot. It’s a decidedly scaled-down choice for the festival, who hit a bomb last year with Grace Kelly biopic Grace of Monaco.
This year’s lineup looks a little lopsided to me. The Competition is typically Eurocentric, with only two films by women and three produced outside of Europe of the USA (all from Asia, although Jia’s Mountains May Depart is actually partially produced by France). Obscure titles from directors working outside of these regions seem to be arbitrarily plopped into Un Certain Regard together, making that sidebar a more flavoursome alternative to the overwhelmingly English-language Competition. There’s only one South American entry (from Mexico, screening in Un Certain Regard) and one African (from Souleyman Cisse, in the Midnight Screenings sidebar). For a festival that supposedly sets the tone for all international cinema, it’s looking a little unsure of itself.
The full lineup (thus far) for the 68th Cannes Film Festival is below:
Opening Night Film (Out of Competition):
Standing Tall, dir. Emmanuelle Bercot (France)—Bercot’s fourth feature, starring Catherine Deneuve, Rod Paradot.
The Assassin, dir. Hou Hsiao-Hsien (Taiwan)—A left-turn for Hou, whose tender family dramas established his name in the 80s and 90s. This is a Tang Dynasty-era martial arts film, his first since Flight of the Red Baloon, which opened Un Certain Regard in 2007.
Carol, dir. Todd Haynes (US/UK)—1950s-era Patricia Highsmith adaptation from Safe and I’m Not There director Todd Haynes, after a long absence from film. Stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Acquired by TWC for release later in the year.
Erran, dir. Jacques Audiard (France)—Audiard continues his streak of films about tender love and brutal physicality—i.e. Rust and Bone—with this story about a Tamil fighter who works as a caretaker. Already acquired by IFC for stateside release.
The Lobster, dir. Yorgos Lanthimos (Greece/UK/Ireland/Netherlands/France)—Lanthimos ‘graduates’ to a Competiton slot after his Un Certain Regard-winning Dogtoothand Venice competitior Alps. His first English-lanaguage film, The Lobster stars Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, Lea Seydoux and John C. Reilly in a dystopian love story about forced mating (sounds v. Lanthimos).
Louder Than Bombs , dir. Joachim Trier (Norway/France/Denmark)—After his chilly Oslo, August 31st, Trier cracks into the big leagues with his English-language debut. Stars Isabelle Huppert, with Jesse Eisenberg as her son and Gabriel Byrne as her husband; secrets emerge after her death in a car accident.
Macbeth, dir. Justin Kurzel (UK/France/US)—A big step up for Kurzel, who premiered in the Critics Week sidebar in 2011 with Snowtown. Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender are Lady and Macbeth respectively. I’m hoping this is more psychological torment that gristly blood-and-guts fest; Kurzel/Cotillard/Fassbender are making an Assassin’s Creed adaptation this year too.
Marguerite and Julien, dir. Valerie Donzelli (France)—One of two films In Competition (thus far) directed by a woman, which doesn’t bode well for the festival’s record of detractors. Donzelli is known for her 2011 hit Declaration of War, stepping up the stakes here with a film about a love affair between siblings. Apparently the 1971 script was almost filmed by Truffaut, so the material is solid.
Mon roi, dir. Maiwenn (France)—Vincent Cassel and Emmanuelle Bercot (who also directed festival opener Standing Tall) star as destructive lovers in one of the festival competition’s two competition films directed by a woman.
Mountains May Depart, dir. Jia Zhangke (China/Japan/France)—Another anthology film from Jia after 2013’s A Touch of Sin, which won a screenplay prize. This is his first film shot outside of his native China. It follows a drama through three time-periods: 1990s, the present day and 2025.
My Mother, dir. Nanni Moretti (Italy/France)—Moretti is the toast of Cannes, having previously won the Palme d’Or for The Son’s Room and presided over the jury in 2012. My Mother is his sixth film to premiere at Cannes. It’s a tragicomedy following a filmmaker through a number of on-set crises starring longtime Moretti collaborator Margherita Buy and John Turturro. Here’s the first trailer.
Our Little Sister, dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda (Japan)—Following Jury Prize-winning Like Father, Like Son, Kore-eda adapts a popular serialised comic series about four sisters. It’s his fifth film to premiere at Cannes.
The Sea of Trees, dir. Gus Van Sant (USA)—Van Sant tries the gild the lily of his recent career with this moody suicide pact drama starring Ken Wantanabe, Naomi Watts and Matthew McConaughey. After Restless and The Promised Land its difficult to trust Van Sant, but he won the Palme d’Or in 2003 for Elephant, so we can only hope for a return to form.
Sicaro, dir. Denis Villeneuve (USA)—After a history of Cannes premieres, Villeneuve abandoned the festival curcuit for a stint of high-profile outings including Hugh Jackman starrer Prisoners and Jake Gyllenhaal doppelganger drama Enemy. He’s back to Cannes making his competition debut with this Mexican drug trade drama starring Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin.
A Simple Man, dir. Stephane Brize (France)—Brize is a foreign name to me; I haven’t seen any of his films, but he’s well-regarded for a string of collaborations with actor Victor Lindon. They’re working together again on this drama (lots of dramas, typically) about a supermarket security guard with moral doubts.
Son of Sau, dir. Laszlo Nemes (Hungary)—The only debut feature In Competition this year, this Holocaust drama is about a prisoner who works at Auschwitz and identifies the body of his son. Sounds dark, and Nemes is a protoge of Bela Tarr, so I’ll definitely be tuning in to the reception on this one.
The Tale of Tales, dir. Matteo Garrone (Italy/France/UK)—Garrone has won two Grands Prix in a row at Cannes for mafia thriller Gomorah and celebrity-gone-awry comedy(?) Reality. He’s gunning for gold with this English-language horror-fantasy, going full-on VFX with an adaptation of a 17th Century Italian fairy-tale collection. Stars Vincent Cassel, Salma Hayek and Toby Jones. Here’s the first trailer; it looks bonkers and kinda awful.
Youth, Paolo Sorrentino (Italy/France/Switzerland/UK)—Sorrentino’s sixth film In Competition after last year’s masterful The Great Beauty and 2008 Jury Prize-winning Il Divo, amongst others. The star-studded cast includes Michael Caine as an orchestra conductor who receives an invitation to play for Queen Liz and Prince Philip. Trailer looks beautiful.
Out of Competition
Inside Out, dir. Pete Docter & Ronaldo Del Carmen (USA)—Pixar psychology-comedy with the voices of Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling and Diane Lane.
Irrational Man, dir. Woody Allen (USA)—Allen’s 45th feature, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone. Apparently it’s not the neurotic comedy we were all hoping for. It’s rumoured to be a darker entry in the Allen oeuvre, hopefully more Blue Jasmine than You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.
The Little Prince, dir. Mark Osborne (France)—France’s most expensive animated feature ever, featuring a voice cast which includes Marion Cotillard, James Franco and Jeff Bridges.
Mad Max: Fury Road, dir George Miller (US)—The reboot trains trawls along, resurrecting every last scrap of cinematic nostalgia it can scrape off of the detritus of the 1980s with maximum explosions. The trailer, according to people, is ‘epic’.
Un Certain Regard
The Chosen Ones, dir. David Pablos (Mexico)
Fly Away Solo, dir. Neeraj Ghaywan (India)
The Fourth Direction, dir. Gurvinder Singh (France/India)
The High Sun, dir. Dalibor Maranic (Croatia/Slovenia)
I Am a Soldier, dir. Laurent Lariviere (France)
Journey to the Shore, dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Japan)
Madonna, dir. Shin Su-win (South Korea)
Maryland, dir. Alice Winocour (France/Belgium)
Nahid, dir. Ida Panahandeh (Iran)
One Floor Below, dir. Radu Muntean (Romania)
The Other Side, dir. Roberto Minervini (Italy)
Rams, dir. Grimir Hakonarson (Iceland)
The Shameless, dir. Oh Seung-euk (South Korea)
The Treasure, dir. Corneliu Porumboiu (Romania)
Amy, dir. Asif Kapadia (UK)—The only doco to be announced thus far. High-profile Amy Winehouse biodoc from Senna director.
Office, dir. Hong Won-chan (South Korea)
Amnesia, dir. Barbet Schroeder (Switzerland/France)
Asphalte, dir. Samuel Benchetrit (France)
Hayored Iema’ala, dir. Elad Keidan (Israel)
Oka, dir. Souleyman Cisse (Mali)
Panama, dir. Pavle Vuckovic (Serbia)
A Tale of Love and Darkness , dir. Natalie Portman (Israel)
This page will be updated as news, announcements, additions, trailers and reviews come to the fore.