The 65th Cannes Film Festival has begun.
For just under two weeks, a glam mosh-pit of film stars, directors, industry movers and shakers will gather at the biggest and, arguably, most prestigious film festival of them all.
With industry eyes and ears firmly locked on the Cote d’Azur as the feast of premieres, business deals and film showings kicks off, expect glowing and not-so-glowing reviews, couture drama on the steps of Les Grand Palais, and a battalion of press shoving cameras in the faces of the winners – and the losers.
Stargazing potential has quantumed this year due to the highly anticipated presence of massive names such as Brad Pitt, Robert Pattinson, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Kristen Stewart, Zac Efron, to name a few.
But it’s not just big name actors who will be the focus of this year’s Cannes. The return of veteran auteurs such as David Croneberg, Abbas Kiarostami, Walter Salles, Ken Loach, Michael Haneke, Alain Resnais and Jacques Audiard among others, promises quality as well as starpower will grace the Croisette.
Among the varied nationalitied films presenting this year, North American filmmakers are set to make a huge splash this year, beginning with Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom which opened the festivities today and is already garnering great reviews.
22 films will battle in competition for the Palme d’Or, with 19 in the Un Certain Regard category. So without further ado here’s our Top Ten Must Sees, with the most anticipated placing first.
1: Cosmopolis – dir. David Cronenberg. Stars Robert Pattinson, Juliet Binoche, Mathieu Amalric, Sarah Gadon, Samatha Morton, Jay Baruchel
Synopsis: Eric Packer, a billionaire asset manager takes a limo ride on the wild side, as his life and personal fortune collapse amid an imploding Manhattan and attack from various adversaries.
This film has figured consistently in a number of most anticipated lists and premieres on May 25.
2: On The Road – dir. Walter Salles. Stars Kristen Stewart, Viggo Mortensen, Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kirsten Dunst.
Synopsis: The long-awaited, big screen adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s beat generation classic follows three characters, Sal Paradise, Dean Moriarty and his wife Mary-Lou as they cross 1950’s America on a journey of self-discovery.
3: The Paperboy – dir. Lee Daniels. Stars Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron and John Cusack.
Synopsis: Zac Efron plays the slacker younger brother to McConaughey’s journalist, as McConaughey investigates the possible unlawful incarceration of a convicted killer John Cusack. Kidman brings the disturbing as she embarks on a pas de deux with Zefron while still corresponding with Cusack who, incidentally, is on Death Row.
4: Killing Them Softly – dir. Andrew Dominik. Stars Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins.
Synopsis: After his successful turn in Terrence Malik’s Tree of Life last year, Pitt returns as enforcer Jackie Cogan as he attempts to uncover who is behind a heist that takes place during a mob protected poker game. Obviously it’s all going to get seriously hectic, and that’s just the way we like it.
5: Rust and Bone – dir. Jacques Audiard. Stars Marion Cotilliard, Celine Sallete and Matthias Schoenaerts
Synopsis: A bittersweet relationship blossoms under extreme circumstances when whale trainer Marion Cotillard loses her legs after an attack by a killer whale. Expected to be grim but brilliant.
6: Like Someone In Love – dir. Abbas Kiarostami. Stars Ryo Kase, Denden and Rin Takanashi.
Synopsis: Set in Tokyo, an older man falls for a much younger woman in a film that’s both sumptuous and provoking.
7: Reality – dir. Matteo Garrone. Stars Claudia Gerini, Paola Minaccioni, Nando Paone
Synopsis: That, almost, unforgivably blurry clip is a slice of the black comedy that is, Reality. The title is pretty apt since the film tells the story of a Neapolitan fishmonger called Luciano as he tries out as a contestant on Big Brother. Like all the contenders in this list, this could go either way. But the premise is interesting.
8: Laurence Anyways – dir. Xavier Dolan. Stars Nathalie Baye, Melvil Poupaud, Monia Chokri.
Synopsis: A heterosexual couple experience a severe test of their love when the man (Poupaud) admits to his desire for a sex change. This film is showing in the Un Certain Regard category.
9: Moonrise Kingdom – dir. Wes Anderson. Stars Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton.
Synopsis: Set in the 1960’s on an island off the coast of New England, two young sweethearts run away together, and in so doing triggers a pursuit by various odd characters from their home town.
10: Antiviral – dir. Brandon Cronenberg. Stars Sarah Gadon, Caleb Landry Jones, and Malcom McDowell.
Synopsis: Directed by the son of great David, this modern day horror follows Syd March (Jones) – working in a private clinic that sells live viruses extracted from sick celebrities to fans. As if this wasn’t horrendous enough, Jones himself, eventually falls prey to an unspeakable virus as mayhem ensues.
If none of these grab your attention, there are plenty more films showing in and out of competition or as part of special screenings. The full list of films is here: The festival runs from May 16-27.