The 68th Cannes Film Festival is about begin in France, with nineteen films competing for the title of best film – Palme d’Or.
Standing Tall, directed by Emmanuelle Bercot, has been announced as the festival’s opening film, with Ice and the Sky, directed by Luc Jacquet, as the festival’s closing film.
Both the opening and closing films were selected for the strength and importance of their messages (Standing Tall for themes responding to the Charlie Hebdo shootings, and Ice and the Sky for its concern for the future of the planet).
The prize jury is headed by the Coen brothers and includes Sienna Miller and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ new film The Lobster is in competition for the main prize this year. It is set in a dystopian near future where lonely people are obliged to find a matching mate within a 45-day period in a hotel. If they fail, they are transformed into animals and sent off into the woods. Filmed on location in Ireland, its all-star cast includes Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, Olivia Colman and John C Reilly amongst others.
This is Michael Fassbender’s take on Shakespeare’s doomed Scottish King, co-starring Marion Cotillard, David Thewlis and Paddy Considine. The film is directed by Australian director Justin Kurzel, best known for his 2011 film Snowtown – based on a series of real life murderers. Filming took place through locations in Scotland and England last year. It is being screened in competition for the Palme d’Or.
Mad Max: Fury Road:
Mad Max: Fury Road is George Miller’s own reboot of his original Mad Max trilogy, the film which helped make a global star out of Mel Gibson. This film sees British actor Tom Hardy in the title role and sets him against a bloodthirsty gang of marauders in a post-apocalyptic landscape.It co-stars Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult. Expect fast cars, explosions and some truly astounding stunt work.
Asif Kapadia’s documentary about the late singer Amy Winehouse, has already found itself at the centre of some controversy. Made with the assistance of the Winehouse family using old tapes and footage of the singer, who died in 2011 aged 27, Winehouse’s father has now distanced himself from the film. The film as a special midnight screening and not doubt will be a stark reminder of a stunning musical talent and vibrant personality taken far too soon.
Sorrentino’s heart-breakingly beautiful film The Grand Beauty, set in the modern decadence of Rome, was acclaimed when it premiered at Cannes in 2013. It went on to win the Oscar for best foreign language film. His new film, Youth, his second in the English-language, sees Michael Caine as a retired orchestra conductor who is invited to perform for the Queen and Prince Philip. The film co-stars Paul Dano, Rachel Weisz and Harvey Keitel.
Based on the novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, Carol is set in 1950s New York, and tells the story of a young female department-store clerk who falls for an older, married woman. It stars The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo‘s Rooney Mara and Oscar winner Cate Blanchett in the main roles. The romantic novel was considered hugely controversial on its release in the 50s because of its lesbian storyline but is now regarded as a groundbreaking work.
Pixar’s latest film is not in competition but gets its world premiere at this year’s event.
The animation will be set in the mind of a young girl, where five emotions – Joy, Anger, Disgust, Fear and Sadness – try to lead her through her life. Voices include Amy Poehler, Bill Hader and Mindy Kaling. Docter has previously directed Monsters, Inc and the huge critical and financial success Up, which opened the 2009 Cannes Film Festival – the first animated feature to do so.
Cannes loves an auteur and it loves Woody Allen. His new film Irrational Man stars Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone as a philosophy professor in an existential crisis and a student who gives him a new lease of life. Stone clearly enjoys working with the veteran director, having also starred in his 2014 film Magic in the Moonlight. Allen’s career has been a critical hit and miss in recent years with Blue Jasmine, starring Cate Blanchett in Oscar-winning form as a clear high.
The Sea of Trees:
Gus Van Sant’s elegiac The Sea of Trees sees Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey as an American who travels to the “Suicide Forest” at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan to kill himself. There, he encounters the equally suicidal Ken Watanabe. Expect some powerhouse acting from both stars and Naomi Watts, who co-stars in the film. Van Sant has some pedigree at Cannes, having won the Palme d’Or for his drama Elephant in 2003.
The Tale of Tales:
Italian director Matteo Garrone’s visually sumptious new film The Tale of Tales, is an altogether starry affair – a fairytale collection featuring Salma Hayek, John C Reilly, Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones and Shirley Henderson. The gruesome flick interweaves three separate stories; Italians Alba Rohrwacher & Massimo Ceccherini the street circus family, Salma Hayek the jealous queen who forfeits her husband’s life, and Vincent Cassel – the king whose passion is stoked by two mysterious sisters.
The Cannes Film Festival will run from May 13 – 24. For more details, head to http://www.festival-cannes.fr