In Competition - Based upon a book by Brian Selznik, who also wrote the mesmerizing "The Invention of Hugo Cabret." I read the latter to my kids but I became as engrossed in the tale and the images as they were. That book also captured the imagination of Martin Scorsese who turned it into, simply, Hugo. Scosese courageously struggled to capture the delicate, mysterious, and quite miraculous nature of Selznick's text and illustrations to the screen. How the very detail-oriented Haynes will approach Selznick's followup to "Hugo" has me very excited and a little bit nervous.
In Competition - I'm jubilant that The Artist's writer/director Michel Hazavanicius has rebounded from the painful experience of The Search and intrigued that he's chosen the still-alive Jean Luc-Godard as the subject of his new film. Doubling the interest level is the period he's chosen, around the 1968 French protests that included the cancelling of Cannes that year (and the creation of Director's Fortnight), which is captured in the preview trailer. Also glad to see that the talented Stacy Martin (Nymphomaniac Vol. 1, Tale of Tales) is getting such a prominent role.
In Competition - Lanthimos's The Lobster made around $9 million in the U.S./Canada and was up for a slew of awards including the Academy's Best Original Screenplay category. He is always a challenging and original artist. He reteams with his Lobster star Farrell (who should never make another studio film again) and with his first magazine cover star, Nicole Kidman. Okay, okay, Colin Farrell has graced a cover or two but he's not on newsstands throughout the calendar like Kidman.
In Competition - The Safdie brothers made quite a stir with their feature before this, Heaven Knows What, which earned them a John Cassavetes Award nomination at the last Film Independent Spirit Awards and some other noms to boot. Plus it's a fearless cast.
In Competition - If Ramsay's 2011 feature film, We Need to Talk About Kevin hasn't stuck with you then I'm not sure I do want to go to lunch with you on Friday. The Taxi Driver-esque plot leaves me with a feeling a dread, a feeling I'm sure makes Ramsay gleeful.
In Competition - Mundruczo's last film was White God, which won him the Un Certain Regard Director prize and recognition State-side. His reputation internationally, however, has been building for years including winning Un Certain Regard for Johanna and being nominated for the Palme d'Or for 2008's Delta and 2010's Tender Son: The Frankenstein Project.
In Competition - The prolific Ozon returns with Marine Vacht the young star of his shockingly frank (and dead-eyed) 2013 film, Jeune & Jolie. In that film Vacth played a young woman who becomes an escort out of, what? boredom? a result of sex-saturated society? daddy issues? It's probably all of the above. Regardless a new offering from Ozon is a must and even if it misses there's still Vacth to watch for two hours.
In Competition - Not to be superstitious or anything but I'm not sure that the Croissette is the best place for director Sofia Coppola. True she scored with the out-of-competition The Virgin Suicides in '99 but she also debuted the clunky Marie Antoinette there in '06 (though In Competition for the Palme d'Or) and The Bling Ring ended up in Un Certain Regard in 2013, garnering little regard whatsoever. The original, 1971, Don Siegel-Beguiled, starring Clint Eastwood, still packs a punch today but that's because it was so shocking for the era, including an imagined menage-a-trios and Eastwood's Union soldier planting a kiss on a 12-year-old girl. Watching Coppola go genre though could be a kick.
In Competition - The last time Haneke was at Cannes was in 2012 with Amour which was arguably his biggest success and garnered him the Best Foreign Language Oscar. Returning with a refugee drama seems out of sorts for the director, who is not long on sentimentality, so this could prove to be the most harrowing film of the festival.
In Competition - - Okay, okay, I've been a bit remiss in keeping up with all of Fatih Akin's films since 2004's Head On. Not only did I respond to that taut film but it launched Sibel Kekilli's legit career and won the Golden Bear in Berlin. So I missed his 2007 Palme d'Or film, The Edge of Heaven and 2009's Soul Kitchen, nominated for Venice's Golden Lion. I actually did see his 2014 Venice entry The Cut, another in a long-line of long and earnest Armenian holocaust films. Akin also had Kruger who has been crafting an excellent filmography for herself the last few years.
In Competition - Ostlund directed 2014's Force Majeure and, if you haven't seen that, then stop reading this and watch it. The Un Certain Regard jury of that year would certainly agree with me as they awarded it a Jury Prize that year. Ostlund had previously been in Un Certain Regard with Involuntary so this certainly isn't his first time at the Cannes rodeo, so to speak. Plus Elisabeth Moss.
In Competition - I realize that I'm one of the few people on the planet who was not bowled over by Snowpiercer, which delivered its political and societal methaphors by way of plunger, but there, I said it. I was a much bigger fan of The Host and remain creeped out by Mother. Though the setup for Okja seems precious the director is anything but.
Out of Competition - Sony Pictures Classics has already picked up this Polanski team-up with Olivier Assayas so there's a good chance you'll get to see it outside of France. Here Polanski again directs his real-life wife of some 28 years, Seigner. Let's hope it's better than Bitter Moon and Venus in Fur and more like The Ninth Gate (which I love most of).
Out of Competition - John Cameron Mitchell is so inordinately talented (see either the Broadway or film version of Hedwig and the Angry Inch? did you see Rabbit Hole?) that any entry from him is required viewing.