The most prestigious film festival in the world will kick off in just a couple of weeks, running this year from May 14-25, and they officially have their film and jury lineup set. This year's jury is led by one of my favorite directors, Jane Campion (right) and is composed of a group of people from a very diverse, international background- although I don't think that ever necessarily dictates that they'll have a certain kind of taste. The members are Campion, French actress Carole Bouquet, Sofia Coppola, Iranian actress Leila Hatami, South Korean actress Jeon Do-yeon, Willem Dafoe, Gael Garcia Bernal, Jia Zhangke and Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (who made Drive).
As for the lineup, most are disappointed that some of the biggest, most anticipated films of the year have been pulled from the festival supposedly because they're not ready yet- in particular, Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice and Alejandro Innaritu's Birdman, both slated to come out in the fall. So for me that leaves these as the selections I'm most curious about:
- FOXCATCHER (Channing Tatum, Steve Carell. Dir. Bennett Miller)- Bennett Miller's last two movies, Capote and Moneyball, were big Oscar contenders, so everyone's expecting this one, which was supposed to come out last year but was held all the way over into Cannes, to be a major player. Especially for its two stars, who are trying to break into serious dramatic roles with this material (Steve Carell is playing a murderer, believe it or not).
- MAPS TO THE STARS (Mia Wasikowska, Julianne Moore. Dir. David Cronenberg)- I'm always interested in anything from Cronenberg, even if his taste isn't usually for everyone.
- MR. TURNER (Timothy Spall. Dir. Mike Leigh)- Same goes for Mike Leigh. I've pretty much loved everything he's ever done, and this biography about British artist J.M.W Turner is his first period film since 1999's Topsy-Turvy.
- COMING HOME (Dir. Zhang Yimou)- And you can apply that to Zhang Yimou as well. He hasn't had a critical or commercial hit in a while but he's still one of the great filmmakers and capable of knocking one out of the park at any time.
- HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 (Dir. Dean Deblois)- This is showing out of competition but it'll be the first screening of the movie anywhere, so I'm excited to hear how it turned out.
- THE ROVER (Dir. David Michou)- I'm curious about this one mostly because I love both Michod's last movie Animal Kingdom and Guy Pearce, who stars in this one too.
And that's pretty much it, actually. I tend to choose films from directors I know to keep track of, but I'll be keeping up with reports on how all of these are received, plus any other films that break out at Cannes. There are plenty of international films that I know nothing about on the list of course, but if there are any breakout sensations from any country I'll be posting about them, so stay tuned.