This year's Cannes Film Festival has officially begun, with all of filmdom's glittery best descending on the south of France to smoke cigarettes, talk about George Clooney, and ogle or be ogled. But what about the actual movies? Let's take a look at seven films that sound the most interesting.
Director Michael Haneke, who's recently been responsible for brutal and mysterious films like Funny Games, Caché, and The White Ribbon (which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 2009), seems to take a softer turn with this story of a couple in their 80s living in the aftermath of the wife's stroke. Haneke has assembled a trio of French acting legends for his cast, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva as the couple, and Isabelle Huppert as their daughter. A French-language trailer hints at some dark sadness, but it seems a more domestic kind than the sinister forces at work in many of Haneke's other films.
Canadian outre auteur David Cronenberg has become almost dare we say mainstream of late, with his two award-winning crime films, A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, and the period piece A Dangerous Method. Well now he veers off into the weird again, sort of, with Cosmopolis, an adaptation of the Don DeLillo novel about a limousine-riding young billionaire's weird day in slightly futuristic Manhattan. None other than lil' Bobby Pattinson himself plays the wealthy cad, and he's joined by an eclectic cast comprised of Juliette Binoche, Samantha Morton, Paul Giamatti, and others. The trailer is definitely strange, which means we're all the more curious.
Killing Them Softly
Brad Pitt stars in this crime world drama from his The Assassination of Jesse James director Andrew Dominik. That elegiac western wasn't loved by all, but we thought it was a thoughtful and gorgeously shot film. Unfortunately Dominik didn't have Assassination cinematographer (and ridiculous best-in-the-business genius) Roger Deakins on hand for Killing Them Softly, which is about a gangster (Pitt) investigating the robbery of a mob poker game, but he did get Let Me In and Bright Star DP Greig Fraser, so we're still expecting something aesthetically arresting. Plus, who doesn't like watching Brad Pitt walk around with a gun? It's practically an American pastime.
Jeff Nichols debuts his third film as a writer/director, following the rapturously received Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter. This time, though, he's got a couple of big celebrities (Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon) working for him. McConaughey, who's in the middle of a Serious Actor career makeover, plays an escaped convict who enlists the help of two young boys to evade a bounty hunter and reunite with his lady (presumably Witherspoon). Early clips suggest that Mud will be another moody, ponderous film from Nichols, who might be emerging as our next great thing.
On the Road
Sure it's probably sacrilege to movie-ize Jack Kerouac's rambling, lyrical beatnik novel-cum-travelogue, but aren't you curious to see what Walter Salles, who proved with The Motorcycle Diaries that he knows how to do on-the-road soul searching, does with the book? The trendy cast factor (Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Garrett Hedlund) give us pause, but the first trailer is rather lovely. So yes, it may be a disaster. But it could be a beautiful one.
Rust and Bone
Jacques Audiard's followup to his 2009 Cannes award winner tells the story of a rough and tumble man (rising Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts) struggling to raise his young son and falling in love with an orca trainer (Marion Cotillard) who has been horribly injured in an accident at the amusement park where she works. So... it's a comedy? There isn't exactly A Prophet's stark seriousness at work here, but it's definitely a heavy movie. To temper that darkness, though, the trailer suggests that Rust and Bone will also be full of sweeping emotion and beautiful photography. And, y'know, whales.
Taking a distinct turn away from his last feature, Precious, director Lee Daniels heads south to Florida to tell a tell of a newspaper reporter and his brother trying to exonerate a man facing the death penalty. The movie is apparently narrated by Macy Gracy, Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron play the brothers, John Cusack is the convict, Nicole Kidman factors in somewhere, and it's all directed by the guy who did Precious. Sounds pretty intriguing, right?