Plenty of familiar names and potential 2014 awards favorites stud the Cannes competition lineup that was announced today. The bill features films from festival mainstays like David Cronenberg, Mike Leigh, and Jean-Luc Godard, alongside the follow-up to The Artist from Michel Hazanavicius, a new film from Tommy Lee Jones, and Bennett Miller's much-buzzed biopic Foxcatcher, starring Steve Carrell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo. The full list is here.
The jury is being headed by director Jane Campion, who won the Palme D'Or in 1993 for The Piano.
The festival opens with Olivier Dahan's (La Vie En Rose) biopic Grace of Monaco, starring Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly, which has so far mostly been the topic of cutting-room wars between Dahan and his producer Harvey Weinstein. The film is listed at a trim hour and 43 minutes, so Weinstein's scissors may have won out, but whether the film can capture the same Oscar attention as Dahan's last film (which won a statue for Marion Cotillard) will be the big question.
David Cronenberg is Cannes royalty (though he he has only won one award; the Jury Special Prize for Crash) and Maps to the Stars will be his fifth entry at the festival. Like his last film Cosmopolis, this film also features Robert Pattinson in a car and satirizes the rich and famous, but it's training its sights on Hollywood and includes Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack and Olivia Williams in a much broader-looking satire. (Be warned: that European trailer is a little NSFW.)
Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher has been building awards buzz since it was announced, and its inclusion at Cannes fortifies the Capote and Moneyball director's growing status as one of America's finest young filmmakers. Essaying the true story of insane millionaire John du Pont's obsessive interest in Olympic wrestling and his relationship with the gold medal-winning Schultz brothers, which led to a tragic end, it stars Steve Carrell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo.
Tommy Lee Jones's feature directing debut, 2005's The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, won him a Best Actor award at Cannes and some limited acclaim, but the (extremely underrated) film mostly vanished from people's minds soon after. Jones' return to features brings him back to the West, but while Three Burials was a contemporary tale, The Homesman is a period piece that sees Jones' claim jumper try to take three insane women across the country, along with a steely pioneer lady played by Hilary Swank. By the looks of that trailer, he's called in all his favors to fill out the cast, and hopefully The Homesman will be as subtle and quietly affecting as Jones' last effort.
Mike Leigh is a seven-time Oscar nominee who won the Best Director award at Cannes for Naked and the Palme D'Or for Secrets and Lies. Mr. Turner is his first film in four years, a period biopic about British artist J.M.W. Turner starring Leigh mainstay Timothy Spall. His last such effort, Topsy-Turvy, looked at the lives of Gilbert and Sullivan and is one of Leigh's best.
Also in competition are Cannes regulars Olivier Assays (Sils Maria), Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Kis Uykusu), the Dardennes brothers (Deux Jours, Une Nuit), Atom Egoyan (Captives), Michel Hazanavicius (The Search), Ken Loach (Jimmy's Hall), and many others.
Some of the more interesting efforts airing in the "Un Certain Regard" section include Ryan Gosling's debut directorial film, Lost River; Asia Argento's latest effort Incompresa; and Wim Wenders' documentary-like collaboration with Juliano Ribeiro Saldago, The Salt of the Earth. Airing out of competition is How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Zhang Yimou's new period drama Coming Home.