Beginning this week is the most esteemed yearly event in cinema: the Cannes Film Festival. While we’ll be on the ground covering, today brings a preview of what we’re most looking forward to in the eclectic line-up, ranging from films in competition to midnight screenings to select titles on the various sidebars. We should note that while we’re looking forward to Mad Max: Fury Road and Inside Out, we’ve elected to make room for films that won’t be getting a wide release within the next few weeks. Check out our most-anticipated features below and follow our complete coverage here throughout the month.
25. A Tale of Love and Darkness (Natalie Portman)
Synopsis: Based on Amos Oz’s international best-seller, A Tale of Love and Darkness is the story of Oz’s youth at the end of the British Mandate for Palestine and the early years of the State of Israel. The film details young Amos’ relationship with his mother and his birth as a writer, looking at what happens when the stories we tell, become the stories we live.
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: When it comes to established actors debuting their first directorial efforts, we hope better things are in store at Cannes this year, where Natalie Portman — after crafting a short in New York, I Love You — will be premiering her debut feature. With strong source material and a personal stake in the story, hopefully this is the start of a different side of filmmaking for the accomplished performer. – Jordan R.
24. Yakuza Apocalypse (Takashi Miike)
Synopsis: Yakuza boss Kamiura is a legend. Rumored to be unkillable, the truth is he is a vampire – a vampire yakuza boss! Among Kamiura’s gang is the loyal Kageyama. However, the young Kageyama is looked down on by the other yakuzas due to the sensitive skin that prevents him from being tattooed.One day, men arrive from abroad and deliver Kamiura an ultimatum : return to the syndicate he left years ago or die. Kamiura refuses and, during a fierce battle, is torn limb from limb. With his dying breath, Kamiura passes on his powers to Kageyama. As his newfound abilities awaken, Kageyama’s desire to avenge his boss sets him on a violent confrontation with the seemingly unstoppable foreign syndicate.
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: When you produce several films and work in multiple genres every year, it’s only expected that your track record will be a bit hit-and-miss. Fortunately for Takashi Miike fans — truly a loyal bunch — Yakuza Apocalypse looks like one of his best films in years, from a high-concept premise down to some truly eye-popping work in the spate of available previews. The real question, though, is if it’s good enough to earn attention in the mess that is the world’s most prestigious film festival. But surely there’s some sort of market for a smashingly fun Japanese vampire-gangster film? Surely? – Nick N.
23. Son of Saul (László Nemes)
Synopsis: October 1944, Auschwitz-Birkenau. Saul Ausländer is a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando, the group of Jewish prisoners isolated from the camp and forced to assist the Nazis in the machinery of large-scale extermination. While working in one of the crematoriums, Saul discovers the corpse of a boy he takes for his son. As the Sonderkommando plans a rebellion, Saul decides to carry out an impossible task: save the child’s body from the flames, find a rabbi to recite the mourner’s Kaddish and offer the boy a proper burial.
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: As usual when it comes to the Cannes competition line-up, a few sure-fire predictions came true with directors we’ve long admired. However, one of the biggest surprises came with a selection of all-too-rare directorial debut. László Nemes, who assisted Béla Tarr, will be kicking off his feature career at the festival with Son of Saul. Whether it honors the style of his previous collaborator remains to be seen, but the gripping, devastating premise has us greatly intrigued. – Jordan R.
22. The Anarchists (Elie Wajeman)
Synopsis: Paris 1899. Charged with infiltrating an anarchist organization, Corporal Jean Albertini finds himself torn between duty to his superiors, genuine sympathy for the anarchists and desire for Judith, their leader’s girlfriend.
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: While Elie Wajeman might not have the pedigree of other directors amongst this feature, his latest films features two elements that have us greatly looking forward to the results: Adèle Exarchopoulos and Tahar Rahim, both returning to Cannes after successful trips. Premiering in the Cannes’ Critics Week line-up, hopefully it’s a stand-out there. – Jordan R.
21. The Treasure (Corneliu Porumboiu)
Synopsis: Costi (33) leads a peaceful life. At night he likes to read his 6-year-old son stories, to help him sleep. Their favourite is Robin Hood. Costi sees himself as the hero – righter of wrongs and defender of the oppressed. One evening, his neighbour pays him an unexpected visit and shares a secret: there’s treasure buried in his grandparents’ garden, he’s sure of it. If Costi will hire a metal detector to help locate it, he’ll give him half of whatever they get. Skeptical at first, in the end Costi can’t resist. He’s on board. The two accomplices have one weekend to locate the loot. Despite every obstacle in their path, Costi refuses to be discouraged. For his wife and son, he’s a real hero – nothing and no one are going to stop him.
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: His latest film, When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism, just got a limited release earlier this year in the United States, but Romania’s Corneliu Porumboiu is already returning for his follow-up, The Treasure. Said to have a streak of dark humor, hopefully this will be another strong drama from the Romanian director. – Jordan R.
20. My Golden Days (Arnaud Desplechin)
Synopsis: As Paul Dédalus prepares to return home, he remembers his youth… In My Golden Days, Arnaud Despleschin returns to the rich and complex emotional landscape he explored in My Sex Life… or How I Got Into an Argument and A Christmas Tale.
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: Following up his previous Cannes debut Jimmy P.: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian, Arnaud Desplechin is returning to the festival alongside his frequent collaborator Mathieu Amalric. Revisiting his character of Paul Dédalus the story of the man as he looks back over three periods in his childhood and adolescence that shaped his life, those at the festival call it “maybe his best and most moving film.” Let’s hope that’s the case. – Jordan R.
19. Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier)
Synopsis: A young punk rock band find themselves trapped in a secluded venue after stumbling upon a horrific act of violence, fighting for their lives against a gang of white power skinheads intent on eliminating all witnesses.
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: After breaking out with one of the finest independent features of last year, the thriller Blue Ruin, writer-director Jeremy Saulnier will return to Cannes with his follow-up. Led by Patrick Stewart as a ferocious white supremacist and a cast also including Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Callum Turner, Mark Webber, Kai Lennox, Eric Edelstein and, reteaming with Saulnier, Blue Ruin star Macon Blair, if it’s as gripping and controlled as his break-out, it could be one of the best of Cannes. – Jordan R.
18. In the Shadow of Women (Philippe Garrel)
Synopsis: Pierre and Manon are poor. They make documentary films without a cent and they get by with odd jobs. Pierre meets a young intern, Elisabeth and she becomes his mistress. But Pierre doesn’t want to leave Manon for Elisabeth – he wants to keep them both. One day Elisabeth, Pierre’s young mistress, discovers that Manon, Pierre’s wife, has a lover. And she tells Pierre. Pierre’s attention turns back to Manon because she’s the one he loves. And because he feels betrayed, he beseeches Manon and neglects Elisabeth. Manon breaks it off with her lover right away. There’s a good chance that’s because she truly loves Pierre.
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: After naming his latest film, Jealousy, one of the best of 2014 (and 2013, in fact), Philippe Garrel‘s next film L’Ombre des femmes (translated to In the Shadow of Women) will arrive at Cannes as the Directors Fortnight opener. Coming partly from Luis Buñuel collaborator Jean-Claude Carrière, the drama will hopefully continue his streak. – Jordan R.
17. Hitchcock/Truffaut (Kent Jones)
Synopsis: 1962 – Two of the greatest minds in cinema sat down for a historic conversation. Hitchcock/Truffuat invites you to sit down at the table as François Truffaut‘s intimate and expansive interview with Alfred Hitchcock unfolds. David Fincher, Richard Linklater, Martin Scorsese and other legendary filmmakers add to the discussion of Hitchcock’s enduring legacy and influence on cinema. Directed by Kent Jones (A Letter to Elia, Jimmy P., Director – New York Film Festival) and written by Serge Toubiana (Director of the Cinematèque Française) and Jones, the film thrillingly chronicles the intellectual and artistic bonds between the master of suspense and the French New Wave auteur.
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: The pedigree here is really something: one of film’s great essayists assembles some of the world’s greatest directors for a documentary on the most essential of directorial studies — one that was itself anchored by two titans. A lot, yes? Given the heavy, heavy reliance on archival footage that mark Kent Jones’ work as a documentarian — an oeuvre including the excellent Val Lewton: The Man In the Shadows and a series of projects with Martin Scorsese — and wealth of archival audio at his disposal, it’s difficult to ascertain how this project will coalesce, but that’s no problem; for me, that sort of guessing game is as enticing as the project entire. And although this has the potential to be a landmark, even “pretty darn good” is a strong possibility. – Nick N.
16. Our Little Sister (Hirokazu Koreeda)
Synopsis: Three sisters – Sachi, Yoshino and Chika – live together in a large house in the city of Kamakura. When their father – absent from the family home for the last 15 years – dies, they travel to the countryside for his funeral, and meet their shy teenage half-sister. Bonding quickly with the orphaned Suzu, they invite her to live with them. Suzu eagerly agrees, and a new life of joyful discovery begins for the four siblings…
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: Considering it came out well over a year ago in the United States, many forgot Hirokazu Koreeda‘s Like Father, Like Son was one of the more accomplished films of 2014. The director will be returning this year with Kamakura Diary, a drama led by four woman (Haruka Ayase, Kaha, Masami Nagasawa and relative newcomer Suzu Hirose) and adapted from the eponymous manga series. Koreeda’s reserved, but warm sensibilities seem to be the ideal fit for this material. – Jordan R.
15. Irrational Man (Woody Allen)
Synopsis: Philosophy professor Abe Lucas is at rock bottom emotionally, unable to find any meaning or joy in life. Soon after arriving to teach at a small town college, Abe gets involved with two women: Rita Richards, a lonely professor who wants him to rescue her from her unhappy marriage; and Jill Pollard, his best student, who becomes his closest friend. Pure chance changes everything when Abe and Jill overhear a stranger’s conversation and become drawn in. Once Abe makes a profound choice, he is able to embrace life to the fullest again. But his decision sets off a chain of events that will affect him, Jill and Rita forever.
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: Woody Allen’s extensive catalogue of films, one punctually debuting each year, allows for extensive classification of his films. Of late, there has been his European titles Midnight in Paris, To Rome with Love, and Magic in the Moonlight. Judging from the unsettling and cryptic trailer to his latest, Irrational Man bypasses whatever rhythms the director has been working in the past several years. Joining Allen’s repertoire of actors for the first time is Joaquin Phoenix, who has played melancholy and detached characters in films for PTA and Spike Jonze, can hopefully conjure the dread and unease that Cate Blanchett managed in her recent collaboration with Blue Jasmine. Even Allen’s mediocre films are enjoyable and watchable; his greatest films, however, find new ways of engaging his longstanding audience. Given the pedigree involved here, we’re hoping he has stumbled on something uniquely compelling. – Zade C.
14. Youth (Paolo Sorrentino)
Synopsis: Fred and Mick, two old friends approaching their eighties, are enjoying a vacation in a lovely hotel in the foothills of the Alps. Fred, a retired composer and conductor, has no intention of returning to his music career which he dropped a long time ago, while Mick, a director, is still working, hurrying to finish the screenplay of his latest film. Both friends know that their days are numbered and decide to face their future together. But unlike them, no one else seems worried about the passing of time…
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: Taking home the Oscar last year, Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty proudly emerged from the aesthetic and thematic ideas of Federico Fellini’s films. Youth, Sorrentino’s follow-up, seems concerned with delving deeper into the aristocratic malaise depicted in his previous work. Based on the operatic trailer, Michael Caine seems to be the film’s primary character spearheading an impressive ensemble that features Paul Dano, Rachel Weisz, and Harvey Keitel. Sorrentino’s vision isn’t always precise, however — his unwieldy film This Must Be the Place also had an impressive pedigree and seemed posed for greatness before it was screened. Given the talent and the recent artistic success though, we’re hoping Youth makes for a defining work in Italy’s catalogue of films at Cannes. – Zade C.
13. Sicario (Denis Villeneuve)
Synopsis: In Mexico, Sicario means hitman. In the lawless border area stretching between the U.S. and Mexico, an idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by an elite government task force official to aid in the escalating war against drugs. Led by an enigmatic consultant with a questionable past, the team sets out on a clandestine journey forcing Kate to question everything that she believes in order to survive.
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: Reteaming after Prisoners, Denis Villeneuve and Roger Deakins‘ follow-up is one of the few titles of the line-up you’re going to get a chance to see fairly soon. Set for a September release with cast including Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio del Toro, and Jon Bernthal, the director recently said, it’s “a very dark film, a dark poem, quite violent.” He adds, “It’s about the alienation of the cycles of violence, how at one point we are in those spirals of violence and ask ourselves, ‘Is there a solution? My movie raises the question; it doesn’t give any answer.”
12. The Tale of Tales (Matteo Garrone)
Synopsis: Once upon a time there were three neighboring kingdoms each with a magnificent castle, from which ruled kings and queens, princes and princesses. One king was a fornicating libertine, another captivated by a strange animal, while one of the queens was obsessed by her wish for a child. Sorcerers and fairies, fearsome monsters, ogres and old washerwomen, acrobats and courtesans are the protagonists of this loose interpretation of the celebrated tales of Giambattista Basile.
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: The trailer for Italian filmmaker Matteo Garrone‘s Palme d’Or competitor A Tale of Tales is a sight to behold. Strange, dark, and utterly enchanting, the images suggest a Pre-Raphaelite painting come to life, complete with nymphish girls, mythical creatures, and figures decked in full Elizabethan regalia. Based on the fairy tales of 17th century author Giambattista Basile, the film stars Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, John C. Reilly and Toby Jones as the main players in three separate storylines that combine realistic and fantastical elements. Further details remain a mystery, but if the footage we’ve seen thus far is any indication – see: Hayek chowing down on a giant, bloody heart – this should make for an unforgettable experience. – Amanda W.
11. Love (Gaspar Noé)
Synopsis: January the 1st, early morning. The telephone rings. Murphy wakes up next to his young wife and 2-year-old child. He listens to his voicemail: Electra’s mother, sick with worry, wants to know whether he has heard from her daughter. Electra’s been missing for a long time. She’s afraid something really bad has happened to her. Over the course of a long rainy day, Murphy finds himself alone in his apartment, reminiscing about the greatest love affair of his life, his two years with Electra. A burning passion full of promises, games, excesses and mistakes…
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: Whether you appreciate his films or not, there’s little doubt that Gaspar Noé won’t be the talk of the festival. Although it won’t be part of the competition line-up, taking a bit of a turn from his previous work, his latest will actually be “really joyous” in its exploration of sex. The director says the melodrama will give “guys a hard-on and make girls cry.” So, it looks like there’s something for everyone. Oh, and it’s also in eye-popping 3D. – Jordan R.
10. Dheepan (Jacques Audiard)
Synopsis: Dheepan is a Tamil freedom fighter, a Tiger. In Sri Lanka, the Civil War is reaching its end, and defeat is near. Dheepan decides to flee, taking with him two strangers – a woman and a little girl – hoping that they will make it easier for him to claim asylum in Europe. Arriving in Paris, the ‘family’ moves from one temporary home to another until Dheepan finds work as the caretaker of a run-down housing block in the suburbs. He works to build a new life and a real home for his ‘wife’ and his ‘daughter’, but the daily violence he confronts quickly reopens his war wounds, and Dheepan is forced to reconnect with his warrior’s instincts to protect the people he hopes will become his true family.
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: After rising in the international ranks with The Beat That My Heart Skipped, A Prophet, and more, France’s Jacques Audiard delivered his highest-profile project a few years ago with the Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts-led Rust & Bone. His next drama is a bit more low-profile, a story partially inspired by Montesquieu’s Persian Letters, but one that we expect to be another stellar notch in his belt. – Jordan R.
9. Macbeth (Justin Kurzel)
Synopsis: Macbeth is the story of a fearless warrior and inspiring leader brought low by ambition and desire. A thrilling interpretation of the dramatic realities of the times and a reimagining of what wartime must have been like for one of Shakespeare’s most famous and compelling characters, a story of all-consuming passion and ambition set in war torn 11th Century Scotland.
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: Australian director Justin Kurzel made a scarring debut with his serial killer drama The Snowtown Murders in 2011, which won special mentions for the FIPRESCI Prize and Critics Week at that year’s Cannes festival. He now returns with his second film, an extremely promising take on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, with as charged with a giddy cast list that includes Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, David Thewlis, and Jack Reynor. With much at stake for Kurzel (he’s also set to direct an Assassin’s Creed adaptation after this, of all things), keep an eye out for how the two-time directors manages the dramatic charge within his two strong leads, and also how he aims to make one of Shakespeare’s greatest hits his own. Macbeth could be the confirmation of a new leader in world cinema just as much as death-by-ambition, of which a video game adaptation will provide a following hope of artistic redemption. On Kurzel’s side for this film are his compelling collaborators, like True Detective cinematographer Adam Arkapaw, and his screenwriters Todd Louiso, Jacob Koskoff (both of The Marc Pease Experience) and debut feature writer Michael Lesslie. – Nick A.
8. Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhangke)
Synopsis: In 1999, Fenyang. Tao, a school teacher, is in love with Liang, who is a coal miner. But Tao brings an end to their relationship when she is proposed marriage with Jinsheng, who just became an owner of the coal mine. Hearbroken, Liang leaves his hometown in self-exile. In 2014, Liang, who lives in Handang, finds himself in a fatal illness. Liang decides to go back to Fenyang with his wife and a daughter to live his last days at his hometown. Liang meets Tao, who was already divorced with Jinsheng, and lives alone. Meanwhile, her son, Daole, who lives in Shanghai with Jinsheng, temporary comes back to Fenyang to his grandpa’s funeral. Tao learns that Daole is going to immigrate to Australia with Jinsheng. After the funeral, Tao sees off her son on the train to Shanghai.
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: One of China’s finest filmmakers, Jia Zhangke, will return to Cannes soon after delivering one of our favorite films of the last few years, A Touch of Sin. Ambitious storytelling isn’t something new for the helmer, but this one sees him stretch narrative constraints even further as his three-part story spans over a quarter of a century, leading to his depiction of a world ten years in the future. It remains to be seen what his take entails, but we are deeply curious what’s in store. – Jordan R.
7. The Sea of Trees (Gus Van Sant)
Synopsis: It’s love and loss that lead Arthur Brennan, across the world to Japan’s Aokigahara, a mysterious dense forest known as The Sea of Trees lapping the foothills of Japan’s Mount Fuji – a place where people go to contemplate life and death. Arthur enters the depths of the forest and loses himself beyond the guiding ribbons threaded through the trees by many before him. Having found the perfect place to die, Arthur encounters Takumi Nakamura, a Japanese man who also appears to have lost his way. Unable to leave Takumi behind, Arthur invests all of his remaining energy into saving Takumi and returning him to safety. The two men embark on a journey of reflection and survival, which affirms Arthur’s will to live and reconnects him to his love with his wife.
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: It would be easy to just write the words “Gus Van Sant” and then drop the mic on this inclusion, but let’s be both professional and informative by talking a little more about it. Directed by the man who gave us Elephant, Milk, Paranoid Park, and Good Will Hunting, Sea of Trees stars the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Ken Watanabe, Katie Aselton, and Naomi Watts, a cast that — aside from being hell on spell check — is so packed with talent and dramatic weight that it could make its own case. Given a real-life setting that is enough to get the imagination and intellect racing — seriously, look this place up (or don’t) — and a story that bends so readily towards tragedy, this film is set well ahead of pace to be one of 2015’s more moving and thought-provoking films. Most exciting, though, is getting to see which Van Sant shows up to direct it — the crowd-pleaser, the narrative experimenter, the dark existentialist, or the moving sentimentalist. All in all, it’s a crap shoot, but one that should be rewarding. – Brian R.
6. The Cemetery of Splendour (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
Synopsis: Soldiers with a mysterious sleeping sickness are transferred to a temporary clinic in a former school. The memory-filled space becomes a revelatory world for housewife and volunteer Jenjira, as she watches over Itt, a handsome soldier with no family visitors. Jen befriends young medium Keng who uses her psychic powers to help loved ones communicate with the comatose men. Doctors explore ways, including coloured light therapy, to ease the mens’ troubled dreams. Jen discovers Itt’s cryptic notebook of strange writings and blueprint sketches. There may be a connection between the soldiers’ enigmatic syndrome and the mythic ancient site that lies beneath the clinic. Magic, healing, romance and dreams are all part of Jen’s tender path to a deeper awareness of herself and the world around her.
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: Apichatpong Weerasethakul — or, if you want to prove that you’re a real cinephile, simply “Joe” — has undeniably seen his profile rise with the surprise Palme d’Or win of his last feature (and one of our favorites of the decade thus far), Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. Yet instead of succumbing to the temptation of a (comparatively) big-budget international production, he’s decided to make the latest endeavor completely in line with the resources behind all his previous features. It should come as no surprise, then, that the story concerns something completely familiar to him: dreaming, which he’ll undoubtedly make stranger than anything your sleep could ever produce. – Ethan V.
5. Arabian Nights (Miguel Gomes)
Synopsis: For the past year and half Scheherazade has been awake through the night telling stories to King Shahryar. This real marathon is nothing but a ploy devised with her sister’s complicity to try to stop the king’s bloodthirsty madness in his decision to wed a new maiden every evening, only to have her killed by dawn. Scheherazade has managed to escape this foretold condemnation to death every night by leaving her stories unfinished with the promise to continue the following night; and so the King decides to spare her life in order to continue listening to the tales that delight him so. Many more nights will have gone by – one thousand and one in total – before Shahryar realises that he should neither kill Scheherazade nor wed another woman. But that is not part of this film: the narrative device of the Arabian Nights book is relatively well known and we rely on this fact being part of the collective folk universe to focus mainly on the stories Scheherazade tells. And these will be different than the ones we know from the book.
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: The three features Miguel Gomes has produced thus far represent a major and idiosyncratic voice, one as concerned with the various effects of structural conceits as the significance of any particular image. We’re lucky to have him making films, especially when his next will take things even further: adapting one of literature’s best-known collections by conforming its core to events that occured in Portugal over the course of a single year — by the sound of it, marrying the long-established with that which is just in the distance. If all goes well, Arabian Nights, clocking in at over 6 hours across three parts, will undoubtedly be one of the year’s greatest films. – Nick N.
4. The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-Hsien)
Synopsis: 9th century China. 10-year-old general’s daughter Nie Yinniang is abducted by a nun who initiates her into the martial arts, transforming her into an exceptional assassin charged with eliminating cruel and corrupt local governors. One day, having failed in a task, she is sent back by her mistress to the land of her birth, with orders to kill the man to whom she was promised – a cousin who now leads the largest military region in North China. After 13 years of exile, the young woman must confront her parents, her memories and her long-repressed feelings. A slave to the orders of her mistress, Nie Yinniang must choose: sacrifice the man she loves or break forever with the sacred way of the righteous assassins.
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: One of the world’s greatest filmmakers makes his long-awaited return with a years-in-the-making martial arts epic. No, I’m not referring to The Grandmaster, but, as one who considers Wong Kar-wai’s 2013 picture a masterpiece — in its native form, at least — that’s hardly the worst point of comparison. Regardless of those particular circumstances at play here — and despite (or because of?) the huge potential for disappointment that they establish — Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Assassin is perhaps the Cannes title to stand above them all, anticipation-wise. Fingers crossed that it lives up to even some of this promise. – Nick N.
3. Carol (Todd Haynes)
Synopsis: In New York in the early 1950s, Therese Belivet, is working in a Manhattan department store and dreaming of a more fulfilling life when she meets Carol Aird, an alluring woman trapped in a failing marriage. As an immediate connection sparks between them, the innocence of their first encounter dims and their connection deepens. When Carol’s involvement with Therese comes to light, Carol’s husband retaliates by challenging her competence as a mother. And as Carol and Therese take refuge on the road, leaving their respective lives behind, a confrontation emerges that will test each woman’s assumptions about herself and commitments to one another.
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: Speaking of directors who’ve been gone for some time and thus create all sorts of expectations / much potential for huge disappointment: Todd Haynes is a name I’m always glad to type, and thus Carol, his period-piece lesbian romance picture starring Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett, excites me like few other films coming out this year, Cannes or otherwise. The director’s revealing, enticing comments are one thing; better yet initial word on it has been rather strong. – Nick N.
2. Louder Than Bombs (Joachim Trier)
Synopsis: An upcoming exhibition celebrating photographer Isabelle Reed three years after her untimely death, brings her eldest son Jonah back to the family house – forcing him to spend more time with his father Gene and withdrawn younger brother Conrad than he has in years. With the three of them under the same roof, Gene tries desperately to connect with his two sons, but they struggle to reconcile their feelings about the woman they remember so differently.
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: With his previous feature, Oslo, August 31st, earning a spot amongst our favorites of the decade thus far, expectations are high for Joachim Trier‘s follow-up. Led by Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Byrne, Isabelle Huppert, Devin Druid, Rachel Brosnahan, David Strathairn, and Amy Ryan, Trier — along with his co-writer Eskil Vogt — have carved out quietly devastating portraits of deep emotional turmoil, and this looks to be another powerful step up. – Jordan R.
1. The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos)
Synopsis: A love story set in the near future where single people, according to the rules of The City, are arrested and transferred to The Hotel. There they are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days. If they fail, they are transformed into an animal of their choosing and released into The Woods. A desperate Man escapes from The Hotel to The Woods where The Loners live and falls in love, although it is against their rules.
Why We’re Looking Forward to It: “You don’t really understand everything… it’s one of the most mysterious and original films [here],” said Cannes head Thierry Frémaux when revealing that Dogtooth director Yorgos Lanthimos‘ latest film was set to compete for the Palme d’Or. We certainly hope this year’s jury is an adventurous one, as The Lobster has the makings of Cannes’ finest film. There’s the incredibly compelling, peculiar synopsis, the top-notch ensemble (including Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, Olivia Colman, Léa Seydoux and John C. Reilly), and, hopefully, a continuation of Lanthimos’ meticulous formal control. – Jordan R.
What are your most-anticipated films?