10. Still the Water
Written and Directed by Naomie Kawase
Set on a Japanese island during a full-moon summer night, Still the Water is about a 14-year-old boy and his girlfriend who find a dead body floating in the sea and the impact it has on their lives. Kawase previously directed Suzaku and The Mourning Forest, we’re itching to see her style and skillset brought to another cultural tale.
9. The Rover
Written and Directed by David Michôd
Michôd's feature-length debut, Animal Kingdom, is about as strong as they come. That Australian crime family drama was a breath of fresh air and The Rover looks to keeps things that way. In this Western set in a future Down Under "a loner tracks the gang who stole his car from a desolate town in the Australian outback." Robert Pattinson, Guy Pearce and Scoot McNairy are all great faces to fit the desolate backdrop.
8. The Search
Written and Directed by Michel Hazanavicius
Hazanavicius won Best Director and Best Picture Oscars for 2011’s The Artist, which itself was a Cannes darling, but there’s very little that film’s sensibilities has in common with The Search. The wickedly talented Bérénice Bejo plays an NGO employee who forms a special relationship with a young boy in war-torn Chechnya. Annette Bening co-stars in this modern retelling of the 1948 Fred Zinnemann film of the same name.
Written and Directed by Kristian Levring
“In 1870s America, a peaceful American settler kills his family's murderer which unleashes the fury of a notorious gang leader.” Mads Mikkelsen (who won Best Actor at Cannes two years ago for The Hunt), Eva Green, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Jonathan Pryce star in Danish filmmaker Kristian Levering’s stab at an American Western. It’s always fascinating to see how foreign directors tackle the genre and The Salvation looks downright violent and beautiful in all the right ways.
6. Lost River
Written and Directed by Ryan Gosling
After two artistic yet depraved projects with Nicolas Winding Refn we're pumped to see what Ryan Gosling will be bringing into his own directorial debut, Lost River (formerly titled How to Catch a Monster). Christina Hendricks plays a single mother whose son discovers an underwater utopia. Eva Mendes and Saoirse Ronan co-star. Considering Gosling's maturation as a filmmaker and citing master David Lynch as a direct influence, we're ready to float down Lost River.
Written and Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev (Zvee-ya-gin-stev)
“A present day social drama spanning multiple characters about the human insecurity in a new country which gradually unwinds to a mythological scale concerning the human condition on earth entirely.” Zvyagintsev has been on our radar since his masterful debut, The Return, back in 2003. This is his third time at Cannes since and the ambitious if not ambiguous nature of that plot synopsis has us holding our breath for assured greatness.
4. Coming Home
Directed by Zhang Yimou
Renowned for his unparalleled vision, Zhang is following-up The Flowers of War with the story of “a Chinese man who is is forced into marriage and flees to America, but when he returns home, is sent to a labor camp.” Li Gong and Chen Daoming star in this heavy period piece. Coming Home will be premiering at Cannes but Out of Competition.
3. Winter Sleep
Written and Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Noori Bill-guh Jay-lawn)
Ceylan’s previous film, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes in 2011. It was nothing short of a masterpiece. Plot details for Winter Sleep are a tad scarce but it circulates around an actor turned hotel owner who leaves home as winter sets in. We’re trusting Ceylan and his past collaborators on this one, which happens to be the longest film in competition this year at three hours and sixteen minutes.
Directed by Bennett Miller
Miller (of Capote and Moneyball fame) has a recognized gift for bringing true stories of misunderstood men to the big screen. Next in line is paranoid schizophrenic John duPont whose life collided with the Olympic Wrestling duo, the Shultz Brothers. It's Steve Carell in the role of duPont that has piqued my interest since the film was first revealed. It's a dramatic departure from his usual schtick and I look forward to him acting opposite Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo.
1. The Homesman
Written and Directed by Tommy Lee Jones
Last time Tommy Lee Jones brought his own film to Cannes, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, he went home with the awards for Best Actor and Best Screenplay. With The Homesman, he plays a claim jumper opposite a pioneer woman played by Hilary Swank who team up to escort three mentally insane women from Nebraska to Iowa. We’ve never seen a “road trip movie” like this before. After seeing the trailer for The Homesman I found myself wishing Tommy Lee Jones would just make Westerns for the rest of his career.
Curator's Note: Synopses taken from IMDb and/or The Film Stage.