A Glimpse At Features In Competition At Cannes 2015

By Yash Thakur. Posted on April 22, 2015

When the world's most revered and noted film festival announced it's line up for it's 68th edition, there were plenty of recurring things: Korean and European films leading in numbers, high profile actors stepping behind the camera (Natalie Portman directing 'A Tale Of Love And Darkness') and virtually no documentaries making the cut (except Asif Kapadia's Amy). But among prominent names and studios, there are also newcomers vying for attention beyond the competition at the Cannes Film Festival 2015.

The Biggies

DHEEPAN Dir : Jacques Audiard

Now a regular at the festival, both of Audiard's previous ventures, A Prophet and Rust And Bone were critically and commerically successful, with the latter also winning the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2010 and both films were also featured in competition. Dheepan tells the story of a Sri Lankan Tamil warrior who flees to France, only to end up working as a caretaker.

CHRONIC Dir: Michel Franco

Three years after his film After Lucia (check out the trailer " target="_blank">here) won the Prize Un Certain Regard at Cannes, Mexican film director Michel Franco has now graduated to the In Competition section this year. His latest film, Chronic, an American drama starring Tim Roth, Bitsie Tulloch and David Dastmalchian is about a depressed nurse practitioner who assists terminally ill patients and tries to reconnect with the family he abandoned.

THE LOBSTER Dir : Yorgos Lanthimos

Another highly anticipated film is director Yorgos Lanthimos's next offering The Lobster. Since his critically acclaimed family thriller Dogtooth in 2008, Lanthimos has come a long way (even though his follow up 'Alps' didn't feature at Cannes). Starring Colin Farrell, Lea Seydoux, and Rachel Weisz in yet another absurd and dystopian story, the film about human mating at a secluded retreat in the near future could very well end up winning the big prize.

TALE OF TALES Dir : Matteo Garrone

Matteo Garrone has returned to Cannes with his unusual, dark fantasy film Tale Of Tales. Garrone's last two outings, Gomorra and Reality are both Grand Jury prize winners, so one can safely bet on his upcoming English feature. Starring biggies like Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel and John C. Reilly, Tale Of Tales weaves realistic and surreal elements in this adaptation of a 17th century collection of fairy tales by Italian author Giambattista Basile.


Generally regarded as the leading figure of the 6th gen movement of Chinese cinema, Jia Zhangke's films have received critical praise and international acclaim. His films showcase the alienated youth, contemporary Chinese history and globalization, along with his signature use of long takes and pop motifs. His latest offering, Mountains May Depart, tells the story of an estranged couple who break up in the early nineties, an incident that has reverberations on their son in 2025.

MIA MADRE Dir : Nanni Moretti

The veteran filmmaker who is a regular at Cannes and Venice has brought yet another serious yet comic film. Known for his eccentric films (some in which he acts himself) which cater to an almost exclusive European audience (he is best known for Dear Diary and The Son's Room), his latest film is about a director shooting a film while her mother is dying in the hospital. Nanni was also the President of Jury at the Cannes Film Festival 2012.



LOUDER THAN BOMBS Dir : Joachim Trier

Norwegian director Joachim Trier, whose somber Oslo, August 31st portrayed the day in the life of a heroin junkie, had found much praise in 2011's Un Certain Regard section. Trier's latest competition entry Louder Than Bombs, is a New York-set story about a wealthy family reeling from a recent death and counts Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Ryan, David Strathairn and Isabelle Huppert among its cast.

SICARIO Dir : Denis Villeneuve

Accliamed Canadian director Denis Villeneuve (previously directed Prisoners and Enemy) will compete in Cannes this year with his star-studded English-language project Sicario. The drug-trafficking drama stars Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin and Emily Blunt as members of a government task force trying to take down the brutal head of a Mexican drug cartel.

THE SEA OF TREES Dir : Gus Van Sant

Bringing more star power at this year's festival, Gus Van Sant is back in competition after 8 years (Paranoid Park was his last film to compete) with a drama-mystery starring Matthew McConaughey, Ken Watanabe and Naomi Watts. The veteran American director has previously won the Palme d'Or in 2003 for Elephant. The Sea Of Trees is an enigmatic tale of a suicidal American meeting a Japanese in Aokigahara (also known as Suicide Forest).

YOUTH Dir : Paolo Sorrentino

Italian director Paolo Sorrentino's is back with an English language film titled Youth starring veterans Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel. Sorrentino's extravagant and stylish love letter to Rome The Great Beauty didn't pick up anything at the Croisette in 2013, but it did win the Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film.

The Newbies

SON OF SAUL Dir : Laszlo Nemes

Laszlo Nemes is perhaps best known for assisting legendary modern cinema director Bela Tarr. Already popular in the international circuit of short films (his short film With A Little Patience featured at Venice International Film Festival 2007), the Hungarian director is also the only first time filmmaker in this year's competition, though at least he made the cut with a compelling project: Son Of Saul is a Holocaust drama about an Auschwitz prisoner who comes up with a scheme to save his adopted son.

MACBETH Dir : Justin Kurzel

Australian director Justin Kurzel is entering the competition with Shakespeare's Macbeth starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cortillard. Kurzel is also signed up for the film adaptation of blockbuster game Assassin's Creed, so it is no surprise that Macbeth is his ticket to the big league.

MON ROI Dir : Maiwenn

Actor turned director Maiwenn's last outing behind the camera, Polisse (check out the trailer below) outing brought her heaps of acclaim including the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes 2011 so it's no secret that the festival runners are looking forward to her latest film. Mon Roi stars Vincent Cassel and Emmanuelle Bercot, a woman who is more well known as a director than an actress, and on top of its pedigree, sounds like an intriguing followup from the impressive Maiwenn.

A SIMPLE MAN Dir : Stephen Brize

Lesser known than most of his contemporaries in the list, French director Stephen Brize's has finally entered the spotlight with A Simple Man. A third collaboration with his favorite actor Vincent London, it tells the tale of a newly appointed security guard who is asked to spy on his various colleagues.

THE VALLEY OF LOVE Dir: Guillaume Nicloux

Best known in the for his work in French cinema and television (and for starting the theater company La Troupe), Guillaume Nicloux is entering the competition with The Valley Of  Love. What is to be noted is that Nicloux has been in the spotlight since his last two features The Nun (about a young girl who is forced by her parents to become a nun) and The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq  (The kidnapping of French author Michel Houellebecq by three amateur criminals) and his latest tale (about a seperated couple who receive a letter asking them to visit five places at Death Valley, which will make their dead son reappear) could very well be his big ticket to the international markets.


MARGUERITE ET JULIEN Dir: Valerie Donzelli

Valerie Donzelli fourth feature film is also her first to enter in competition at Cannes. Marguerite and Julien is an incest drama about two siblings who flee the society to pursue their affair. Interestingly, the film takes its inspiration from a 1971 project that Francois Truffaut once tried to make years ago.

With brothers Joel and Ethan Coen judging the competition this year (check out the full list of films in competition here), Cannes Film Festival 2015 that begins on May 13 will surely be an event to look forward to.


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