The Cannes Film Festival begins today, and so it's another 11 days of sun and palm trees and red carpet glamour... and some film premieres of course! This year's festival has been dominated by, amongst things, a wave of Americana, a snub of female directors, R Patz and Kristen Stewart turning up - not for Twilight of course! - and Matthew McConaughey having two films In Competition - yes, TWO films!
For my picks this year I've gone for 10 films across the Cannes sections In Competition and Un Certain Regard, and also a couple of choices from the Director's Fortnight and International Critics' Week, which run alongside the main festival. Plus I've thrown in some other culturemouse recommendations, too. Keep an eye out on Facebook over the next few days for emerging reviews and reaction and the all important winners a week on Sunday.
Top 10 at Cannes 2012
Antiviral - Un Certain Regard
Caleb Landry Jones, Sarah Gadon, Malcolm McDowell
A clinician (Landry Jones) sells viruses taken from famous celebrities to their most die-hard fans in this original sci-fi thriller from Brandon Cronenberg, son of David (who also has a film showcasing at the festival - below!)
Cosmopolis - In Competition
Dir: David Cronenberg
Robert Pattinson, Paul Giamatti, Juliette Binoche, Samantha Morton
Probably the hottest talked about film of the festival, Cronenberg Snr looks to be back on full blown form with Cosmopolis, an adaptation of Don DeLillo's book about a millionaire (Pattinson) who takes a somewhat unusual journey through a somewhat unusual Manhattan. Check out the trailer below.
Ernest and Celestine - Director's Fortnight
Dir: Stephane Aubier, Vincent Patar, Benjamin Renner
Lambert Wilson, Dominique Maurin, Anne-Marie Loop
Slightly hidden away in the Director's Fortnight selection I came across this cute looking film, based on the series of novels by Gabrielle Vincent about a friendship between a bear and a mouse. Mouse films are always a shoo-in. Then I saw it was directed by the team behind A Town Called Panic - automatic win!
Laurence Anyways - Un Certain Regard
Dir: Xavier Dolan
Melvil Poupaud, Nathalie Baye, Yves Jacques, Monia Chokri
IT'S THE NEW FILM FROM XAVIER DOLAN! Need I say anymore? My favourite new director is something to shout about, and two years on from Heartbeats, his new film also finds its way into the Un Certain Regard section. Laurence of the title is struggling with love after he undergoes a sex change. The trailer is just dreamy.
Love - In Competition
Dir: Michael Haneke
Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva
Michael Haneke's latest work promises to be a slightly less uncomfortable affair than previous Cannes entries The Piano Teacher and Hidden, but still close in tone to the 2009 Palme d'Or winner The White Ribbon. Elderly couple Anne and Georges are put to the test when Anne suffers a stroke, paralysing the left side of her body.
Mud - In Competition
Dir: Jeff Nichols
Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Michael Shannon, Sarah Paulson
Not only is this the new Jeff Nichols film (and one of the McConaughey vehicles), but it also has the Michael Shannon presence ala last year's amazing Take Shelter so this is one of the most exciting films at Cannes this year for me. Mud centres on two young boys who discover a fugitive and make a pact to help him escape his bounty hunters. Clips here.
The Paperboy - In Competition
Dir: Lee Daniels
Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack
Based on the 1995 novel by Pete Dexter, the second of McConaughey's films is about two brothers who start investigating a murder case which has left a man on death row. Watch a clip below.
Rust & Bone - In Competition
Dir: Jacques Audiard
Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts, Bouli Lanners
A dark love story between a man (Schoenaerts) who falls in love with a woman (Cotillard), a killer whale trainer who suffers a horrific accident. Based on the short story collection by Craig Davidson, and from the director of A Prophet. Watch the English trailer below.
Sightseers - Director's Fortnight
Dir: Ben Wheatley
Steve Oram, Alice Lowe
After the sheer WTF-ness of last year's Kill List, Ben Wheatley has soared up the industry ladder, bagging a spot in Director's Fortnight for his new - and still darkly comic - film Sightseers, about a caravanning couple whose idyllic trip in the British countryside takes a sinister turn.
The We and The I - Director's Fortnight
Dir: Michel Gondry
Joe Mele, Meghan Murphy, Alex Barrios
If we can pretend Michel Gondry's last film The Green Hornet never happened, then his next film is back in safe territory: a group of high school students take their last bus journey home from school before the start of the Summer holidays (and quirky magic ensues). The trailer was released a few days ago in the lead up to its Cannes premiere:
A few others of note that get the seal of approval by culturemouse:
Moonrise Kingdom (Opening Film) - Wes Anderson
Holy Motors - Leos Carax
Killing Them Softly - Andrew Dominik
Reality - Matteo Garrone
Lawless - John Hillcoat
The Taste of Money - Im Sang-Soo
You Haven't Seen Anything Yet - Alain Resnais
The Hunt -Thomas Vinterberg
UN CERTAIN REGARD
Mystery - Lou Ye
Room 237 - Rodney Ascher
La Sirga - William Vega
INTERNATIONAL CRITICS WEEK
Broken - Rufus Norris
This year's jury will be headed by Italian director Nanni Moretti (The Son's Room, We Have A Pope), who will be helped out by film royalty such as Andrea Arnold, Diane Kruger, Ewan McGregor and Alexander Payne, with British actor Tim Roth looking after the Un Certain Regard duties.
Who will win the Palme d'Or 2012? Answers on a sexy postcard!