Cast: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Ben Foster, Nate Parker
The festival has a habit in recent years of plucking one buzz film from the Sundance line-up and placing it in the Un Certain Regard section – "Precious," "Blue Valentine," "Martha Marcy May Marlene" and "Beasts of the Southern Wild" have all followed this route. As such, while there are other possibilities ("Fruitvale" probably the most notable), the smart money's on "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" being the one from the 2013 crop. It probably has had the most wildly positive reviews, and seems the most in tune with the sidebar's tastes. And most notably, while a plethora of acclaimed Sundance films hit SXSW this month, 'Bodies' wasn't one of them. But will Cannes have their eyes on something else instead?
"Grace of Monaco" (dir. Olivier Dahan)
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth, Derek Jacobi, Frank Langella, Paz Vega
The French Riviera setting and delve into cinematic history of this biopic of Grace Kelly make it a natural fit for a Cannes premiere to some degree, but filming only got underway in November, so it's a tight turnaround. And our gut is that the film will probably be too conventional for a Competition slot, and moreover, it just feels more tailormade for a Venice, Telluride or TIFF. But last year Harvey Weinstein started awards season buzz at Cannes for "The Master," "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Django Unchained" with a sizzle reel presentation, and we could very well at least see footage pop up in that context.
"The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby" (dir. Ned Benson)
Cast: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Isabelle Huppert, Viola Davis, Bill Hader
Between "Take Shelter," "The Tree of Life," "Madagascar 3" and "Lawless," Jessica Chastain can make a pretty sincere claim to being the Queen of Cannes in the last few years. She's not quite so omnipresent this year, but it's always possible that she could be back again with the linked double-feature "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: His" and "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Hers." American indies from first time directors tend to come to Cannes via Sundance, but the concept is ambitious enough, and the cast (also including Isabelle Huppert) strong enough, that it could figure into the line up. And "Che" proved in 2008 that two-part films can still make the competition (though we suspect that Director's Fortnight or Un Certain Regard are more likely for this one if it gets in).
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Noah Taylor, Yasmin Paige, Wallace Shawn
2011's "Submarine" marked the arrival of not just a fresh new comic voice in director Richard Ayoade, but also someone who really had his cinephile bonafides. And it's likely that his follow-up, an adaptation of Dostoyevsky's novel, will appeal even more to the higher-minded film fan and festival programmer, so could certainly figure in to the lineup. Given that Ayoade's a Cannes newcomer, it's probably more likely to be in a sidebar, but the film wrapped long ago, and seems like it could be up Cannes' street. Then again, a TIFF bow is equally likely.
"Goodbye to Language 3D" (dir. Jean-Luc Godard)
Cast: Heloise Godet, Jessica Erickson, Zoe Bruneau, Kamel Abdeli, Dimitri Basil
Jean-Luc Godard's relationship to Cannes has always been a touch strained. The festival rejected "Breathless," didn't let him in the official competition until 1980, and the director didn't even turn up when "Film Socialisme" screened there in 2010. But that certainly doesn't rule out his latest film from making an appearance, particularly as it marks the New Wave legend's first effort in 3D. Early synopses (which include a talking dog, of sorts) suggest that the film might be more accessible than anything we've seen from the filmmaker in a while, as does the fact that Fox have picked up the U.S. rights to the film. Accessible being, of course, a relative term. Anyway, you never know with Godard, but this is a definite possibility.