"The Nymphomaniac" (dir. Lars von Trier)
Cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Shia LaBeouf, Uma Thurman, Jamie Bell
Even aside from the whole persona non grata that resulted after his ill-advised comments while promoting "Melancholia" at the festival two years ago (and there have been some suggestions that Lars von Trier's work is still welcome at the festival, just not so much the filmmaker himself), it's very unlikely that von Trier's latest will be on the Croisette this year, for the principal reason that it's not ready: the film's producer indicated that the two-part movie just wouldn't be prepared in time to screen for contention. Will they hold on for Cannes 2014? Or will we see it at another festival this year?
"Gravity" (dir. Alfonso Cuarón)
Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
It's one of the most eagerly anticipated premieres of the year, and of course we've all got our fingers crossed that Alfonso Cuarón's space adventure premieres as soon as May. But given that Warners are releasing the film in October, they again probably don't want such a major gap. If they go the festival route (which they're likely to do), Telluride or Venice (where "Children of Men" got its premiere) are better bets, or perhaps TIFF where the WB unspooled the similarly ambitious "Cloud Atlas." It'd be a real coup if it worked out for Cannes, but the chances are slim.
"Venus In Fur" (dir. Roman Polanski)
Cast: Emanuelle Seigner, Mathieu Amalric
Roman Polanski is one for two when it comes to the Palme d'Or – he lost for "The Tenant," but won for "The Pianist" a little over a decade ago. However, we'd be surprised if the filmmaker were at the festival, in or out of competition, with his latest, "Venus In Fur." He only wrapped the film earlier this year, and even though it's a two-hander, it'd be a swift turnaround for a film that might get more attention at Venice or TIFF. It's not totally impossible, but we think the festival will be Polanski-free this year.
Also Worth Mentioning: If Ron Howard's "Rush" goes the festival route, it's more likely to be at Venice or Telluride, given its September release date, though he has been very busy in post, frequently tweeting pictures of late. Meanwhile, Spike Jonze has generally skipped the festival circuit with his previous work, and we're not sure that's going to change with new film "Her" starring Joaquin Phoenix. The same probably goes for "Night Moves," the new film from Kelly Reichardt; while "Wendy & Lucy" was at the festival a few years back, she'd be hard pushed to get the film ready on time. One film to watch in the Directors' Fortnight section might be the Ben Whishaw-starring "Lilting," while Hossein Amini's "The Two Faces Of January" could figure somewhere in the line-up as well, though TIFF is more likely. -Oliver Lyttelton, Kevin Jagernauth