“The Rover” (dir. David Michod)
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Guy Pearce, Scoot McNairy, David Field, Anthony Hayes
Not every filmmaker can be a returning face at Cannes—everyone needs to make their Croisette debut at some point. One of the most likely to be headed to the South of France this year would appear to be Australian filmmaker David Michod, who announced himself as a major talent with “Animal Kingdom” a few years back. His latest, a moody post-apocalyptic Western with some serious star power attached, looks like potential Cannes territory, has been gently rumored for a while, and appears to be perfectly timed — it shot in January 2013, already has a teaser trailer out there, and will be released in the U.S. by A24 in July.
“Le Rancon De La Gloire (The Price Of Glory)” (dir. Xavier Beauvois)
Cast: Benoit Poelvoorde, Chiara Mastroianni, Peter Coyote, Nadine Labaki, Dolores Chaplin
Actor-turned-director Xavier Beauvois has figured into the festival many times (he appeared in “House Of Tolerance” and “A Villa In Italy” in recent years), but his greatest success at the festival came in 2010, with “Of Gods And Men” — the austere drama about French monks in Algeria won the Grand Prix at the festival, where Beauvois had also taken the Jury Prize in 1995 for “Don’t Forget You’re Going To Die.” His follow-up as a filmmaker seems to be a bit of a change of pace: it’s a dark comedy set in Switzerland in 1977 about two cons who team up to steal the coffin of the recently deceased Charlie Chaplin. Even if it seems like lighter fare, a return to the scene of his prior triumph seems likely.
“Saint Laurent” (dir. Bertrand Bonello)
Cast: Gaspard Ulliel, Lea Seydoux, Louis Garrel, Jeremie Renier, Amira Casar
Like a French Truman Capote, 2014 has seen a pair of dueling biopics of legendary fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent make their way to the screen. A take by Jalil Lespert premiered at Berlin (to middling reviews, including ours), but “Saint Laurent,” while unauthorized, is higher-profile, with a big name cast and Cannes regular Bertrand Bonello (“House Of Tolerance”) at the helm. The film was originally set to debut in May in France, making it something of a dead cert, but was released delayed a few months. Is that to give it more time to build after a Croisette premiere, or a sign that it won’t be ready for the festival?
“The Cut” (dir. Fatih Akin)
Cast: Tahar Rahim, George Georgiou, Akin Gazi
Writer/director Akin already is a Cannes favorite--he won the screenplay prize in 2007 for the immensely touching “The Edge of Heaven” (the second part of his thematic “Love, Death and the Devil” trilogy that “The Cut” will conclude) and last year he screened his documentary “Polluting Paradise.” Beyond that, the film’s star, Tahar Rahim is himself no stranger to the Croisette, having two films there last year, and here taking on a Chaplin/Sergio Leone-influenced role in which he apparently doesn’t speak a word. So a competition slot is very likely here, and though plot details are thin, with that intriguing-sounding role, Rahim could well be a contender for an acting prize too. Update 4.15.14: Akin has evidently pulled the film from the festival, so you can count it out. You can read some of the speculative rumors as to why, here.
“The Search” (dir. Michel Hazavanicius)
Cast: Berenice Bejo, Annette Bening
The surprise sensation of the 2011 festival, “The Artist” proved to be an enormous crowd-pleaser, was snapped up by Harvey Weinstein, and went on to win Best Picture, Director and Actor at the Oscars. As such, all eyes will be on the festival this year to see if helmer Michel Hazavanicius can repeat the trick with his follow-up, a remake of Fred Zinnnemann’s 1948 wartime weepie “The Search,” updated to be set in present-day Chechnya, and starring “The Artist”’s Berenice Bejo. The film began shooting last August, giving Hazavanicius just enough room to get it ready for the festival. Could Bejo even repeat her Best Actress win from last year’s “The Past”?
“Two Days, One Night” (dir. Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardennes)
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione
Belgian writer-directors Dardenne Brothers are such Cannes mainstays that we’re surprised no one’s named a street after them so far: every one of their films since 1999’s “Rosetta” has premiered at the festival, and they’ve in the very small club of those who’ve won the Palme D’Or twice (for “Rosetta” and 2005’s “The Child”). Could they become the first to take the prize for the third time? Their latest, which sees them work with megastar Marion Cotillard, who plays a woman trying to convince colleagues to give up their bonuses so she can keep her job, seems as potent as ever, and having shot in June last year, it’s basically a dead cert to be at the festival.
“Jimmy’s Hall” (dir. Ken Loach)
Cast: Barry Ward, Simone Kirby, Andrew Scott, Brian O’Byrne, Jim Norton
Not every Ken Loach film has premiered at Cannes, but in the last twenty-five years, it’s been very rare for them to go anywhere else. That era looks to be coming to an end, as “Jimmy’s Hall” is said to be the last narrative feature from the veteran British director. As such, the film, about an Irish communist leader who returns to Dublin in 1932 to reopen his dance hall, is basically a lock for the festival this year, especially with a UK release date of May 30th already set. Could Loach cap his career with a second Palme D’Or? It’d certainly be a fitting tribute to a great filmmaker…
“The Blue Room” (dir. Mathieu Amalric)
Cast: Mathieu Amalric, Lea Drucker, Stephanie Cleau
Thanks to his Bond villainy, and collaborations with directors as diverse as Julian Schnabel, Steven Spielberg and Wes Anderson, Mathieu Amalric is a familiar face on screen even to those who shy away from subtitled fare. In the U.S, his directing career is less well known, but he’s certainly getting there: his last film, “On Tour,” won him Best Director at Cannes in 2010. As such, it seems safe to expect a return trip with his new one, a sexually-charged thriller based on a novel by pulp favorite Georges Simenon, the creator of Inspector Maigret, and who’s previously provided the source material for films by Claude Chabrol, Jean-Pierre Melville and Bela Tarr.