“Welcome To New York” (dir. Abel Ferrera)
Cast: Gerard Depardieu, Jacqueline Bisset, Paul Calderon, Amy Ferguson
Abel Ferrera has never been much of a Cannes mainstay—only his 1993 “Body Snatchers” re-do played the festival in competition, and in general the director’s favored Venice premieres for his work. But if the “Bad Lieutenant” helmer ever returns to Cannes, it’d be with his latest—the French may find the temptation of a thinly veiled portrait of disgraced IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned after a number of sexual assault allegations, too much to resist. The film shot over a year ago, and premiered footage for buyers at last year’s festival, so it makes sense that it’d screen in full this time, though we can see it being hosted in a sidebar rather than in the main competition line-up.
“Amour Fou” (dir. Jessica Hausner)
Cast: Christian Friedel, Birte Schnoeink, Stephan Grossmann
Last year’s Cannes drew fire for the paucity of female directors represented (and the sole Competition entry from a woman, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi’s “A Castle in Italy” turned out to be deeply smug) and while this year’s possibles again contain very few, one very good shot has got to go to Jessica Hausner’s follow-up to Venice winner “Lourdes.” Based on the life of dramatist Heinrich von Kleist, that ended in a double suicide with his lover, the film shot back in February of last year, so no doubt it's ready and Hausner is must be hoping to return with it to Cannes for the fourth time--though this may represent her best chance yet to crack into the main competition line-up.
“Winter Sleep” (dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
Cast: Haluk Bilginer, Melisa Sozen and Demet Akbag
Odds are very short on this one, as it shot all the way back in January 2013 and has been primed for a Cannes bow for quite a while now. All but two of Ceylan’s films have premiered in Cannes, and he’s won the Grand Prix twice (for “Uzak” in 2003 and for his last film, 2011’s masterful, brilliant “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia”). To our mind, starting from a very high base Ceylan’s been getting better and better, so not only is this story, of a retired actor cooped up in a hotel with his wife and sister when the winter snows set in, a surefire Cannes inclusion, it’s one we can’t wait to check out too.
“Mr. Turner” (dir. Mike Leigh)
Cast: Timothy Spall, Lesley Manville, Roger Ashton-Griffiths
With a Palme d’Or and a Best Director award already under his belt (for “Secrets and Lies” and “Naked” respectively) any new Mike Leigh movie has got to be a major contender for a Cannes competition slot (he’s been there four times so far, “All or Nothing” and “Another Year” being the other two competition players). And this apparently handsomely-mounted period biopic of artist JMW Turner, which reteams him with Spall and Manville, seems to have been eyeing a Cannes premiere for a while. In fact, while nearest Leigh equivalent “Topsy Turvy” premiered in Venice, it would be a surprise if this one didn’t find a place in Cannes.
“The Normal Heart” (dir. Ryan Murphy)
Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parson, Julia Roberts, Jonathan Groff, Alfred Molina
With TV no longer seen as a second-class medium, Cannes have embraced the premium cable revolution: 2012 saw the premiere of HBO’s “Hemingway And Gellhorn,” while last year saw no fewer than three movies from the network, with “Behind The Candelabra” in competition, and special screenings of “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight” and “Seduced And Abandoned.” The obvious candidate for this slot this time around is “The Normal Heart,” the star-studded adaptation of Larry Kramer’s acclaimed HIV-themed drama from “Glee” and “American Horror Story” director Ryan Murphy. With the movie premiering on HBO on May 25th, the stage seems all but set for this to stop over in Cannes for a premiere first, though following the Liberace film into competition might be a stretch this time.
“Kuime” (dir. Takashi Miike)
Cast: Ko Shibasaki, Hitomi Katayama, Ebizo Ichikawa, Hideaki Ito, Maiko
Cannes isn’t the most genre-friendly festival, necessarily, but Takashi Miike is one of the few able to transcend that: he’s been in competition twice since the beginning of the decade, with 2011’s “Hara-Kiri: Death Of A Samurai” and last year’s “Shield Of Straw.” The prolific Japanese director’s latest is an adaptation of “Yotsuya Kaidan,” arguably the most famous Japanese ghost story, a blood drenched tale of murder, incest and madness. Will it be too much for a return appearance for Miike, only a year after he last graced the festival? Perhaps, but given his current run, and a Japanese release date in August, it’s far from unthinkable.
“Still The Water” (dir. Naomi Kawase)
Cast: Makiko Watanabe, Hideo Sakaki, Jun Murakami, Tetta Sugimoto, Miyuki Matsuda
The sole female director to have won the Palme d’Or, Jane Campion might be heading the jury this year, but once again, the festival looks like it could be very thin on the ground when it comes to films directed by women. But one of the best candidates to break that looks to be Naomi Kawase: the Japanese helmer’s “Suzaku” won the Camera d’Or in 1997, took the Grand Priz for “The Mourning Forest” in 2007, and was in competition with “Hanezu” in 2011. Her latest, about a young couple who find a dead body in the sea, shot last summer, and therefore should be ready with plenty of time to see Kawase return to the Croisette.
“Coming Home” (dir. Zhang Yimou)
Cast: Gong Li, Chen Daoming
The nearest thing we’ve got to an International Superstar Chinese Director, Zhang’s last film, “The Flowers of War” may have been a disappointment, but we expect a return to form (which for Zhang, who directed “Raise the Red Lantern,” “Ju Dou,” “House of the Flying Daggers,” “Hero” and the stunning opening of the Beijing Olympics, is pretty damn high). He’s been to the Cannes competition three times (winning the Grand Prix for “To Live”) and this film, which reteams him with muse Gong Li will very likely make it four--it’s rumored to already be a done deal.The story follows an old man, who’d been sent to a labor camp, as he eventually returns to his family, and presumably sees Zhang work in a more intimate register than some of his epic outings.
“Mommy” (dir. Xavier Dolan)
Cast: Anne Dorval, Suzanne Clement, Antione Olivier-Pilon
French-Canadian wunderkind Dolan (seriously, he’s not even 25 yet) is reportedly currently in post on his next film, and the film’s readiness was really the only question mark we had as to how strong a contender it would be for Cannes inclusion: three of his previous four films have debuted in Cannes, all three won awards in their respective sidebars and last year's "Tom at the Farm" was warmly received out of Venice. This one sees him return to the familiar territory of a fraught mother/child relationship, and also reunites him with the stars of his previous films “I Killed My Mother” and “Laurence Anyways” so assuming the paint is dry, really the question is where it will find a spot in Cannes, rather than if. Perhaps this will be his first time in the main competition?