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The 15 Most Anticipated Films Of The 2014 Cannes Film Festival

by The Playlist Staff
May 12, 2014 3:00 PM
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If movie chatter seems quiet in the next few days, replaced only by the distant sound of frantic packing, printers being cursed at for not spewing out boarding cards, and argumentative scheduling, that's because the world's movie press are in large part decamping to the South of France, because we're now only 48 hours from the start of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. The 67th edition of the world's glitziest, most talked about and arguably most prestigious fest gets underway on Wednesday with opening night film "Grace Of Monaco," and Playlisters Jessica Kiang and Oliver Lyttelton are about to head to the Croisette to bring you all the coverage you could ask for over the next couple of weeks.

As ever, between the Main Competition, various out-of-competition bows and the Un Certain Regard, Critics' Week and Director's Fortnight sidebars, there's a huge amount to catch up on. And so to prepare you for the onslaught of reviews to come from Wednesday onwards, we've picked out fifteen of the films that we're most looking forward to catching at the festival. Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg, and hopefully there'll be more than one "Blue Is The Warmest Color"-style secret sensation to unfold, but there's enough even at this distance that we can't wait to get started. Take a look at our picks below, and let us know what you're most looking forward to in the comments section.

"Clouds Of Sils Maria"
Cast: Juliette Binoche, Chloë Grace Moretz, Kristen Stewart, Johnny Flynn
A successful actress goes into meltdown when a young actress take on the role that made her famous.
What You Need To Know:
Less than two years after his rich coming-of-age tale "Something In The Air" premiered at Venice, and four after "Carlos" screened on the Croisette (though it's a decade since he was last in competition), Gallic helmer Olivier Assayas returns to Cannes for his starriest outing yet. "Summer Hours" star Juliette Binoche reteams with the helmer to take the lead role, in a part that's apparently based on the legendary actress to some degree, while the more surprising picks of Kristen Stewart and Chloë Grace Moretz take key supporting roles. Assayas' films are never dull, and usually of a consistently high quality, though he's certainly taking a gamble with his two young American stars, who've sometimes been criticized for their mannered performances, though both are capable of exceptional work. But Binoche looks to have a doozy of a role, even if the film's still under wraps to the extent that it's unclear what kind of doozy—"All About Eve" is the obvious comparison from the logline, but the reality could turn out to be very different. The last film to screen in Competition, it's certainly one of the ones we're most psyched to check out.

"Winter Sleep."

"Winter Sleep" (dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
Cast: Haluk Bilginer, Demet Akbag, Melisa Sozen
Mostly still under wraps, but it focuses on a hotel owner, a former actor, who leaves his young wife and son as winter approaches.
What You Need To Know
: If there was ever any doubt that Turkey's Nuri Bilge Ceylan was one of the most exciting filmmakers we had, he dispelled it with 2011's "Once Upon A Time In Anatolia," which won him the Grand Prix at Cannes for the second time (he also took Best Director for "Three Monkeys" in 2008), a truly masterful picture that stands as the finest achievement in a career that's yet to truly disappoint. For his follow-up, Ceylan appears, from what little is known about the film, to be stepping away from the light genre elements of 'Anatolia,' though keeping a similar setting, and of course Ceylan's signature austere, formalist tone. Indeed, even by his standards, this looks like a substantial piece of work: the running time clocks in at three hours and sixteen minutes, making it the longest feature in competition by some distance. The film's seen by many as a frontrunner for the Palme d'Or, given that Ceylan's been such a favorite at the festival without ever taking the top prize, and a jury including the likes of Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola and Jia Zhangke could certainly be responsive to something like this. But whether or not it's a serious challenger, we just want to see the damn thing.

"Maps To The Stars" (dir. David Cronenberg)
Cast: Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Mia Wasikowska, Olivia Williams, Robert Pattinson
A twisted Hollywood family—successful self-help magnate Dr. Stafford Weiss and his wife Cristiana, who manages the careers of their burned-out child star kids Agatha and Benjie—come into the orbit of an aspiring actor and a movie star haunted by her dead mother.
What You Need To Know
: Two years on from the premiere of the divisive "Cosmopolis," David Cronenberg and star Robert Pattinson are back on the Croisette with a film that seems in many ways a sort of companion to that Don DeLillo adaptation. Penned by Bruce Wagner, it's a long-gestating passion project for the Canadian director, which finally got before cameras last year, and the chance to see him biting the Hollywood hand that intermittently feeds him is certainly an intriguing one, particularly with a cast like this. We're excited to see what Cronenberg newbies Wasikowska, Moore and Williams come up with, and to see Cusack get something substantial to do. The Hollywood satire genre has a dicey track record, but if anyone can make something closer to "Sunset Boulevard" than "An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn," it's Cronenberg, and early footage has been promising, if very much in the chilly milieu of "Cosmopolis," right down to the limo sex.

"Two Days, One Night" (dir. Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardennes)
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Olivier Gourmet, Fabrizio Rongione, Catherine Salee
A woman who has only one weekend to convince her colleagues they must give up their bonuses in order for her to keep her job.
What You Need To Know:
Associated with the festival more than most filmmakers, the Dardennes are regular fixtures in Competition, and are one of the few filmmakers with two Palme d'Ors to their name, for 1999's "Rosetta" and 2005's "The Child." Their low-key social realism has won them critical plaudits consistently, but their latest should mark an interesting dichotomy, with glamorous, Oscar-winning international megastar Marion Cotillard taking the lead role. Not that they're suddenly going glitzy. This looks to be another tale of life on society's fringes, and seemingly a more obvious response to the economic crisis than their last film, 2011's "The Kid With A Bike." Despite the star quotient (and we're dying to see what Cotillard turns out for the Belgian helmers), this looks very much of a piece with the rest of the Dardennes' output, but it's all to easy to take their consistency for granted, and you could argue that they've never made a bad film, and are unlikely to start here. Expect something bruising and uncompromising, even if the red carpet will be getting more attention this time around.

"Mommy" (dir. Xavier Dolan)
Cast: Antoine-Oliver Pilon, Anne Dorval, Suzanne Clement, Patrick Huard
A widowed mother struggles with controlling her violent son, but receives a lifeline when an enigmatic neighbor inserts herself into the household.
What You Need To Know
: 58 years younger than the oldest helmer in competition (83-year-old Jean-Luc Godard), Xavier Dolan finally makes his Competition debut with his fifth film, and it's a testament to the wunderkind's prodigious rise that many believe that the Québécois helmer should have made it in much sooner. A mere nine months after his excellent thriller "Tom At The Farm" premiered at Venice, Cannes selectors must have felt threatened, because Dolan's in the hunt for the Palme this time. The film seems like it might hang on to some of the genre elements of "Tom At The Farm," but without being such a bold departure, with a number of Dolan's previous collaborators like Dorval and Clement returning to work on this one. There are other holdovers from 'Tom,' though, with DP Andre Turpin returning, which is very welcome news indeed. Will this be, as some have suggested, the culmination of Dolan's career to date? Or a return to the somewhat indulgent work of his last Cannes premiere, "Laurence Anyways"? We're looking forward to finding out either way.

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  • Josiane | May 21, 2014 6:29 PMReply

    I'm surprised, no mention of Timbuktu which has been getting incredible reviews.

  • L.Squire | May 16, 2014 7:06 AMReply

    Atom Egoyan's "The Captive"

  • Noelle | May 15, 2014 8:43 PMReply

    What???? No Godzilla? Your movie list is worthless to me then. Seriously.

  • Matt | May 19, 2014 10:15 PM

    Hope this is a joke....

  • Maggiemae | May 15, 2014 1:19 PMReply

    Do any of you rob lovers realize that none of his movies have made hardly over $1.5 million dollars? The Harry potter movie made alot of money but that was mainly because it was a popular saga and had Daniel Radcliffe & Emma Watson. RP was not the draw for the film. He is not a good actor. There are not that many good actors and actresses in Hollywood. The good more experienced actors are ignored because h/wood is so obsessed with looks and skinny bodies and age. Pattinson's performances have never had good reviews. Of course twilight made billions, it was because of the cast and kristen. I wish them well at Cannes.

  • Oliver | May 19, 2014 2:22 AM

    @Maggiemae, do you realize you make no sense? Today on the red carpet at Cannes, where Pattinson has had TWO successful premieres, the French host announced Rob and said he was "one of the finest actors of his generation." Both The Rover and MTTS have received a majority of good reviews, and Rob's performance has been praised for both films.

    Twilight is in the past. Get over it. He is not defined that that franchise. And both Water for Elephants and Cosmoplis got great reviews. Both films are Fresh on Rottentomatoes. So you can stop lying about him not getting good reviews. And directors like Herzog, Michod, Cronenberg, Gray and Corbjin don't hire bad actors. Grow up.

    And since I know you're really a KStew fan, her last 3 films are Rotten on RT. She got the worst reviews of her life for SWATH, and she derailed the sequel by screwing around in public with the married director. Universal isn't going ahead with the sequel, which is almost unheard of for a studio with a potential hit franchise.

    She also has not one but two Razzies for Worst Actress. And no other awards or even nominations for Oscars or anything else. Given her long career, you would think if she was such a fantastic actress, she would have more to show for it than a string of flop indies and awards for bad acting.

  • Tammi | May 16, 2014 12:22 PM

    @maggiemae...This Rob lover knows you are full of it. You need to go and check your Krisbian stats. KS started acting when she was 9, Rob started acting at 19. With a 10 year head start on acting careers, her accomplishments have been Twilight, which by the way would NEVER have been the hit it was without Rob, SWATH, and, so what's she got on Rob? You're entitled to your opinion, of course, but you've clearly shown your ignorance with your post.

  • ayeshapattinson | May 14, 2014 6:20 AMReply

    I can't wait to see robsten together in cannes . I am sure they both will be coming with good film in theater. Wish you best of luck to their movies .

  • Grego | May 13, 2014 12:55 PMReply

    Yeah, seriously, how is Goodbye to Language not one of the most anticipated?

  • Dustin | May 13, 2014 12:04 PMReply

    It's a very white list. Except for maybe Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Winter Sleep? The entire roster this year is just as dismal for minority filmmakers as any other Cannes year.

  • SUPER | May 13, 2014 11:50 AMReply

    Super White list.

    No surprise, on this website.

  • WFred | May 13, 2014 10:29 AMReply

    I'm actually looking forward to Clouds of Sils Maria the most. I've heard only good things about it and I'm looking forward to the trio of Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, and Chloe Moretz, being directed by the brilliant Olivier Assayas. All very talented women with admirable careers. I don't understand the hostility towards Stewart by some posters on basically every article written about her but I don't think I'll ever understand that. I don't believe in downplaying an almost 13 year old career because of a few bad movies. If that was the case, I would've written off many actors many years ago. But, I digress. If I go any further, I might be accused of being a "twihard."

    Anyway, I can easily see Juliette Binoche winning for Best Actress. Her or Julianne Moore for Maps to The Stars. The Palme d'Or will likely go to Leviathan or Winter Sleep. I can see Best actor going to Mads Mikkelsen for The Salvation. But, then again, I might be biased. Mikkelsen is one of my favorites.

  • my winners | May 13, 2014 9:44 AMReply

    Palme d'Or – Winter Sleep by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
    Grand Prix – The Homesman by Tommy Lee Jones
    Best Director – Andrey Zvyagintsev for Leviathan
    Best Screenplay – Jean-Luc Godard for Goodbye to Language (Just for Honouring the legend)
    Best Actress – Juliette Binoche for Clouds of Sils Maria OR Marion Cotillard for Two Days, One Night
    Best Actor – Gaspard Ulliel for Saint Laurent OR Steve Carell for Foxcatcher
    Jury Prize – Timbuktu by Abderrahmane Sissako

    Prize of Un Certain Regard – Snow in Paradise by Andrew Hulme
    Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize – The Blue Room by Mathieu Amalric
    Un Certain Regard Best Director – Ryan Gosling for Lost River

    Caméra d'Or – Eleanor Rigby by Ned Benson

  • Monty | May 13, 2014 2:33 AMReply

    Adieu au Langage by Godard looks totally amazing, no mention of that one?

  • Simon | May 12, 2014 10:40 PMReply

    Why is there no mention of Asia Argento's new movie "Incompresa" in this list? I am shocked you have a picture of the movie in the header! I don't doubt that some of these other movies look good but it is not every year you get a movie made by cinema royalty! Asia has been in movies since she was a child and has made both blockbusters "XXX" & "Land of the Dead" and critically acclaimed films such as B-Monkey. Her Father, Dario was involved in some of the 60's classic spaghetti westerns not to mention his run of original and influential horror movies of the 70's and 80's. Indeed of it wasn't for Dario's intervention we would not have had "Dawn of the Dead" and all that Romero's initial Living Dead series spawned. I am more than a little shocked that you haven't mentioned her or her movie! Hopefully this post will set things right.

  • Guest | May 12, 2014 8:27 PMReply

    The Rover
    The Homesman

  • Trent | May 12, 2014 8:11 PMReply

    My 5 most anticipated movies at Cannes
    The Rover
    Lost River
    Maps To the Stars
    The Homesman

  • zé | May 12, 2014 7:53 PMReply

    why isn't "Mr. Turner" in the top 15? also, what about "Coming Home" and "Goodbye to Language"?

  • Lorde | May 12, 2014 7:28 PMReply

    @ Truth - I think you forget that Kristen Stewart was around long before Twilight and was working on films like Into The Wild and Adventureland. She has had her big huge star making turn now and has made great choices since then. The first 2 films she did when Twilight ended have both been in competition at Sundance and Cannes - if that isn't impressive then I don't know what is. She is also doing different genres - an action comedy with Jesse Eisenberg that was picked up by Lionsgate for a record 7 equalling million, a Best selling book adaptation with Julianne Moore than deals with a tough subject, a sci-fi(esque) indie with much praised director Drake Doremus and to top it off a part in a Tim Blake Nelson ensemble. All of them have been touted as hot sellers.

  • Sarah | May 13, 2014 10:16 AM

    Sundance is to the United States what Cannes is to France. Do not knock down the Sundance Film Festival to promote your own biased agenda against Kristen Stewart. Getting movies into Sundance is just as big of a deal as getting your film into Cannes or TIFF. Don't be ignorant.

    I'm not a Twi-hard by any means of the word but I've noticed a pattern. Whenever there's a positive comment about Stewart, there are commenters like you who decide to input their unneeded opinion and begin to point out all the bad spots in her long career. You could do that for any actor/actress and make them out to be terrible. The Sundance entry you speak of, Camp X-Ray, might be rotten for the movie itself, but based on the reviews I just looked up, her performance was almost unanimously praised. The movie itself was shoddily made by a first-time director, but her and Maadi's performances were praised. Seems as though you forgot that in your comment.

    A movie about Guantanamo bay will struggle to get worldwide distribution so I'm not sure what your point is in including that. I admire the fact that she had the gall to do such a role knowing that faceless and nameless detractors like you are just waiting to use it against her whenever they want. It's obvious that you're not a fan of hers so why not leave well enough alone.

  • @ Just Sayin aka Copy/Paste Troll | May 13, 2014 9:50 AM

    Stay pressed and obsessed.

  • Just Sayin | May 12, 2014 7:42 PM

    And yet, her only two awards are Razzies for Worst Actress. Too bad her taste in choosing roles is rather limited.

    And Sundance is where indies go to look for distribution, it's not in the same class as Cannes. Plus, her Sundance entry is Rotten on RT and still looking for worldwide distribution, so I wouldn't brag about that if I were you.

  • Jackson | May 12, 2014 7:28 PMReply

    Pattinson’s proved many of his detractors wrong by choosing his post-Twilight roles very carefully, and electing to work with great directors and actors as opposed to just picking cliched blockbusters. It’s funny, but in all honesty, he has a much better shot at the big awards right now than his other Twilight castmates.

    The Rover is a game changer and Maps to the Stars is getting a ton of Cannes buzz.

  • LoMane | May 13, 2014 10:07 AM

    I'm gonna have to disagree with you there, Jackson. While I've heard good things about The Rover and Maps to The Stars, I don't agree that he has much better shot at the big awards more than other Twilight cast mates. I don't believe he has a shot at all. He's going to have to keep working at it and keep working with the kind of directors he's been working with before the Academy can even begin to take him seriously. Two good movies with two okay to good directors does not automatically guarantee awards success.

  • LMAO | May 12, 2014 9:51 PM

    @gemmajamessmith Just watched prescreen of @TheRoverMovie & LOVED it. Thought Pattinson was stunning & all involved should win all awards

    LOL is a troll and mindless hater. Anyone who thinks they know more than Cronenberg, Herzog and Michod is just a fool and can easily be ignored.

  • LOL | May 12, 2014 8:01 PM

    Pattinson will never be a good actor, or even a reasonable actor, no matter who he is working with. Period. Get over it.

  • james | May 12, 2014 7:14 PMReply

    In my opinion Ken Loach's final film deserves more than one sentence here. Have some respect.

  • psg | May 12, 2014 6:57 PMReply

    I see white people!

  • yod | May 12, 2014 11:32 PM

    Thank goodness.

  • Christian | May 12, 2014 6:39 PMReply

    I'm Danish, and the term Frikadeller western is seriously brilliant. Truly.

  • Jesse | May 12, 2014 6:14 PMReply

    LOL Playlist boosting twihard films and begging for clicks again. So cute.

  • LoMane | May 13, 2014 10:03 AM


    Pattinson "fell into" the Twilight franchise? He knowingly auditioned for that movie and knowingly signed the contract for 4 more films. He knew what he was getting into after the first movie and he still proceeded because he knew his career was going nowhere prior to being cast in those movies. He's become ridiculously wealthy as a result and his name can get movies greenlit, which is more than what you could say about him in 2006 or 2007. So I don't feel sorry for him that he has to prove himself outside of the franchise. I don't feel sorry for any of them. That's what you do. Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson are STILL working hard to prove themselves post-Harry Potter even though they're far better actors than RPatz and Kstew. Picking good films is what is expected of him if he wants to stay in this business. It's not something to clap for him or congratulate him for. He should stop being so damn whiny about it too.

  • C | May 12, 2014 10:45 PM

    @LARISSA Cannes accepted Croneneberg, Assayas and Michod. Cronenberg and Assayas has been there before. They accept films based on the quality of the film and the director. Not because some popular actor is in it. Get your facts straight.

  • larissa | May 12, 2014 7:38 PM

    I agree, it's such an obvious move. Cannes just accept their films for the hype and the whole red carpet stupidity. Even Hollywood Reporter have said that.

  • Sam | May 12, 2014 7:34 PM

    You two trolls just show your ignorance and mindless prejudice. Take a tip from Juliette Binoche, who has worked with Pattinson and actually knows him:

    Q. You had a cameo in Cosmopolis, playing Robert Pattison’s art dealer and lover …

    Binoche: "That was great. I was astonished to see how much of a cinephile Robert was, and how ambitious – he wants to produce and has strong views of what he wants to do in the movie world." Source: The Guardian

    Pattinson's talked about how growing up, his dvd collection is filled with the films from Cannes. He fell into the Twilight franchise, he didn't plan on being an overnight sensation. Obviously, by his choice of films post-franchise, he's not interested in cheesy teen tripe, is he?

  • Truth | May 12, 2014 6:39 PM

    If you look back through their archives they were writing about directors O. Assayas and David Cronenberg far before RPatz or Kstew knew who any of those filmmakers were. They just want career rehabilitation now and these directors are happy to give it to them because they know they can mold them out of their terrible acting and moreover, they'll get their movies funded. That's the only reason they're getting cast these days.

  • David R. | May 12, 2014 6:12 PMReply

    The Homesman and Clouds of Sils Maria are my two top most anticipated of the festival. Tommy Lee Jones is quite possibly one of the best actors currently living and Assayas always does good work. Binoche in the lead is promising. Stewart has been good in what I've seen so far sans Twilight though she has yet to astound me with a performance; such is the case with Moretz as well. Hopefully this will be the movie that changes minds.

    I must admit, I was originally surprised to see Tatum and Pattinson's films in the lineup as they have yet to really prove themselves beyond a pretty face, in my opinion, but both Foxcatcher and Maps To The Stars look intriguing so my mind might still be changed.

  • David R. | May 13, 2014 9:54 AM

    @Jordan, Yes you're right about that. While Tatum and Pattinson might not technically be the "stars" of their respective movies, they are the biggest names included in the cast lineup and their names are contributing to the hype their movies are receiving. Maps to The Stars is especially intriguing because it boasts an all-star cast. Moore, Cusack, Wasikowska, and Pattinson. Sounds very promising. But Cronenberg movies tend to be divisive. I guess I'll have to wait and see the reviews first but I have no doubt that it will be well-received, based on what I've seen in the trailers that have been released

  • Jordan | May 13, 2014 5:20 AM

    @C, you might want to take that up with the producers, who have said that the funding for the films came through when Tatum and Pattinson became attached to their respective pictures. Their names can get films greenlit. So in a way, regardless of the size of their parts, it was their participation that got the films made. Hence, "their films."

  • C | May 12, 2014 10:47 PM

    It's not Tatum and Pattinson's films.

  • Eric | May 12, 2014 6:02 PMReply

    Lost River
    The Rover
    The Homesman
    Map to the Stars

  • David | May 13, 2014 9:54 AM

    Apologies, replied to the wrong person.

  • David R. | May 13, 2014 9:54 AM

    @Jordan, Yes you're right about that. While Tatum and Pattinson might not technically be the "stars" of their respective movies, they are the biggest names included in the cast lineup and their names are contributing to the hype their movies are receiving. Maps to The Stars is especially intriguing because it boasts an all-star cast. Moore, Cusack, Wasikowska, and Pattinson. Sounds very promising. But Cronenberg movies tend to be divisive. I guess I'll have to wait and see the reviews first but I have no doubt that it will be well-received, based on what I've seen in the trailers that have been released.

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