The 67th annual Festival de Cannes will start May 14th and go through May 25th. This is the second festival to Sundance that may potentially reveal to us some of the best films of 2014.
Many great filmmakers have films in competition this year for the Palme d’Or. 18 films are in competition and, at this point, it looks like it could be anyone’s game. Here’s a brief history for the last five winners:
2013 – “Blue is the Warmest Colour”
2012 – “Amour”
2011 – “The Tree of Life”
2010 – “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives”
2009 – “The White Ribbon”
Michael Haneke’s “Amour” went on to earn both Picture and Director Oscar nominations as did Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life.” It could be a dark horse or a film already buzzing this year, so we’ve compiled and ranked what we think will stand-out this year and included a brief synopsis of each film so that you can make your own predictions.
Here are our predictions:
1. Winter Sleep (dir. Ceylan)
From Nuri Bilge Ceylan, a Turkish director who brought us “Once Upon a Time In Anatolia” is a story about an actor turned hotel owner. As he drifts away from his wife and daughter he decides to leave his job and start writing. This drama is set in Turkey and at 196 minutes it is the longest film in competition this year. Ceylan has not made a bad film, at least not according to critics who have raves his past works. And with the trailer, this film looks bolder than the plot gives it credit.
It’s been two years since Michel Hazanavicius went from relatively unknown director to winning his Oscar for “The Artist.” This year his new film “The Search” will be premiering in competition at Cannes. The film is about a woman who works for an NGO who forms a special relationship with a young boy in war-torn Chechnya. The film stars Hazanavicius’ wife Berenice Bejo alongside Annette Bening. Everything about this sounds promising, from the cast/crew involved to the size-and-scope of the plot.
3. Foxcatcher (dir. Miller)
This film has been on everyone’s radar since the beginning of 2013. Oscar-Nominated director Bennett Miller (“Capote,” “Moneyball”) directs the real-life story of Olympic wrestling champion Mark Schultz and how paranoid schizophrenic John DuPont killed his brother, Olympic Champion Dave Schultz. What’s really got the buzz going is comedian Steve Carell being placed abnormally in a very dark and transformative role. Could be a winner, and from the trailer the film looks like it can be an Oscar contender with or without the Palme d’Or.
Timothy Spall has been on many prognosticator’s short list as best actor of 2014 for his portrayal of British artist J.M.W. Turner in this biopic directed by Mike Leigh. Leigh has had a great resume including Oscar-nominated films “Another Year,” “Happy-Go-Lucky,” and “Vera Drake.” Do some research on the life of Turner and it’s easy to see that this life-story could make for a strong period film.
5. The Homesman (dir. Jones)
This was originally going to be much lower on the list given that Tommy Lee Jones’ previous film “The Three Burials of Melqulades” didn’t do as well at Cannes almost a decade ago. But the project seems so promising from the bombastic new trailer to the A-list ensemble including Tommy Lee Jones himself alongside Hilary Swank, Meryl Streep, John Lithgow, Tim Blake Nelson, James Spader, William Fichtner, Jesse Plemons, and Hailee Steinfeld.
6. Jimmy’s Hall (dir. Loach)
Director Ken Loach adapts a play about political activist Jimmy Gralton and his deportation from Ireland during the ‘Red Scare’ of the 1930s. Loach previously won the Palme d’Or in 2006 for “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” so he is no strange to the festival. This trailer is also very good and displays a buzz-worthy performance from Barry Ward.
7. Map to the Stars (dir. Cronenberg)
Anytime David Cronenberg is on the slate you better pay attention. “Map to the Stars” released a bizarre, almost Lynchian, trailer earlier last month with the announcement that it would be in competition at Cannes. The film has a strong ensemble including big names such as Robert Pattinson, Julianne Moore, Mia Wasiwowska, Carrie Fisher, and John Cusack. Cronenberg’s recent films “Cosmopolis” and “A Dangerous Method” made critics very divisive, so there is a strong chance this film could also lean that way.
8. Deux Jours, Une Nuit (Two Days, One Night) (dir. Dardenne, Dardenne)
This French film stars Academy Award Winner Marion Cotillard as a woman who has a weekend to convince her colleagues to give up their bonuses so that she can keep her job. Directed by Belgian duo Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne who previously brought us “The Kid with the Bike.” The film looks like it can easily be hit.
9. Relatos Salvajes (Wild Tales) (dir. Szifron)
This is writer/director Damian Szifron’s first film to be up for the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Szifron is known for creating several popular Argentinian television series’ including “Los Simuladores” and “Hermanos & Detectives.” It is said to be a comedy similar to Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts,” and I’m sure festival-goers will find the break from dramatic films refreshing.
Andrey Zvyagintsev’s new film is about present day social drama spanning multiple characters about a human insecurity in a “new country” which gradually unwinds to a mythological scale concerning the human condition on Earth entirely. The film sounds ambitious and Zvyagintsev has proven himself before at Cannes, winning the Un Certain Regard – Special Jury Prize in 2011 for “Elena.”
This Japanese film comes from director Naomi Kawase. She has been nominated for the Palme d’Or previously for “Sharasoju,” “Mogari no Mori,” (which won the Grand Prize of the Festival), and “Hanezu no Tsuki.” Maybe fourth time is a charm? The movie is set on the island of Amami Oshima and is themed around people’s coexistence with nature as life and death are intertwined. The plot details, at this time, don’t get anymore specific than that.
A notable bullet on Olivier Assayas’ resume may be that he helped write 2006’s “Paris, je t’aime.” The French writer/director now brings us a story about an actress and her assistant. Attached to this film is a couple of big names including Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, and Chloe Grace Moretz.
13. Le Meraviglie (The Wonders) (dir. Rohrwacher)
Writer/Director Alice rohrwacher is taking a step back from documentaries and documentary shorts to create a drama. The Swiss film is about a 14-year-old girl living in the Umbrian countryside with her dysfunctional family. Everything changes with the arrival of Martin, a young German criminal on a rehab programme. The trailer seems to be artsy and all over the place. This is one of the more unpredictable films in competition, so watch out for it.
Director Abderrahman Sissako brings us a story about a real-life 2012 stoning of a young unmarried couple by Islamists. The story goes that the couple was brought to the center of town, placed in holes, and stoned to death in front of hundreds of watchers. This has a lot of potential given the subject matter.
A NSFW trailer can be found here. Jean-Luc Godard has made quite a name for himself in film history. His first feature was the classic film-noir “Breathless” in 1960. It has been four years since his last film “Film Socialism.” It is hard to tell what exactly this film is about given a bizarre official synopsis. Supposedly it’s about a talking dog that intervenes between a man and woman who no longer speak the same language. Just, watch the trailer, it looks like a complete mess, if it wasn’t for Godard’s name being attached it would be much further down the list.
16. The Captive (dir. Egoyan)
Adam Egoyna (“Devil’s Knot,” “Chloe,” “Adoration”) directs and co-writes this thriller. From the trailer we can gather that it is a story about a kidnapping that goes beyond the norm when surveillance cameras are discovered in the family’s home. The film stars Ryan Reynolds dusting off some of his dramatic-acting talent along with Rosario Dawson, Scott Speedman, and Mireille Enos. It’s also worth nothing that the film’s score is being composed by 2011 Oscar-Winner Mychael Danna (“Life of Pi.”)
Bonello’s new film is a biopic about Yves Saint Laurent, a French fashion designer who died of brain cancer in 2008. The film opened in France in January and received moderately positive reviews. It lands so low on the list not because it will be one of the worst, but because ‘moderately positive’ won’t ear you the Palme d’Or.
Director Xavier Dolan brings us a film about a widowed single mother who is raising a son that is prone to violence and how she finds hope once a neighbor inserts herself into their life. At this time not much is known about the film, even though it lands at the bottom of our list it could still easily be the underdog of the festival and win the Palme d’Or.