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15 films we can’t wait to see at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival

Woody Allen, Pixar, Michael Fassbender and Cate Blanchett will all be making an appearance this year at the world’s most famous film festival

By Dave Calhoun and Tom Huddleston

1. Irrational Man

Film Drama

Director: Woody Allen

Now 79, Woody is back on the Croisette with his second film in a row to star Emma Stone (after last year’s Riviera-set ‘Magic in the Moonlight’). Stone joins Joaquin Phoenix in a story of a philosophy professor who falls for his younger student (Stone) – a not-unfamiliar theme. Rumours are flying that it’s a light murder mystery but the filmmakers are keeping schtum for now. ‘Irrational Man’ will play out of competition at the festival, as is Woody’s wont.

2. The Tale of Tales

Film Fantasy

Director: Matteo Garrone

The Italian filmmaker behind ‘Gomorrah’ and ‘Reality’ brings together an international cast including Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, John C Reilly and Toby Jones for this new spin on an Italian fairytale. At the Cannes launch, festival director Thierry Frémaux compared the style of the film to Garrone’s late, great compatriot Federico Fellini. The film will compete for the Palme d’Or.


3. The Lobster

Film Comedy

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Now in the running for his first Palme d’Or, Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos first caught our eye in 2009 with ‘Dogtooth’, a deliciously dark and comic parable of family life. ‘The Lobster’ is his first international work. It stars Colin Farrell, Léa Seydoux and Rachel Weisz and suggests a near-future world where single people have to find a partner in 45 days or be turned into wild animals. Consider us intrigued!

4. My Mother

Film Drama

Director: Nanni Moretti

Italian filmmaker Nanni Moretti won the Palme d’Or at Cannes with 2001’s ‘The Son’s Room’, and his films such as ‘We Have a Pope’ and ‘The Caiman’ frequently play at the festival. His latest is a personal drama, the story of a film director (played by Margherita Buy) who is struggling to cope with her mum’s terminal illness while making a new film.


5. Louder than Bombs

Film Drama

Director: Joachim Trier

Jesse Eisenberg, Isabelle Huppert and Gabriel Byrne star in the first English-language film from Norwegian filmmaker Joachim Trier (‘Oslo, August 31st’, ‘Reprise’), who is competing for the Palme d’Or for the first time. The story is about a war photographer (Huppert) whose family discover secrets about her after her death, when an exhibition is mounted of her work.

6. Mountains May Depart

Film Drama

Director: Jia Zhangke

This three-part story from Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke imagines what happens to a Chinese couple and their family over several decades – with the final episode set in Australia in the near future. Jia was last at Cannes in 2013 with ‘A Touch of Sin’ (which won the festival’s screenplay prize), and his previous films include ‘24 City’ and ‘Still Life’. The film will compete for the Palme d’Or.


7. Dheepan

Film Drama

Director: Jacques Audiard

French director Jacques Audiard makes films designed to wrestle you to the ground with their heavily emotional masculinity (‘A Prophet’, ‘Rust and Bone’). His latest is the story of a Tamil fighter who flees Sri Lanka and ends up working on the edges of the French capital. As Cannes artistic director Thierry Frémaux pointed out when announcing this year’s line-up, ‘Dheepan’ features no known actors and remains a working title (so hold the pizza jokes!).

8. The Assassin

Film Drama

Director: Hou Hsiao-Hsien

Chinese writer-director Hou Hsiao-Hsien is a Cannes regular, and films such as ‘The Puppetmaster’ and ‘Flight of the Red Balloon’ have won major awards at international festivals including Venice and Berlin. His latest, ‘The Assassin’, sits in the competition for the Palme d’Or and marks an unexpected shift into martial-arts territory. It’s based on an eighth-century legend about a young girl who is kidnapped by nuns and learns to defend herself using kung-fu and magic tricks. Sounds wild and wonderful to us.


9. Amy

Film Documentaries

Director: Asif Kapadia

When London’s great soul singer Amy Winehouse died of an overdose in 2011, a documentary about her life, work and decline was inevitable. It could have been a trashy, exploitative exposé – but thanks to British director Asif Kapadia, whose ‘Senna’ was one of the most impressive and successful docs of recent years, that’s no longer a worry. The film centres around interviews with Winehouse’s family and close friends. Expect to shed tears.

10. Mad Max: Fury Road

Film Action and adventure

Director: George Miller

Max is back! He may have a different face – British star Tom Hardy has stepped into Mel Gibson’s scuffed desert boots – but expect this new ‘Mad Max’ movie to hew close to the template set by director George Miller’s 1979 original: mayhem, mutants and murder on the roads. This time around, Max is hired to chaperone a bus full of terrified women through the outback, with a pack of petrolhead crazies on their trail.


11. Inside Out

Film Animation

Director: Pete Docter

One of this year’s most high-profile out-of-competition slots goes to the new movie from ‘Up’ and ‘Monsters, Inc.’ director and all-round animation genius Pete Docter. Bucking Pixar’s recent trend for sequels and adaptations, it’s an original story exploring the inner workings of a young girl’s mind, in which her different emotions – Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust – are represented as cartoon figures constantly bickering and struggling for dominance.

12. Youth

Film Drama

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Following his Oscar-winning masterpiece ‘The Great Beauty’ in 2013, it was almost inevitable that Italian director Paolo Sorrentino’s next movie would premiere in competition at Cannes. Set in a health spa in the Swiss Alps, it’s the story of a group of old friends – played by a largely English-speaking cast including Michael Caine, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano and Jane Fonda – who meet to bathe, drink and look back over their lives. The trailer is stunning, so expect visual sumptuousness and psychological rigour in roughly equal measure.


13. Macbeth

Film Adaptation

Director: Justin Kurzel

Director Justin Kurzel makes his Cannes competition debut with a new adaptation of Shakespeare’s brooding Highland tragedy. Kurzel’s debut, ‘Snowtown’, was a ferocious Aussie serial killer movie, so expect him to get right to the dark heart of the drama. Michael Fassbender stars as the titular general, with Marion Cotillard perfectly cast as his scheming wife. A strong, largely British cast is rounded out by the likes of Paddy Considine and David Thewlis.

TWC/Killer Films

14. Carol

Film Drama

Director: Todd Haynes

This is perhaps the film we’re most looking forward to in this year’s Cannes competition. ‘Carol’ marks the long-awaited return of ‘Far From Heaven’ director Todd Haynes, who hasn’t released a film in cinemas since 2007’s ‘I’m Not There’ (though he did make ‘Mildred Pierce’ for TV). Adapted from a Patricia Highsmith novel, ‘Carol’ stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as two working women in 1950s New York who meet and fall in love, but are forced to keep their relationship a secret.


15. Our Little Sister

Film Drama

Director: Hirokazu Koreeda

Japanese master filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda might be the best director of young actors working today: films like ‘Nobody Knows’ and ‘I Wish’ have explored childhood and adolescence with grace, wit and extraordinary emotional depth. His latest, ‘Our Little Sister’, returns to similar territory, as a shy 13-year-old girl meets her grown-up siblings for the first time at the funeral of their father. Expect joy, sadness and insight in spades. Once again, Koreeda competes for the Palme d’Or.

More on Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Film Festival, red carpet
© Andrea Raffin

Cannes Film Festival


The Cannes Film Festival is one of the world’s leading celebrations of film, in which roughly 20 films go head to head each year to compete for the prestigious Palme d’Or. Find out the latest news and reviews of all the big films as and when we have them. Salut!


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