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The BFG, Cannes Film Festival 2016

10 films we can't wait to see at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival

From a new Pedro Almodóvar drama to Steven’s Spielberg’s latest, here are the films we're most excited about

By Dave Calhoun

This year's Cannes Film Festival takes place from May 11–22. It’s a highlight of the movie calendar, premiering agenda-setting films that we’ll all be watching and talking about over the next year. The 2016 line-up looks pretty special, with the latest films by heavyweights Woody Allen and Steven Spielberg, plus new work from some of the globe’s most celebrated filmmakers, including Romania’s Cristi Puiu and Britain’s Ken Loach. Here are the 10 movies we’re most looking forward to.

RECOMMENDED: Full coverage of the Cannes Film Festival

Our Cannes Film Festival top ten

1. Julieta

Movies Drama
Director: Pedro Almodóvar

It’s already opened in Spanish cinemas to mixed reviews, but we’re always excited by a new film from the master of knotty, stylish and often outrageous melodramas. His latest spans two periods in the life of one woman; its focus on a female character has earned it comparisons to earlier Almodóvar triumphs like Volver and All About My Mother.

2. The BFG

Movies Fantasy
Director: Steven Spielberg

One of Roald Dahl’s most beloved fairy tales finally makes it to screens in the hands of cinema's greatest big-canvas storyteller. The casting of recent-Oscar-winner Mark Rylance as the friendly giant seriously whets our appetite. We’re excited, too, that the screenwriter is the late Melissa Mathison, who last collaborated with Steven Spielberg on 1983's Twilight Zone: The Movie and before that, E.T.

3. The Unknown Girl

Movies Drama
Directors: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

Surely Belgium’s Dardenne brothers have bought a timeshare in Cannes by now: They’ve premiered six films in competition at the festival over the years and won the Palme d’Or twice, first for Rosetta in 1999 and later for The Child in 2005. Their new film is about a young doctor (Adèle Haenel) who is determined to discover the identity of a dead girl.

4. American Honey

Movies Drama
Director: Andrea Arnold

British director Andrea Arnold premiered her first two features, Red Road and Fish Tank, in competition at Cannes, and her last one was the wild-and-windy literary adaptation Wuthering Heights. American Honey is her first US-shot film, and it tells of a teenage girl who hits the road with a magazine sales team. Typically for Arnold, the cast is virtually unknown, with just one name sticking out: Shia LaBeouf.

5. Café Society

Movies Comedy
Director: Woody Allen

This is the third time that a film by Woody Allen (adored in France) has opened the Cannes Film Festival in a non-competitive slot. It’s true that his recent films have been uneven, but we’re still planning to be there in the front row, fingers crossed and hoping. This one stars Jesse Eisenberg as a young man who arrives in 1930s Hollywood, all green and hopeful to be part of the movie boom. There he meets Kristen Stewart.

6. Loving

Movies Drama
Director: Jeff Nichols

His well-liked sci-fi film Midnight Special is still in theaters, but filmmaker Jeff Nichols has already finished another film: Loving is a drama about an interracial couple who are imprisoned in 1950s Virginia for getting married. Australian actor Joel Edgerton stars as the husband, Richard Loving, while Ethiopian-Irish actress Ruth Negga plays his wife, Mildred.

7. Slack Bay

Movies Drama
Director: Bruno Dumont

French filmmaker Bruno Dumont’s new film gives us an enticing cast and an eye-grabbing premise. Fabrice Luchini, Juliette Binoche and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi star as members of a wealthy family living in a coastal house near a spot where tourists keep disappearing. Another family of blue-collar ferrymen also catches the eye of police investigating the disappearances. Consider us intrigued.

8. It's Only the End of the World

Movies Drama
Director: Xavier Dolan

It’s still hard to talk about Xavier Dolan without mentioning his age: This is his sixth feature film and the French-Canadian filmmaker is still only 27. His latest is an adaptation of a 1990 play by the late French playwright Jean-Luc Lagarce, and the starry cast includes Léa Seydoux, Marion Cotillard and Vincent Cassel. The plot involves a writer who returns to his hometown to announce his imminent death to his family.

9. Elle

Movies Drama
Director: Paul Verhoeven

Dutch director Paul Verhoeven’s career has been relatively quiet of late—this is the man who made RoboCop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Showgirls and Starship Troopers in a busy ten-year period starting in 1987. Is this his comeback? Elle stars French actress Isabelle Huppert as a tough-minded businesswoman who decides to track down a stranger who attacked her in her own home—leading to a dangerous game played between the two of them.
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10. The Handmaiden

Director: Park Chan-wook

Best known for Oldboy and more recently Stoker, Korean director Park Chan-wook takes Sarah Waters’s Victorian-set lesbian crime novel Fingersmith as his latest inspiration. It's a love story between a woman and her maid, and the filmmaker has moved the action to 1930s Korea, a period of Japanese occupation.

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