THE Cannes Festival was due Thursday to unveil which films have made the cut for its 70th birthday edition, where the silver screen’s finest will be vying for glory next month.
Organisers of the world’s top film event on the French Riviera traditionally guard their selections jealously for the competition and the out-of-competition programme, but there has been fevered speculation over the line-up for months.
Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled is one film that industry insiders agree is likely to earn a spot at this year’s Cannes.
The daughter of Francis Ford Coppola is a Cannes veteran who previously premiered Marie Antoinette (2006) and her last feature film The Bling Ring (2013) at the festival.
Her latest offering The Beguiled, an American Civil War drama about a young soldier who seduces all the women around him, features an all-star cast including Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Colin Farrell and Elle Fanning.
Organisers have tapped Pedro Almodovar, Spain’s most celebrated living movie director, to lead the jury at this year’s festival, which will run from May 17 to 28.
The official selection of movies in competition will be announced at 0900 GMT on Thursday at a Paris hotel by festival director Thierry Fremaux and the president of the event, Pierre Lescure.
The organisers typically wade through some 1,800 films to winnow them down to shortlists.
It is a weary process for Fremaux, who told AFP last year that he and his selection committee “watch the movies right to the end”.
Another favourite to earn a slot in the official competition – also starring Kidman and Fanning – is John Cameron Mitchell’s sci-fi romance How to Talk to Girls At Parties.
Other films in the running include Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck, starring Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams, a story about two deaf children told simultaneously in two different timelines.
South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s Okja with Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal – about a young girl risking everything to save her best friend, a giant animal – could become the first Netflix-backed feature to screen at the festival.
War Machine, another Netflix-backed effort starring Brad Pitt as a US army general in Afghanistan alongside Swinton and Ben Kingsley, is also in the running.
Other likely contenders include Redoubtable, a biopic of legendary French director Jean-Luc Godard, by Michel Hazanavicius who made Oscar-winning silent movie The Artist.
Ismael’s Ghosts by Arnaud Desplechin, about a filmmaker disturbed by the return of his former love, has also been tipped, featuring A-list French talent in the form of Charlotte Gainsbourg, Marion Cotillard and Mathieu Amalric.