How do you say ”fanboy” in French? Sure, there’ll be a lot of arty, prestigious pictures competing for prizes at May’s Cannes Film Festival, but the movie likely to draw the most attention is a little independently produced feature called Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith. George Lucas’ Star Wars wrap-up is playing out of competition at the festival, as is another movie by a prominent American director: Woody Allen’s new drama Match Point, starring Scarlett Johansson. Americans may dominate the competition as well; on the slate announced Tuesday, there are four U.S. movies among the 20 competitors, more than from any other country, and Hollywood stars are prominent, even in many of the foreign films.
Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City is competing, as is the directing debut of Tommy Lee Jones: The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, a drama in which the Oscar-winning actor also plays the lead role. Good Will Hunting director Gus Van Sant, who won the Palme d’Or (the top prize) in 2003 with the Columbine-inspired drama Elephant, is back with the Kurt Cobain-inspired Last Days. Jim Jarmusch (Coffee and Cigarettes) offers Broken Flowers, a comedy starring Bill Murray, Jessica Lange, and Sharon Stone.
Lange also appears in Don’t Come Knockin’, along with Sam Shepard and Tim Roth, directed by Germany’s Wim Wenders, who won the Palme d’Or two decades ago for Paris, Texas. Lars von Trier, whose Dancer in the Dark won the top prize in 2000, is back with the Dogville sequel Manderlay, starring Bryce Dallas Howard (The Village), Lauren Bacall, Willem Dafoe, and Danny Glover. Natalie Portman, besides starring in Star Wars, also stars in Israeli director Amos Gitai’s drama Free Zone. From Canada, David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence stars Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello (The Cooler), and Ed Harris. Fellow Canadian Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter) directs Kevin Bacon and Colin Firth in Where the Truth Lies.
For the first time, the opening night film is also a competitor; it’s France’s own Lemmings, directed by Dominik Moll (With a Friend Like Harry). Paparazzi and fans will certainly gather like lemmings during the 58th annual festival, which runs May 11 to 22.