Brad Pitt will be there with The Tree of Life. Johnny Depp will come to launch Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. And Jodie Foster’s The Beaver will arrive with the question of whether troubled star Mel Gibson will too.
These Cannes Film Festival selections come with a built-in high profile, though many other films announced early this morning for the May 11-22 showcase will provoke their own share of attention. After the jump, here’s a look at a few: a comical, troubled pope; a wedding-ruining planet collision; Emily Browning in an erotic fairy tale, and Sean Penn as a Holocaust-avenging rock star.
Habemus Papam (We Have a Pope): This heartfelt comedy is about a pontiff who finds he can’t deal with the pressures of his global and spiritual responsibilities. Naturally, the infallible seeks out a therapist. The movie is from Italian director Nanni Moretti (who plays the shrink trying to restore playfulness and life to the Vatican) who won Cannes’ top Palm d’Or prize for 2001’s The Son’s Room.
Melancholia: Lars von Trier’s last entry to Cannes was 2009’s hyper-divisive Anti-Christ, the sado-masochistic psycho-sexual nightmare starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg. He returns with this dreamlike disaster drama about a troubled family at a wedding, overshadowed by Earth’s potential collision with another planet. Stars include Kirsten Dunst as the ethereal, woeful bride, True Blood‘s Alexander Skarsgard, Kiefer Sutherland, Gainsbourg, and Charlotte Rampling.
Sleeping Beauty: This is no fairy tale. The screenplay by director Julia Leigh adds a dose of eroticism to the festival, though there will certainly be a mix of pleasure and pain. Emily Browning (last seen leading the sexed-up femme-warriors of Sucker Punch) stars as a beautiful college student who becomes a prostitute but tries to sleep through her nightly trysts.
This Must Be the Place: Sean Penn plays an aging ’80s rock star (think Robert Smith from The Cure) who visits his dying Holocaust-survivor father and decides to go on a quest to find the Nazi guard who once brutalized him. Frances McDormand and Judd Hirsch co-star. There is no trailer for the Paolo Sorrentino film just yet, but YouTube turned up this curious collection of outtakes.
The Skin I Live In: Has Pedro Almodóvar really made a horror film? The Oscar-winning Spanish filmmaker returns to Cannes with this drama starring Antonio Banderas as a doctor with a god-complex. Some early descriptions say he tries to create a new kind of skin, fueled by the loss of his wife in a fiery car crash, and engages in Frankenstein-esque behavior. Almodóvar and Banderas were frequent collaborators in the 1980s, but haven’t worked together since 1990’s Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!
We Need To Talk About Kevin: Tilda Swinton stars in this U.K. drama as a mother grappling with guilt and remorse after her child brings a gun to school and goes on a shooting spree. John C. Reilly co-stars in the film by Lynne Ramsay, who explored another troubled young boy in 1999’s Ratcatcher.
The Conquest: Think of it as a French spin on Oliver Stone’s W. Director Xavier Durringer takes on his country’s sitting president, Nicolas Sarkozy with this comedy drama about his fiery rise to power and the political fisticuffs that got him there. (Coincidentally, Sarkozy’s current wife, Carla Bruni, has a small role in Woody Allen’s festival-opening romantic comedy Midnight in Paris. Will the President and First Lady be taking in this showing too?)
Martha Marcy May Marlene: Elizabeth Olsen became a break-out star at Sundance with this drama about a young woman’s efforts to escape a destructive cult after they have already warped her psyche, and now it heads to Cannes for a worldwide debut. The Sean Durkin-directed film co-stars Winter’s Bone Oscar-nominee John Hawkes as the scrawny, savage cult leader who is determined to keep her among his possessions.
For the full list of films, go the Cannes Film Festival’s official website.
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