Films in the running for the top prize at Cannes
From an African-American detective infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan to Kurdish female fighters battling jihadists, here are the movies that will battle it out for the top Palme d’Or prize at the Cannes film festival this week:
Iranian master Asghar Farhadi kicks off the festival with a psychological thriller about a family reunion going awry, featuring Spanish stars Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem. While Farhadi, 45, won an Oscar and the Golden Bear at Berlin for his 2011 breakthrough film, “A Separation”, he is yet to take home the coveted Cannes prize.
US director and activist Spike Lee’s drama is based on the real-life story of an African-American police officer who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in 1978. John David Washington plays him with Adam Driver as his Jewish police partner. The film will open in the US on the first anniversary of a white supremacist march in Charlottesville where an anti-racism activist was killed.
Under the Silver Lake
Four years after giving Cannes audiences nightmares with his thriller “It Follows”, David Robert Mitchell returns with another spine-chiller, this time about the mysterious murder of a billionaire.
Italian director Matteo “Gomorra” Garrone’s new work is not for the faint-hearted. Dubbed an “urban Western”, the film is inspired by the gruesome murder by dog groomer and cocaine addict Pietro De Negri in the late 1980s.
Little is known about this portrait of three women by the Iranian dissident Jafar Panahi, who is banned from travel by Tehran. The festival and US director Oliver Stone have pleaded with the authorities to let the director, who has faced years of harassment and arrest, to fly to Cannes to show his film.
Russia’s Kirill Serebrennikov is another director who may not be able to present his work at Cannes. Under house arrest over highly disputed allegations of embezzlement, his film focuses on Soviet rock star Viktor Tsoi and the birth of Russian underground music in the 1980s.
As France grapples with rail strikes and student protests, French director Stephane Brize’s gritty drama about factory workers battling to keep their jobs may hit a timely nerve.
Amazon Studios is pinning its hopes on this tender black-and-white period romance set among the members of a touring folk group in the Eastern Bloc in the 1950s from Oscar-winning Polish-British director Pawel Pawlikowski.
The Image Book
Cinema’s oldest and most enigmatic rebel, French-Swiss legend Jean-Luc Godard, has let little slip about his new film other than this enigmatic synopsis: “Nothing but silence, nothing but a revolutionary song, a story in five chapters like the five fingers of a hand.”
Girls of the Sun
Kurdish women fighters battling the Islamic State are at the center of French actor-director Eva Husson’s new film. Iranian star Golshifteh Farahani plays Bahar, the leader of the Yazidi Sun Brigade, who hunts down the extremists who had earlier captured her.
The Wild Pear Tree
Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan, who won the Palme d’Or four years ago for “Winter Sleep”, is back with another Anatolian talkie, this time about a young provincial writer raging at his father.
Kazakh Sergey Dvortsevoy — who won many fans and prizes for his 2009 debut “Tulpan” — was a late entry with his new docu-drama about a young homeless single mother adrift in the post-Soviet Central Asian state.
Lebanese actress-turned-filmmaker Nadine Labaki’s third film is set in a Middle Eastern town. Her previous film “Where Do We Go Now?” premiered at Cannes in the Un Certain Regard section in 2010.
South Korean auteur Lee Chang-dong’s new mystery drama is drawn from a short story by Japanese master Haruki Murakami, “Barn Burning”, about a writer who becomes fascinated by a woman whose boyfriend burns barns. His first film in eight years, the cult director of “Oasis” and “Secret Sunshine” has an almost fanatical following.
Knife + Heart
French singer and actress Vanessa Paradis stars in the latest tale from Yann Gonzalez, who had a hit on the festival circuit with his quirky orgy drama, “You And The Night”, with Beatrice Dalle and former footballer Eric Cantona.
Asako 1 & 2
In this Japanese drama by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, a young woman meets her first love in Osaka. When he disappears without a trace, she moves on — until his perfect double shows up two years later.
Japanese master Hirokazu Kore-Eda, a longtime sweetheart of the Cannes jury, returns with a tale of a family of small-time crooks who take in a child they find on the street.
A Coptic leper and his orphaned apprentice leave the confines of their colony for the first time and embark on a journey across Egypt to search for what is left of their families.
Rising star Italian director Alice Rohrwacher, already a prize winner at Cannes, is back with a time-travelling story which takes in the fascist 1930s.
The new film by Christophe Honore, the man behind the charming French musical “Love Songs”, is a gay love story when the AIDS epidemic was at its height.
Ash is Purest White
Chinese director Jia Zhangke’s new film is a story of “violent love” between a mobster and a dancer starring Zhao Tao and Liao Fan. It is a follow-up to his “Mountains May Depart”, which also competed for the Palme d’Or in 2015. NVG