Cannes 2012 Preview: The Palme d'Or Competition

Festivals Editor; Los Angeles, California (@RylandAldrich)
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Cannes 2012 Preview: The Palme d'Or Competition

It's that most exciting time of the year, on the eve Europe's most extravagant celebration of cinema, when some of those incredible films we've been hearing whispers about for months and months will finally be unveiled! It's time for the 2012 edition of the Festival de Cannes and ScreenAnarchy will be there, sipping champagne on the beach so you don't have to! Oh, and there are movies too. Lots and lots of fantastic sounding movies from every corner of the globe, just waiting to be torn apart/gushed over for months in anticipation of their fall awards season releases.

We've got a series of previews ahead of Wednesday's opening gala and we start things here by taking you on a tour through each and every film that is in competition at this year's fest. Let us know what you are most excited about.
Wes Anderson opens the fest with his much anticipated summer camp romance. The film, co-written by Roman Coppola, stars Bruce Willis, Ed Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Harvey Keitel, Kara Hayward, and Jared Gilman. Focus releases the film stateside on May 25th.

Gomorrah director Matteo Garrone returns to take a stab at besting his 2008 Grand Prix win with this Italian reality TV inspired dramedy.

There has been all kinds of buzz about Walter Salles latest road tripper (he directed The Motorcycle Diaries), an adaptation of the revered Keruac novel. Produced by Francis Ford Coppola and with a cast that includes Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams, Viggo Mortensen, Garrett Hedlund, Terrence Howard, Elisabeth Moss, Sam Riley, Steve Buscemi and a whole lot more, it's anyone's guess as to how faithful to the book this one is going to be. IFC apparently likes the film (or at least K.Stew) as they've teamed with Sundance Selects to release the film to US audiences.

Eva Mendes stars along with Kylie Minogue, Denis Lavant, and Michel Piccoli in Leos Carax's enigmatic body jumping sci-fi-sounding tale.

Andrew Dominik much anticipated follow-up to 2007's The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford reteams the New Zealand-born Australian director with Brad Pitt in this mob enforcer crime drama based on George V. Higgins's 1974 novel Cogan's Trade. Scoot McNairy, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, Ben Mendelsohn, and Ray Liota co-star. The Weinstein Co. currently plans to drop the flick on US audiences September 21st.

South Korean director Im Sang-soo follows up 2010 competition film The Housemaid with this Korean high society erotic suspense drama.

Robert Pattinson stars as a young Wall Street billionaire in this Don DeLillo adaptation directed by David Cronenberg. Has Cronie gone back to his hard hitting ways or is this another talkie drama a la A Dangerous Method? Jay Baruchel, Paul Giamatti, Samantha Morton, Juliette Binoche, and Mathieu Amalric co-star.

AFTER THE BATTLE (Baad el Mawkeaa)
Egyptian filmmaker Yousry Nasrallah brings a contemporary urban story of his country in turmoil through the eyes of a young man coerced into attacking protesters during the 2011 uprising.

The odds-on favorite (4/1) for this year's Palme d'Or is Michael Haneke's Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant, and Emmanuelle Riva starring film. He won in 2009 for The White Ribbon and his latest is a French language relationship drama focusing on elderly musicians dealing with love towards life's latter end.

Another year at Cannes, another Ken Loach film. Some filmmakers just sing Cannes (read: Abbas Kiarostami) and Loach is currently England's song bird. He won the Palme d'Or for 2006's The Wind that Shakes the Barley and is back this year with a bit more lighthearted looking film about a Scottish trouble/whiskey maker.

Lee Daniels burst onto the scene with his 2009 drama Precious and immediately became one most coveted directors in Hollywood. His follow-up is this adaptation of Pete Dexter's 1995 novel about a death row inmate's plight for justice. With an interesting cast that includes Zac Efron, John Cusack, Matthew McConaughey, and Nicole Kidman, Daniels film could be one of the more talked about American films at this year's fest.

Iranian master and Palme d'Or winner in 1997 for Taste of Cherry, Abbas Kiarostami's latest is this Japanese set relationship drama.

Jeff Nichols follows-up his hugely acclaimed Take Shleter with this Mississippi escaped fugitive drama starring Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Michael Shannon, Ray McKinnon, and Tye Sheridan.

PARADISE: LOVE (Paradies: Liebe)
Austrian director Ulrich Siedl's first part of his Paradise trilogy is this tale of divergent stories following an overweight mother and daughter. The mother travels to Kenya for sex tourism while her daughter deals with her own issues at home.

One of the most anticipated films of the fest (and oddsmakers' second overall pick at 9/2) is Jacques Audiard's follow-up to prison masterpiece A Prophet. Bullhead lead Matthias Schoenaerts stars alongside Marion Cotillard in this love story between a man and a whale trainer that looks to be set in a darker version of the present. Can't. Wait.

Isabelle Huppert does triple duty as three different women named Anne visiting the beach in the latest from South Korean director Hong Sang-soo, whose 2010 film Hahaha took home top prize in that year's Un Certain Regard section.

The always amazing Mads Mikkelsen stars in Thomas Vinterberg's hysteria-filled rural Danish family drama.

Mexican director Carlos Reygadas returns to the fest where he won a Jury Prize in 2007 for his film Silent Night with this semi-autobiographical countryside drama set in Mexico, England, Spain, and Belgium.

Whoo-whee it's a good year for crime dramas at Cannes and John Hillcoat's (The Proposition, The Road) long awaited depression era bootlegger flick is at the top of the heap. Written by Nick Cave, this film based on Matt Bundrant's The Wettest County in the World stars Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska and Guy Pearce.

This WW2 drama set in Belorussia is Ukranian director Sergei Loznitsa's follow-up to his 2010 competition film My Joy.

Christian Mungiu's feature follow-up to his 2007 Palme d'Or winning 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is another Romanian drama, this one set in a rural orthodox community. Drink some coffee.

YOU HAVEN'T SEEN ANYTHING YET (Vous n'avez encore rien vu)
89 year-old French master Alain Resnais has somehow managed to never win a Palme d'Or (he won a Grand Prix in 1980 for Mon oncle d'Amérique and a lifetime achievement award in 2009). He looks to have that error corrected with his latest about a group of actors gathering in the home of dead playwright for the reading of his will.

Check back tomorrow when we take a look at some of the notable films not in competition.

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Joe YoungMay 14, 2012 5:33 PM

Some of these I heard about before, mentioned on this site.....but AFTER THE BATTLE sounded interesting.