After a slow and soft Berlin Film Festival in February, the annual Cannes Film Festival in May was poised to offer a ton of hotly anticipated international premieres. This year’s Cannes Official Selection lineup, which was announced today, is brimming with big-name talent behind the cameras. Among the non-surprises in the Competition section: Pedro Almodovar’s Abrazos Rotos (which has been released in Spain to mixed reviews), Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (which isn’t even done, reportedly), Gaspar Noe’s Enter The Void (which everyone I know is stirred to see), and Jane Campion’s period romance Bright Star. Also tipped early, but pleasant surprises, are Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Alejandro Amenebar’s Agora, Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock, and Ken Loach’s Looking For Eric.
From a purely geeked-out level, I’m psyched to see the inclusion of Park Chan Wook’s vampire film, Thirst. He’s one of the most inventive filmmakers working today, and seeing what he’s done with the vampire genre is high on my list. In another realm of modern Asian cinema, Cannes also has Johnny To’s Vengeance (featuring French star Johnny Hallyday). It looks like a real winner, a bullet-fueled revenge epic, made by one of the only filmmakers still crafting original Asian crime tales. Meanwhile, on the European side of cinema, consider me excited for The Beat That My Heart Skipped director Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet, as well as Red Road director Andrea Arnold’s sophomore feature, Fish Tank.
These titles only scratch the surface (and there are more sections to be announced soon), but this is a good place to start. Can this year’s Cannes Film Festival live up to these massive expectations?