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Cannes 2015: The 10 Movies Indiewire is Most Excited to See

Cannes 2015: The 10 Movies Indiewire is Most Excited to See

READ MORE: The 2015 Indiewire Cannes Bible


It’s been four years since Asif Kapadia wowed audiences with his hugely successful, BAFTA-winning sports doc “Senna.” Following two shorts, he’s now back with “Amy,” a documentary portrait that tracks the rise and fall of the late and great singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse, who passed away at 27 of alcohol poisoning. “Senna” made for an exhilarating experience, defying expectations of a traditional project composed of archival footage and interviews. Kapadia takes the same approach with “Amy,” which at this point is reason for excitement. Kapadia has courted controversy before its bow in the Midnight program of the festival, with Winehouse’s family blasting the film as “misleading” to the press. That factor makes us all the more curious to see what Kapadia has up his sleeve. Given his strong track record and the backing of trusted distributor A24 (this marks the company’s first documentary acquisition), “Amy” could very well become the definitive non-fiction treatment Winehouse and her fans deserve. [Nigel M. Smith]

“Arabian Nights”

Miguel Gomes is one of the rising stars of Portuguese cinema, having most recently stunned audiences with “Tabu,” his dreamlike black-and-white tale of colonialist trauma and fading memories. But his latest endeavor promises a whole new scale: The Directors Fortnight premiere is a six-hour riff on the classic text that takes place in contemporary Portugal and tackles the euro crisis from a variety of perspectives. Gomes employed a team of journalists to devise a screenplay that derives from real life experiences of the country’s struggling lower classes, all of which are narrated by Scheherazade, the memorable protagonist in the original material as he attempts to distract a tyrannical king. Considering Gomes’ track record for refashioning mythological ingredients into fresh and challenging storytelling, “Arabian Nights” looks well-positioned to be one of the more exciting cinematic experiences at this year’s Cannes. [Eric Kohn]


After sweeping the Emmys with his critically acclaimed HBO miniseries “Mildred Pierce,” Todd Haynes is finally back on the big screen with another female-led endeavor. “Carol,” based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1950s-set book “The Price of Salt,” marks Haynes’ first feature since 2007’s Bob Dylan ode “I’m Not There” and finds him reuniting with that film’s standout performer, Cate Blanchett, following her Oscar win for “Blue Jasmine.” In “Carol,” the two-time Oscar winner plays a wealthy woman who seduces a timid department store clerk (Rooney Mara) as she dreams of a better life. Kyle Chanlder, Carrie Brownstein and Sarah Paulson round out the exceptional cast. The material is perfect fit for Haynes, who has explored similar unconventional period drama terrain in “Far From Heaven” and “Mildred Pierce.” He elicited career-best performances from Julianne Moore and Kate Winslet in those two projects, so expect great things from both Blanchett and Mara. Of course, sumptuous period details can’t hurt. [Nigel M. Smith]

Green Room

The premise of “Green Room,” in which a punk band is trapped at a venue by demented neo-Nazis, sells itself. So does the cast, which includes Patrick Stewart as a meth lord. But the real reason to get pumped for this Directors Fortnight premiere is filmmaker Jeremy Saulnier, who last came to Cannes with the tense black comedy/revenge thriller “Blue Ruin.” Following his wildly entertaining “Murder Party,” the movie showed Saulnier’s developing sense of narrative intensity and tight control of genre tropes. “Green Room,” a reportedly gory and totally wild feature-length showdown, will hopefully continue that promising track record. [Eric Kohn]

The Lobster” 

Nobody does dystopia like Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, whose tense thriller-cum-Orwellian family drama “Dogtooth” made a mark at Cannes several years ago before landing an Oscar nomination. Then came “Alps,” the unnerving tale of an oppressive cult that may as well have been dystopian. To that end, “The Lobster” is a natural continuation of Lanthimos’ storytelling proclivities even as it raises his profile. The Cannes competition title, Lanthimos’ first with American stars, features Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz and John C . Reilly in the bizarre tale of a society in which being single is illegal — and those who refuse to comply are transformed into animals. That kind of wacky premise could only make sense in Lanthimos’ hands, so we’re expecting that he’ll do justice to it. [Eric Kohn]

READ MORE: The 2015 Indiewire Cannes Bible


French-Aregentine director Gaspar Noe’s reputation for pushing buttons at Cannes stretches back to 2002, when the infamous nine-minute rape scene of “Irreversible” elicited walkouts and raves alike. Noe returned in 2009 with another charged provocation, the stylistically ambitious and patience-trying afterlife drama “Enter the Void,” a movie so extensive in its wild conception it seemed as though Noe had exhausted his opportunities to challenge audiences. But that was hardly the case: “Love,” a late addition to this year’s midnight section, is a reportedly three-hour pornographic story of a threesome — in 3D, of course. Despite the histrionic expectations, it’s worth noting that Noe is, in fact, a real filmmaker capable of telling stories through unique methods, and one should expect “Love” to offer more than pure eye-popping titillation. Years ago, Noe said that good melodrama requires “sperm, sweat and tears,” and we expect that with this movie he has fulfilled his own expectations. [Eric Kohn]

The Sea of Trees

Following his Oscar win for “Dallas Buyers Club” and commanding small screen work on “True Detective,” it’s fair to say that Matthew McConaughey is basically unstoppable. “The Sea of Trees,” his latest project, finds him pairing up with Gus Van Sant, who returns to the official competition for the first time since 2007’s “Paranoid Park.” Rumored to be more commercial than “Elephant,” the drama that won Van Sant the Palme d’Or and Best Director award at Cannes in 2003, “The Sea of Trees” — which boasts a Black List script by “Buried” scribe Chris Sparling — centers on a suicidal American (McConaughey), who travels to the “suicide forest” at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan with the intention to kill himself. Once there, he encounters a Japanese man (Ken Watanabe) who’s there for the same reason. Naomi Watts co-stars as McConaughey’s wife. Van Sant hasn’t released anything truly notable since 2008’s “Milk,” but before that film went on to earn Sean Penn his second Oscar, the filmmaker’s track record was pretty much faultless (save for that unfortunate “Psycho” shot-for-shot remake). With this movie’s intriging material and terrific cast, we’re gunning for a Van Sant comeback. [Nigel M. Smith]


Before Canadian director Denis Villeneuve gets to work on the new “Blade Runner” movie, rumored to star Ryan Gosling, he’ll be at Cannes to screen his new crime drama “Sicario” in the main competition. The filmmaker is coming off an incredible run, having recently opened “Prisoners” and “Enemy,” two critically acclaimed thrillers back-to-back. “Sicario” finds Villeneuve exploring familiar territory with a story centered on a young female FBI agent (Emily Blunt, who proved she can play badass in both “Edge of Tomorrow” and “Looper”), who teams with the CIA to take down a Mexican cartel boss. If there’s one we know about Villeneuve, it’s that he excels at bleak character studies. “Sicario” seems to be just that. Adding to our excitement: Villeneuve’s “Prisoners” cinematographer Roger Deakins is back, so it’s guaranteed “Sicario” will look marvelous. Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro round out the cast. [Nigel M. Smith]

“Son of Saul”

Hungarian director Bela Tarr was a Cannes regular until he retired from filmmaking a few years back. But with his former assistant Laszlo Nemes premiering his debut feature “Son of Saul” in competition this year, Tarr’s influence lives on. The movie is reportedly not your typical Holocaust drama. Nemes focuses on the experience of an Auschwitz prisoner who believes he has discovered his son’s body in a heap of burnt corpses. The dreary premise holds potential for the way it promises a more intimate, involving look at concentration camp trauma than many more overtly sentimental and didactic treatments of the experience. It’s rare for Cannes to offer the opportunity to discover new talent when so many established filmmakers dominate competition, so chances are strong that “Son of Saul” offers a particularly compelling hook that justifies its high profile slot. [Eric Kohn]

“The Tale of Tales

Anyone who thought that Disney’s “Cinderella” wasn’t dark enough need only wait for “The Tale of Tales,” Italian filmmaker Matteo Garrone’s English language debut starring John C. Reilly, Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel and Toby Jones. Based on a 17th century collection of fairy tales by Italian author Giambattista Basile, the film weaves realistic and fantastical elements together into three different storylines, one of which involves Hayek eating the heart of a giant beast. (Watch her do just that in the startling trailer for the film). Garrone is no stranger to the Cannes competition — he won the Grand Prix award twice for “Gomorrah,” his breakthrough feature, and that film’s follow-up, “Reality” — but this project is something else altogether, and possibly one of the most visually stylistic offerings of the main competition. [Nigel M. Smith]

READ MORE: The 2015 Indiewire Cannes Bible

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