Many expected to see heavyweight auteurs like Terrence Malick, Lars von Trier, and Terry Gilliam in the competition lineup at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, but the official announcement opted out of big names in favor of world cinema’s best voices. Directors from Iran, Japan, China, Egypt, and France are well represented in the 2018 race for the Palme d’Or.
Click through the gallery and meet this year’s Cannes filmmakers in competition.
French director Brizé is competing for the Palme d’Or for a second time following “The Measure of a Man” in 2015. Vincent Lindon won Best Actor for the film that year, while the movie earned the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. Brizé’s other titles include Venice winner “A Woman’s Life,” “Mademoiselle Chambon,” and “A Few Hours of Spring.”
The Turkish film director has had a very successful career at Cannes since winning the Grand Jury Prize in 2013 with “Distant.” “The Wild Pear” will be his fifth time competiting for the Palme after “Distant,” “Climates,” “Three Monkeys,” and “Winter’s Sleep.” Ceylan won Best Director “Monkeys,” while “Sleep” earned the Palme in 2014.
“Burning” brings South Korean director Lee Chang-Dong back into the Palme d’Or race for the third time in his career. He competed for the award in 2007 with “Secret Sunshine” and in 2010 with “Poetry,” which won Best Screenplay and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury.
Kazakhstan director Sergey Dvortsevoy will compete for his first Palme d’Or with his second feature, “Akya.” The director was a breakout talent at Cannes 2008 with his debut feature and Un Certain Regard winner “Tulpan.”
Farhadi’s film is opening the 2018 festival. The Iranian director has had two previous films compete for the Palme d’Or: “The Past” in 2013 and “The Salesman” in 2016. “The Past” star Bérénice Bejo won the best actress prize, while “The Salesman” took home honors for best actor (Shahab Hosseini) and best screenplay (Farhadi).
Italy’s Garrone has a rich history with the Cannes Film Festival. The director won the Grand Prix twice with “Gamorra” in 2008 and “Reality” in 2012. He last competed for the Palme d’Or in 2015 with “Tale of Tales,” starring Salma Hayek.
Godard needs no introduction. The cinema legend has never won the Palme d’Or, although he has had seven films in competition: “Every Man For Himself” (1980), “Passion” (1982), Détective (1985), “Aria” (1987), “Nouvelle Vague” (1990), “In Praise of Love” (2001), and “Goodbye to Language” (2014). The latter won the Jury Prize.
“Knife + Heart” is the second feature by French filmmaker Gonzalez and represents his first time competing for the Palme d’Or at Cannes. His 2017 short film, “Lies Lies,” won the Queer Palme.
Japan’s Hamaguchi will make his Cannes debut in competition this year. The director is best known for his 2015 drama “Happy Hour,” which won prizes at the Singapore International Film Festival and the Locarno International Film Festival.
French director Honoré first came to Cannes in 2002 with the Un Certain Regard title “Seventeen Times Cecile Cassard.” He competed for the Palme d’Or in 2007 with “Love Songs,” but he hasn’t been back in competition until now.
Husson is rumored to have one of the biggest Palme d’Or contenders with “Girls of the Sun.” The movie marks the French director’s Cannes debut. Her last title, “Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story),” appeared at the Toronto International Film Festival and the London Film Festival.
Japan’s Kore-eda has been a Cannes staple for the last several years. “Shoplifters” will be the fifth time he competes for the Palme d’Or after “Distance” (2001), “Nobody Knows” (2004), “Like Father, Like Son” (2013), and “Our Little Sister” (2015). “Like Father, Like Son” won the Jury Prize. Kore-eda was last at Cannes in 2016 with Un Certain Regard premiere “After the Storm.”
Labaki is a Cannes regular but will compete for her first Palme d’Or this year. The Lebanese director was a part of Directors’ Fortnight in 2007 with “Caramel” and premiered “Where Do We Go Now?” in the Un Certain Regard section in 2011. The latter received an Ecumenical Special Mentions prize.
Spike Lee got a major career boost when “She’s Gotta Have It” won him the Award of Youth at Directors’ Fortnight in 1986. Three years later, Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” lost the Palme d’Or to Steven Soderbergh’s “Sex, Lies, and Videotape.” Lee competed again for the prize in 1991 with “Jungle Fever.”
Indie favorite David Robert Mitchell will finally compete for the Palme d’Or for the first time with “Under the Silver Lake” after being a Critics’ Week darling with “The Myth of the American Sleepover” in 2010 and “It Follows” in 2014.
Pawlikowski is best known for winning the Best Foreign Language Oscar for “Ida,” but “Cold War” will be the first time he competes for the Palme d’Or. The director has not released a feature since his 2013 international breakthrough. Previous films include “The Woman in the Fifth” and “My Summer of Love.”
Despite being one of the most acclaimed directors in the world, Iran’s Jafar Panahi has never competed for the Palme d’or before. The director won the Camera d’Or for “The White Balloon,” which debuted in the 1995 Directors’ Fortnight, while his 2003 drama “Crimson God” won the Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard sidebar.
Italy’s Rohrwacher returns to Cannes for the first time since winning the Grand Jury Prize with “The Wonders” in 2014. Her 2011 drama “Corpo celeste” premiered in Directors’ Fortnight.
Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov is in the running for his first Palme d’Or with “Summer.” The director was an Un Certain Regard breakout with his 2016 drama “The Student,” which won the François Chalais Award.
Abu Bakr Shawky’s feature directorial debut “Yomeddine” is one of the big surprises of Cannes’ competition lineup this year. The Egyptian writer-director has mostly helmed documentary shorts and served as an Arabic consultant on Hulu’s Emmy contender “The Looming Tower.”
Zhangke is one of China’s most prominent directors and will return to Cannes once again with “Ash Is Purest White.” He first competed for the Palme d’Or in 2002 with “Unknown Pleasures,” and his films “24 City” (2008), “A Touch Of Sin” (2013), and “Mountains May Depart” (2015) also premiered in competition. “A Touch of Sin” won Best Screenplay honors.