Cannes has just disclosed its official 2014 line-up and it includes an out-of-competition world premiere of, um, How to Train Your Dragon 2. The films playing within the competition, however, are somewhat more in keeping with the festival's grandiose and slightly pompous reputation. Even if Cannes is associated with heaps of cash, red carpets and inexplicable luxury, it's also an annual spotlight on world cinema and indie film – especially just before the onslaught of brainless summer blockbusters.
Despite months of rumours, there'll be no appearances from Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice, David Fincher's Gone Girl or any of Terrence Malick's mysterious projects. We have, however, selected 10 indies to keep an eye out for. There's still time to find a way to blag your way into a few VIP screenings.
The Captive (dir. Atom Egoyan)
The first trailer dropped an hour after the Cannes announcement and features a bearded Ryan Reynolds panicking after his daughter is abducted. As with many of Egoyan films, surveillance cameras play a crucial role in heightening paranoia and highlighting modern voyeurism. The kidnapping thread might also be a deliberate retread towards Exotica, given the disappointment of last year's Devil's Knot.
Clouds of Sils Maria (dir. Olivier Assayas)
Juliette Binoche plays Maria Enders, an actress who reacts badly when one of her famous roles from the past is remade with a new young star (Chloë Grace Moretz). Maria responds by dragging her personal assistant (Kristen Stewart) to the mountaintops of Sils Maria. Sounds meta and a bit like The Shining.
Foxcatcher (dir. Bennett Miller)
There's been a lot of talk about Foxcatcher for a while, and that'll definitely increase around Oscar season. Steve Carell finally plays something a bit different from his usual sad, mopey roles by instead playing a sad, mopey murderer with a prosthetic nose. Based on a true story, the drama co-stars Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo as brothers who are also professional wrestlers.
Goodbye to Language (dir. Jean-Luc Godard)
As previously reported, Godard is turning to 3D. The synopsis is a bit hazy ("In the meantime, we will have seen people talking of the demise of the dollar, of truth in mathematics and of the death of a robin"), but it'll definitely feature Héloise Godet and Kamel Abdeli. Godard is 82, so there's still time for a retrofitted 3D re-release of Breathless.
Jimmy's Hall (dir. Ken Loach)
Loach's biopic centres on James Gralton, an Irish political activist who was deported in 1933. The main role will be portrayed by Barry Walton, with Andrew Scott and Jim Norton in supporting roles. Jimmy's Hall is Loach's twelfth film to play Cannes, and supposedly his last before retirement. He might change his mind if Grace of Monaco wins the Palme d'Or.
Maps to the Stars (dir. David Cronenberg)
Cronenberg is putting aside his "body horror" mode for a psychological thriller about growing up in Hollywood. A different kind of body horror, perhaps. There have been two trailers so far, if you want a sneak peek of Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikowska. The first one wasn't great, but the second one looks more like the Cronenberg we know, love and are a bit concerned about.
Mr. Turner (dir. Mike Leigh)
Mr. Leigh returns to the festival with a biopic of the painter J.M.W. Turner (the same one who inspired the Turner Prize). The film didn't even have a confirmed name before today, although it has been known for a while that Timothy Spall will take on the title role.
Mommy (dir. Xavier Dolan)
Here's another one we previously reported. Dolan turned 25 last year, and is battling with his sharp descent into old age with Mommy – his fifth film to play Cannes. The psychological drama involves the relationships between a mother, her son, and a nosy neighbour. The cast (Anne Dorval, Suzanna Clément, Antoine-Olivier Pilon) should be recognisable from other Dolan projects.
Still the Water (dir. Naomi Kawase)
Kawase has already won the Camera d'Or and Grand Prix in the past, and will hope Still the Water can complete the collection. Set on a remote Japanese island, two teens (Nijiro Murakami & Jun Yoshinaga) come across a dead body. The official synopsis promises they "learn to become adults by experiencing the interwoven cycles of life, death and love." Hopefully not in that order.
Two Days, One Night (dir. Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne)
The Dardennes are already a festival favourite, having won the Palme d'Or twice before. Marion Cotillard stars in their latest as a woman with two days and one night to save her job. Her plan? Beg her colleagues to give up their bonuses. The first trailer was released today to coincide with the Cannes announcement and looks like it'll be heading down the dramatic route. It's in French without subtitles though, so it could be an absurd comedy for all we know.
The other films in competition are as follows: Grace of Monaco (Olivier Dahan), The Homesman (Tommy Lee Jones), Leviafan (Andrei Zvyagintsex), Le Meraviglie (Alice Rohrwacher), Saint Laurent (Bertrand Bonello), The Search (Michel Hazanavicius), Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako), Wild Tales (Damian Szifron) and Winter Sleep (Nuri Bilge Ceylan).
From the Un Certain Regard selection, highlights include Incompresa (Asia Argento), Lost River (Ryan Gosling) and The Salt of the Earth (Wim Wenders & Juliano Ribeiro Salgado). If you're wondering, Lost River is just a new title for How To Catch a Monster, which also marks Gosling's debut as a director. When we interviewed Ben Mendelsohn, he commented, "There are definitely some things in that film that I've never done before." Cannes has a history of booing anything slightly provocative, so hopefully Gosling won't take it too personally.
Cannes Film Festival runs from 14 – 25 May.