Digging into the Cannes 2014 line-up – the Films In Competition

Cannes 2014 Poster Landscape

2013 was only my third year covering the Cannes Film Festival but it was clear from speaking to veterans that the competition line-up was one of the best in quite some time. It was also a program with a significant American slant, so it’s perhaps not too surprising that this year offers a return to a more varied selection.

You can find a full list of the festival’s competition selections below, with notes, images and trailers where available. This post will be updated whenever more material comes to light.

And I’ll be back with similar run-downs of the Un Certain Regard section, the films that are playing out of competition and in the Midnight slots, and also the Director’s Fortnight, Critic’s Week and Classics program when they are announced.

Olivier AssayasSils Maria [2h03]

Assayas has premièred a number of his previous films at Cannes. This one will almost certainly get a great deal of attention from the paparazzi outside the Palais, thanks to a cast that includes Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart and Chloe Grace Moretz. Binoche stars as an actress who withdraws to the Swiss town of Sils Maria with her assistant, played by Stewart.

sils maria kristen stewart

Bertrand BonelloSaint Laurent [2h15]

French director Betrand Bonello was last seen In Competition at Cannes with his 2011 film House of Tolerance, and was the festiva;s recipient of the FIPRESCI prize in 2001 for his film The Pornographer. He is back this year with a film based on the life of Yves Saint Laurent in the years 1965 to 1976.

Nuri Bilge CeylanWinter Sleep [3h16]

Cannes-favourite Ceylan’s latest feature was long rumored to be premièring at the festival and so it was no great surprise to see it announced. The running time, which is just over three hours, has led to a number of jokes being thrown around on Twitter, many of them helped along by the word ‘sleep’ in the title. Nonetheless, this will definitely be high on a lot of ‘most anticipated’ lists.

Ceylan’s Once Upon a Time in Anatolia was very popular in Cannes in 2011 and won the Grand Prix too. Many are already speculating that Winter Sleep will be the film to watch for the Palme D’Or.

Here’s the first trailer.

David CronenbergMaps to the Stars [1h51]

This long gestating project is Cronenberg’s second consecutive film with Robert Pattinson, following Cosmopolis, which also played at Cannes. Bruce Wagner‘s screenplay is a satirical look at Hollywood.

There have been a few trailers for the film floating around the internet, including the following NSFW French one. Something about Cosmopolis didn’t quite work for me but its heightened style, which seems to have carried over to Maps too, could very well suit a film about Hollywood.

Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne – Deux Jours, Une Nuit [1h35]

A new film from the Dardennes is a common sight on Cannes line-ups but that makes them no less worthy of celebrating. The pair make exceptional films which often feature deeply moving and intimate stories. And so it seems to be with their latest, which stars Marion Cottillard as a woman trying to persuade her colleagues to drop their salary bonuses so that she can keep her job. I can’t wait.

Xavier DolanMommy [2h20]

Xavier Dolan’s first film, Laurence Anyways won over many critics but his second, Tom at the Farm, split the pack. I, for one, couldn’t stand it. It will be interesting to see which way the pendulum swings with Mommy, his latest. At just 25 the Quebecois director is the youngest in competition.


Atom EgoyanCaptives [1h53]

I’m still waiting to see Egoyan’s previous feature, Devils Knot – which I hope to catch just before the festival opens – but critics have not been kind to that one so far. I hope that Captives might be a rebound for Egoyan. He’s an incredibly talented and smart director, even if he seems to have lost his groove a little of late.

This new film has been described as an ‘abduction thriller’ and stars Ryan Reynolds in the lead role. You can watch the first trailer for it below.

Jean-Luc GodardAdieu Au Language [1h10]

No Comment.

Michel HazanaviciusThe Search [2h29]

Michel Hazanavicius hit the big time with The Artist, which was both a success at Cannes and an Oscar winner. His followed up is a remake of Fred Zimmerman‘s 1948 film The Search. Hazanavicius’ version stars Berenice Bejo and Annette Bening and relocates the story to Chechnya.

hazanavicius search bejo

Tommy Lee JonesThe Homesman [2h02]

Tommy Lee Jones’ début directorial effort, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, also played Cannes in 2005 and proved popular. He’s returning this year with only his second feature as director, a period western which also features Jones in the lead role.

Naomi KawaseFutatsume No Mado (Still the water) [1h50]

During the press conference announcing the Official Selection, Cannes’ director Thierry Frémaux commented on the inclusion of fifteen female directors but there are actually only two in the official competition selection.

But Kawase is no stranger to the Cannes Film Festival, and she even won the Camera d’Or for her 1997 debut feature, Suzaku. Her latest is reportedly set on the island of Amami-Oshima and centers on a young boy who finds a dead body floating in the sea.

Still the Water

Mike LeighMr. Turner [2h29]

One of two British films in the official competition, Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner focuses on the 19th-century painter J.M.W. Turner, who is played here by Timothy Spall. Here’s a rather nice video of Leigh talking how he has been inspired by the painter.

Ken LoachJimmy’s Hall [1h46]

And here’s the second British film in Competition. Loach has claimed that Jimmy’s Hall will be last film. It was shot on film and even edited on a Steenbeck flatbed editing machine. It’s a rare sight to see a 35mm projection at Cannes these days, but perhaps an exception will be made for Loach’s latest.

I fully expect the film to go down a storm. I’ve never quite understood why but Loach seems to be absolutely adored in France. One afternoon in 2012, The Angel’s Share screened in The Grand Palais and became the second liveliest screening I’ve ever been to in Cannes, after only one where Jerry Lewis made a personal appearance.

Jimmy’s Hall opens in the UK just over a week after its première in Cannes.

Bennett MillerFoxcatcher [2h10]

The release of Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher has been pushed back quite significantly and it had once been expected to be a big player in the Oscars for 2013. It could now perhaps be a big player this year.

Miller, who previously made Capote and Moneyball, does seem to have a knack with commercial but grown-up dramas, and this look at the murder of Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz seems to be no exception.

Alice RohrwacherLe Meraviglie [1h50]

The only other film in Competition by a female director, Le Meraviglie stars Monica Bellucci and is set in the Umbrian countryside. Rohrwacher was previously seen at Cannes in 2011, when brought her début feature Corpo Celeste to the Director’s Fortnight.

Here’s the first trailer,

Abderrahmane SissakoTimbuktu [1h40]

New African cinema will be represented in the official competition by Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako. Timbukto centers on a couple in Mali who were stoned to death for the ‘crime’ of not being married before God. Sissako previously came to Cannes in 2006 with his film Bamako.

Damian SzifronRelatos Salvajes (Wild Tales) [1h55]

Damian Szifron is not a name I was familiar with before today but I’m certainly intrigued by the choice to include his latest film, Wild Tales, in competition. Szifron has previously worked a great deal in Argentinian television.

Judging from this trailer, it looks like Relatos Salvajes may be bringing some rare humour to the Croisette.

Andrey ZvyagintsevLeviathan  [2h20]

Zvyagintsev’s last feature, Elena, appeared in Un Certain Regard rather than In Competition in 2011 but he returns to the Competition section this year with Leviathan. The film is reportedly a social drama that spreads its story between multiple characters. Zvyagintsev is a definite favourite among Cannes’ auteurist regulars so expect to be hearing a lot about his latest next month.

Thanks to The Film Stage and Eigapedia for some of the images above.

The Cannes Film Festival runs from the 14th to the 25th of May and I will be there every day bringing you news and reviews.