David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis, Walter Salles' anticipated adaptation of On the Road and the latest from noted filmmakers like Ken Loach, Michael Haneke and Alain Renais will compete for the Palme d'Or, the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
Organizers unveiled details of lineup in Paris on Thursday, with 54 feature-length films from 26 countries slated to screen at the French fest.
Canadian filmmaker Cronenberg will debut his adaptation of Cosmopolis, based on Don DeLillo's novel and starring Twilight heartthrob Robert Pattinson. Cronenberg's son Brandon will also see his debut feature, Antiviral, compete in Un Certain Regard, which recognizes emerging talent and innovative, daring filmmaking.
Quebec filmmaker and rising star Xavier Dolan is also back at Cannes with his film Laurence Anyways, also a screening in Un Certain Regard. Dolan previously earned acclaim in that program for his films Les amours imaginaires (Heartbeats) and J’ai tué ma mère (I Killed My Mother).
"I had something to say and I believe that I have improved since my two other films, so I was happy to offer Laurence Anyways [to Cannes]," Dolan told Radio-Canada on Thursday.
However, he also expressed disappointment that the film was not included in the main competition lineup.
"I was more proud of it than the others and I thought it would climb the ladder at Cannes, but that's not what happened."
Returning winners, American comeback
Kristen Stewart, Pattinson's Twilight co-star and real-life partner, will also be represented at Cannes as a cast member in the long-awaited adaptation of On The Road, the Jack Kerouac Beat era classic. Brazilian director Salles' film also stars Garrett Hedlund and Sam Riley.
Acclaimed filmmakers Loach, Haneke and Cristian Mungiu — all recent Palme d'Or-winners — return to La Croisette with the films The Angels' Share, Love and Beyond the Hills, respectively. French legend Resnais is also competing with his latest, You Haven't Seen Anything Yet.
In making Thursday's announcement, Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux noted the many Americans represented on the bill.
"American cinema is back in force," he declared.
Precious director Lee Daniels will bring his star-studded The Paperboy to France. Zac Efron, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack and Matthew McConaughey star in the tale about two brothers looking into the case of a death-row inmate.
Hollywood star Brad Pitt will be featured in Killing Them Softly, as will Andrew Dominik's crime thriller about a professional enforcer investigating a heist gone wrong.
Australian director John Hillcoat, who explored Cormac McCarthy's apocalyptic America in The Road, will debut his Prohibition-era bootlegging tale Lawless at Cannes. Based on a historical novel, the film stars Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy as brothers running the family's moonshine business in Virginia. The cast also includes Guy Pearce and Gary Oldman.
Fresh off the year-end success of his drama Take Shelter, U.S. filmmaker Jeff Nichols will bring his coming-of-age drama Mud to Cannes.
Organizers had previously revealed that American Wes Anderson had landed the high-profile opening night slot for his film Moonrise Kingdom.
Other filmmakers vying for Cannes glory include:
- Jacques Audiard, Rust and Bone.
- Leos Carax, Holy Motors.
- Matteo Garrone, Reality.
- Hong Sangsoo, In Another Country.
- Im Sang-soo, The Taste of Money.
- Abbas Kiarostami, Like Someone in Love.
- Sergei Loznitsa, In the Fog.
- Yousry Nasrallah, After the Battle.
- Carlos Reygadas, Post Tenebras Lux.
- Ulrich Seidl, Paradise: Love.
- Thomas Vinterberg, The Hunt.
Prominent titles to screen out of competition at Cannes include Bernardo Bertolucci's Me and You, Philip Kaufman's Hemingway & Gellhorn, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted and Dario Argento's highly anticipated 3D take on Dracula.
Italian director Nanni Moretti will preside over the jury choosing the Palme d'Or winner.
The festival will end with a tribute of sorts to French director Claude Miller, who died earlier this month. The closing film is Thérèse D., which Miller completed shortly before his death and stars Audrey Tautou as a woman trapped in a failing marriage.
The 2012 Cannes Film Festival runs May 16-27.