8 Canadians to watch at the Cannes Film Festival

The Cannes Film Festival, that star-studded reverie on the French Riviera, begins May 16, and this year's lineup features an impressive slate of Canadian talent.
Director David Cronenberg and actress Sarah Gadon, who appeared in his last movie A Dangerous Method, are both heading to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. (Evan Agostini/Associated Press)

The Cannes Film Festival, that star-studded reverie on the French Riviera, begins May 16, and this year's lineup features an impressive slate of Canadian talent.

The Canuck contingent this year includes a legendary provocateur and his filmmaking son, two acting ingénues and some hot young talent from Quebec.

David Cronenberg

Canada's master of psychological drama has been to Cannes countless times, but this year's offering has more marquee appeal than usual.

Based on a slim but potent novel by Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis stars Twilight hunk Robert Pattinson as a billionaire New York asset manager who encounters a disturbing cast of characters during one indelible day in New York.

The quick pitch: American Psycho meets Occupy Wall Street.

David Cronenberg's son, Brandon, will be screening his debut film Antiviral at Cannes. (Canadian Press )

Brandon Cronenberg

In what has to be one of the most feel-good Canadian film stories ever, David Cronenberg will be joined in Cannes by his filmmaking son, Brandon.

Cronenberg fils seems to share his father's interest in bodily horror, but he's also emerging as a director in his own right.

Brandon's creepy feature debut, Antiviral, is a commentary on celebrity and infectious disease. It revolves around a rogue medic (Caleb Landry Jones) who steals live viruses from movie stars in order to sell them to rabid fans.

Sarah Gadon

Although not biologically related, this young actress is very much part of the Cronenberg cohort at Cannes this year.

Having attracted significant attention as Carl Jung's cuckolded wife in Cronenberg senior's 2011 film, A Dangerous Method, Gadon also appears in his dark new drama, Cosmopolis. She plays an even more prominent role in Brandon Cronenberg's debut, Antiviral.

Emily Hampshire will receive the first inaugural Birks Canadian Diamond award at Cannes. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Emily Hampshire

This actress, who has appeared in movies such as The Trotsky and Snowcake, has a key role in Cosmopolis.

While in Cannes, Hampshire and Gadon will also be the recipients of the first inaugural Birks Canadian Diamond, an award presented by the Canadian diamond retailer to "recognize the accomplishments of up-and-coming Canadian talent who allow our country to be celebrated on the international stage."

Arsinée Khanjian

The talented Canadian actress (Adoration, The Sweet Hereafter) will not be onscreen at Cannes this year, but she will be nonetheless representing Canada — as a member of the festival's short film jury.

Chloé Robichaud

One of the 10 films that Khanjian will be considering is Le Chef de meute (Herd Leader) from Quebec filmmaker Chloé Robichaud.

Chosen from a long list of 4,500 films, Le Chef de meute is a witty look at a lonely young woman whose life is altered when she inherits her dead aunt's pug.

Xavier Dolan returns to Cannes with his third film, Laurence Anyways. (Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty)

Xavier Dolan

Though not yet 24 years old, this Quebecois actor-director is already a Cannes veteran.

His debut film, J’ai tué ma mere (I Killed My Mother) won three awards at Cannes in 2009, while his second picture, Les amours imaginaries (Heartbeats), was also critically acclaimed at the French fest.

This year, he will be presenting Laurence Anyways, a provocative film about a middle-aged man who upends a long-term heterosexual relationship when he announces his intention to become a woman.

David Lambert

Like Dolan's Laurence Anyways, the debut film from Quebecois director David Lambert is a meditation on love and identity.

In Hors les murs (Beyond the Walls), a young pianist named Paulo leaves his fiancée in order to pursue a homosexual romance with a fellow musician.