2014 Cannes Film Festival preview

Left: Kristen Stewart star in "Clouds of Sils Maria." Right: Tommy Lee Jones directs and stars in the western, "The Homesman." Both films will bow at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
IFC Films/EuropaCorp

It's holiday time for cinema-lovers, with the 67th Cannes Film Festival -- the most prestigious international festival for cinema -- opening this week on the French Riviera.

As usual, this year promises a heady lineup of star power, both in front of the camera (this year's films feature Annette Bening, Steve Carell, Jessica Chastain, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Hillary Swank, Channing Tatum and Mia Wasikowska), as well as behind (directors include David Cronenberg, Jean-Luc Godard, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Wim Wenders, Zhang Yimou, and Tommy Lee Jones, along with first-time director Ryan Gosling).

Here is a preview of some of the anticipated highlights and prize-contenders to screen at the festival, which runs from May 14-25.

In Competition

"Captives" by Atom Egoyan (Canada)
From the director of "The Sweet Hereafter" and "Erotica," so there will be nothing neat and tidy about the characters and what they go through. Ryan Reynolds, Rosario Dawson, Scott Speedman and Mireille Enos star in a drama of a family desperate search for their daughter who simply vanishes.

"Clouds of Sils Maria" by Olivier Assayas (France)
Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart star as an older actress and her personal assistant, whose lives get complicated with the arrival on the scene of an up-and-comer (Chloe Grace Moretz) recreating the older actress' iconic role. Assayas directed the 2010 Golden Globe-winning mini-series, "Carlos the Jackal." IFC Films will release "Clouds of Sils Maria" in the U.S. in late 2014 or early 2015.

"Foxcatcher" by Bennett Miller (U.S.)
From the director of "Moneyball" comes another real-life sports tale, but one much more murderous, about Mark and Dave Schultz (Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo), brothers and Olympic wrestling champions who become entangled with the eccentric heir of the du Pont fortune, played by Steve Carell. Sony Pictures Classics will release in November 2014.

"Goodbye to Language" by Jean-Luc Godard (Switzerland)
The 83-year-old filmmaker -- the most radical proponent of the French New Wave (and beyond) -- comes to Cannes with a 3-D film about which virtually nothing is known, except that it has no name stars and a big name (20th Century Fox) distributor.

"The Homesman" by Tommy Lee Jones (U.S.)
The Oscar-winning actor, who has directed three theatrical and TV films before (including "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada"), debuts his latest film, which sports a rich cast -- himself, Hilary Swank, Miranda Otto, John Lithgow, Tim Blake Nelson, Hailee Steinfeld, Meryl Streep and James Spader are the tip of the iceberg. The tale of pioneers in the American West -- including three women who have gone insane -- is based on the novel by Glendon Swarthout.

"Jimmy's Hall" by Ken Loach (U.K.)
The veteran British director, who won the festival's top prize in 2006 for "The Wind That Shakes the Barley," returns with another tale of Irish conflict, this time centered on the construction of a dance hall in a small village that runs afoul of the Church. Barry Ward, Andrew Scott (Moriarty in the BBC's "Sherlock"), Simone Kirby and Jim Norton star.

"Leviathan" by Andrey Zvyagintsev (Russia)
A social drama inspired by the Biblical story of Job, set in a corrupt, contemporary Russia.

"Maps to the Stars" by David Cronenberg (Canada)
A satire of Hollywood, written by Bruce Wagner, who had worked as a limo driver in L.A., so he knows of what he writes. The cast includes Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Olivia Williams and Evan Bird. A NSFW trailer is available here. Cronenberg, whose films include "Naked Lunch," "A History of Violence," "A Dangerous Method" and "Cosmopolis," won a festival prize for "Crash."

"The Wonders" ("Le meraviglie") by Alice Rohrwacher (Italy)
The father-daughter dynamic is central to this quixotic tale of a family of beekeepers -- one of only two competition entries directed by a woman.

"Mommy" by Xavier Dolan (Canada)
A mysterious woman inserts herself into the home of a widowed single mother and her son.

"Mr. Turner" by Mike Leigh (U.K.)
The life of British painter J.M.W. Turner gets the biopic treatment, but not your ordinary biopic treatment. This is a passion project for Leigh (whose films include "Life Is Sweet," "Topsy Turvy" and "Secrets and Lies"), and stars Timothy Spall, best known for "The King's Speech" and as Wormtail in the "Harry Potter" series.

Left: Timothy Spall as British painter J.M.W. Turner in Mike Leigh's biopic. Right: Gaspard Ulliel as fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.
Sony Pictures Classics/EuropaCorp

"Saint Laurent" by Bertrand Bonello (France)
At the very least this premiere should prove a boon for the red carpet: A biopic of fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent (actually, one of two films coming out this year) that stars Gaspard Ulliel, Louis Garrel, Lea Seydoux ("Blue Is the Warmest Color"), Helmut Berger and Dominique Sanda.

"The Search" by Michel Hazanavicius (France)
Following up his 2011 Oscar-winner, "The Artist," Hazanavicius directs his wife Berenice Bejo and Annette Bening in a remake of Fred Zinneman's post-WWII tale (which marked the debut of Montgomery Clift), now updated to war-torn Chechnya.

  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at and