If there’s one place to be right now if you’re a film fanatic, it’s France. The Cannes Film Festival is revered as one of the best film festivals in the world and features movies that elevate the form to higher artistic standards.
From Billy Wilder's "The Lost Weekend" and Coppola's "Apocalypse Now" to Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction," the festival has honored films that have gone on to become some of the most respected films cinematic history.
Kyle Buchanan, senior editor at Vulture, helps us break down this year's lineup:
What separates this film festival from the rest of the pack?
The dominant thing with Cannes is that it's established filmmakers, directors who've got 30 to 40 years under their belt at times. So you're seeing a lot of high-level A-list auteurs. There's also a lot fewer films at Cannes than there are at the other festivals, but they more than make up for it with pomp and circumstance. You're tuxedoed out everyday and the party scene is insanity. You're on yachts and you're taking helicopters to chateaus.
"Mad Max" and Pixar's "Inside Out" are playing out of competition at Cannes. What is the purpose for these films screening at the film festival?
With "Mad Max: Fury Road," it's about to begin its worldwide rollout and I think they want to announce themselves in a major way. Not to mention that the film is freaking great in my opinion.
And as for "Inside Out," Cannes is traditionally very friendly to animated films. I mean, they even programmed "Shrek 2," in competition no less. With this particular movie, I think they are gunning for some of that critical acclaim after a few years where they mostly made just sequels.
What are some of the American films that are in competition at this year's festival?
I'm definitely interested in seeing Todd Haynes' new movie "Carol.'" He is such a slam dunk director when he's making a period piece, as we saw with "Far From Heaven," his HBO mini-series "Mildred Pierce." This one has Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as lesbian loves; a period-drama. I'm there for the costumes alone.
"Sea of Trees" I'm very curious about. Matthew McConaughey, now that he's gotten all of his indie cred and parlayed that into a blockbuster career, he's making another indie and this time with Gus Van Sant. I think that they'll be an interesting match of people.
With "Sicario," Denis Villeneuve, who's come close to the Oscar derby with films like "Prisoners." This time Emily Blunt is playing an FBI agent investigating drugs south of the border and it sounds like it could be a great marquee role for her.
Actress Natalie Portman will be premiering her directorial debut with "A Tale of Love and Darkness," which is in Hebrew. What's the rundown for this film?
It promises to be an interesting film because Natalie's very outspoken about Israel and Palestine in general. What's also interesting about this film's inclusion is that it's one of a couple movies that are directed by women. Last year, Cannes was really dinged for not including virtually any movies directed by women. This time they've got several. The interesting thing is that they are all directed by glamorous actresses. I guess that doesn't hurt to have a leg up on glamour when you're going to a place like Cannes.