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May 08, 2013

What to See at the Cannes Film Festival

By John Lopez | Films

What to See at the Cannes Film Festival
© Fruitvale Station

As the beacon of world cinema, the Cannes Film Festival (May 15–26; festival-cannes.fr) is the destination of note every year for true cineastes. However, choosing from its overabundance can be a challenge. Here, our top must-see films for those bound for La Croisette.

The Bling Ring (Sofia Coppola)
Coppola’s latest adapts an article from Vanity Fair (written by Nancy Jo Sales) about L.A. teens who rob Hollywood starlets to get a taste of the glittery life. Coppola should bring an expert eye to this critique of America’s celebrity obsession.

Blood Ties (Guillaume Canet)
Mila Kunis, Clive Owen and Matthias Schoenaerts lead this remake of 2008’s Les Liens du sang. Since Canet starred in the original, this thriller about two brothers drawn back to a life of crime looks promising.

Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler)
Coogler’s powerful neo-realist debut took Sundance by storm, earning him a slot in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes. Michael B. Jordan plays struggling single father Oscar Grant, whose death at the hands of Oakland BART officers enraged a community.

Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen)
Preeminent jesters of the American art house, the Coen brothers come back to Cannes with a look at New York’s 1960s folk-music scene. Featuring rising star Oscar Isaac, it promises the poignant, the wry and the bizarrely American.

Like Father, Like Son (Hirokazu Koreeda)
Japanese director Koreeda stole our hearts with the impeccable Nobody Knows (2004). His latest—about a businessman who learns his son was switched at birth—offers up more of Koreeda’s ruminative, emotional filmmaking.

Nebraska (Alexander Payne)
The masterful American director returns to the road-movie genre after receiving his second Oscar, for The Descendants (2011). Shot in black and white, it stars Bruce Dern and Will Forte as a father and his estranged son en route to claim a sweepstakes prize.

Only God Forgives (Nicolas Winding Refn)
The Danish auteur’s neon-noir Drive (2011) soared thanks to Ryan Gosling’s charisma. His follow-up re-teams him with Gosling, an underworld thug beset by a heart of gold, with Kristin Scott Thomas as a frightening materfamilias.

The Past (Asghar Farhadi)
After the Oscar-winning A Separation, Iranian writer/director Asghar Farhadi delves into another intricate relationship drama with The Artist star Bérénice Bejo. Farhadi trades Tehran for Paris in this story of a man who discovers a long-hidden secret while finalizing his divorce.

A Touch of Sin (Jia Zhangke)
Zhangke spearheads China’s search for Cannes glory with his latest about four people in different parts of China whose lives are intertwined. A road movie with wuxia (“martial hero”) spirit, its title is a tribute to wuxia classic A Touch of Zen.

Venus in Fur (Roman Polanski)
A film by Polanski gets our attention, and his adaptation of David Ives’s play seems like choice material. Seeking a femme fatale for his erotic play, a director finds an ambitious actress who will do anything to land the role.