Last week, Cannes announced its official selection, and while critics have only seen a couple of the films so far — including Pedro Almodovar’s Spain-released “Julieta” and Matt Ross’ Sundance-launched “Captain Fantastic” — the lineup reveals some intriguing trends in world cinema. Expect more fresh talent when the Directors’ Fortnight selection is announced April 19.
The French love Kristen Stewart: The “Twilight” star will appear in two films, alongside Jesse Eisenberg in Woody Allen’s opening-night “Café Society” and exploring the spooky side of Paris’ fashion world in “Personal Shopper.” Her last appearance in Cannes, playing Juliette Binoche’s personal assistant in “Clouds of Sils Maria,” earned Stewart a César award, making her the first American actress to win one.
They might be warming to Marion Cotillard: She may have an Oscar, but the French tend to look down their noses at Cotillard. That said, she’s been a Cannes fixture since 2011, and with two films in competition this year — Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan’s “It’s Only the End of the World” and Nicole Garcia’s “From the Land of the Moon” — she has double the chance of earning their respect.
Fewer usual suspects, more chance for discovery: With first dibs at the world’s top auteurs, Cannes can get a little crusty at times, although this year, strong lesser-known talents — including Berlin Silver Bear winner Maren Ade (“Toni Erdmann”) and impressive Brazilian critic-turned-helmer Kleber Mendonça Filho (“Aquarius”) — will join such familiar names as Ken Loach (“I, Daniel Blake”), Jim Jarmusch (“Paterson”) and Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (“The Unknown Girl”).
Expect a heavy French accent: Last year, a French film (“Dheepan”) won the Palme d’Or, but many agreed that Directors’ Fortnight had landed an even stronger Gallic offering (Arnaud Desplechin’s “My Golden Days”). Cannes topper Thierry Fremaux won’t let that happen this year, which suggests that Bruno Dumont’s “Slack Bay” and Alain Guiraudie’s “Staying Vertical” are quality offerings but raises questions over Bertrand Bonello’s snubbed “Paris Is Happening.”
Friends, Romanians, Countrymen: In 2001, Cristi Puiu’s “Stuff and Dough” kicked off the Romanian New Wave, though this marks the first year the director has landed in Cannes’ competition. Puiu’s “Sieranevada” will premiere alongside “Graduation,” the latest from fellow Romanian (and Palme d’Or winner) Cristian Mungiu (“4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days”), while Bogdan Mirica’s “Dogs” bows in Un Certain Regard.