Other than its Marilyn Monroe promotional poster, this season's Cannes Film Festival is low-key. Heading the jury for the main competition is Nanni Moretti, an Italian filmmaker and actor known for his Palme d'Or-winning film, The Son's Room (2001). He heads a disparate panel of judges made up of independent filmmakers (Andrea Arnold, Alexander Payne), Euro eye candies (Diane Kruger, Ewan McGregor) and a flamboyant French designer known for legitimizing pointed cone bras back in 1990 (Jean Paul Gaultier).
The jury will have a field day choosing from among a staggering number of new films including Carlos Reygadas' Post Tenebras Lux, David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis (seen below) and Walter Salles' On the Road.
Gaining momentum from last year's prize-winning film, The Tree of Life, the United States dominates the main competition with five nominations. Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, Lee Daniels' The Paperboy, Andrew Dominik's Killing Them Softly, John Hillcoat's Lawless and Jeff Nichols' Mud are all vying for the festival's Palme d'Or.
Thirty-three year old Nichols won last year's Cannes Critics Week Grand Prize for his apocalyptic thriller, Take Shelter. Mud is his third film.
Previous Palme d'Or winners, all of them notable auteurs, bolster this year's main competition lineup. Michael Haneke returns after a three-year Cannes hiatus with Love, an intimate domestic drama; celebrated Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami crosses boundaries with Like Someone in Love, a searing moral drama shot in Japanese; Cannes darling Ken Loach returns to familiar territory with The Angels' Share, his 11th film to be featured in the festival; and Romanian director Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) tests the limits of friendship in Beyond the Hills.
After years of being nominated in the Un Certain Regard category, idiosyncratic Korean filmmaker Hong Sang-soo finally gets a chance at snagging the coveted Palme d'Or. His new film, In Another Country (pictured below), is quirky cool. For some strange reason, French actress Isabelle Huppert is in it. To top it off, she gets to play three roles—all named Anne.