LONDON — Films by David Cronenberg, Claire Denis and Park Chan-wook will compete for the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, event organizers announced on Thursday.
Films by previous winners Ruben Ostlund, Hirokazu Kore-eda and Cristian Mungiu will also be among the 18 titles in the running for the festival’s top prize, as will a film by renowned Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov.
A first line-up of nearly 50 films that will play this year at the festival was announced Thursday by Thierry Frémaux, artistic director of Cannes, during an online press conference.
The event will open its 75th edition on May 17 with a comedy called “Z (Comme Z)” by Michel Hazanavicius, a French director best known for “The Artist”. The festival runs until May 28.
Cronenberg’s competition entry, “Crimes of the Future,” is her first film since “Maps to the Stars,” which also premiered at Cannes, in 2014. “Crimes of the Future” stars Léa Seydoux and Viggo Mortensen, and Frémaux noted that he would bring glamor to the red carpet.
“Les étoiles à midi” by Denis will be the director’s fifth film at Cannes. Set in Nicaragua, it tells the story of a budding romance between an English businessman and an American journalist.
Park presents a detective film, “Decision to Leave”. Although he never won the Palme d’Or, he won the Grand Prix, the festival’s second-highest honor, for his violent thriller “Oldboy” in 2004.
Most of the high-profile films set to play out of competition at Cannes were known before Thursday’s announcement. Baz Luhrmann will return to the Croisette to present “Elvis”, his biopic on the singer, with Austin Butler in the role of Elvis and Tom Hanks in the role of his manager, Colonel Tom Parker.
On May 18, Tom Cruise is set to appear for the premiere of “Top Gun: Maverick,” the highly anticipated and repeatedly delayed sequel to the fighter pilot movie that helped make Cruise a superstar.
Frémaux announced a few other out-of-competition titles from high-level directors on Thursday. Ethan Coen will present his first film made without his usual collaborator, his brother Joel: a documentary entitled “Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind” on the pioneer of rock ‘n’ roll.
“Mad Max” franchise creator George Miller will also return to Cannes with “Three Thousand Years of Longing,” a fantasy romance starring Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba that Frémaux called a “philosophical reflection on the history of the world.”
In the days leading up to Thursday’s announcement, it was suggested the lineup would include a new film by David Lynch, his first feature since 2006’s “Inland Empire.” But on Tuesday Lynch laughed off the suggestion in a interview with Entertainment Weekly. “I don’t have a new movie coming out,” he said. “It’s a total rumour.”
Of the 18 films in competition, only three are directed by women, “Showing Up” by Kelly Reichardt and “Les Amandiers” by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi join “Stars at Noon” by Denis. Cannes has been criticized in recent years for a lack of candidates for its top prize. Julia Ducournau won the Palme d’Or last year for “Titane”, her violent horror film about a woman sexually obsessed with cars. Yet she was only the second woman to win the award, following Jane Campion’s 1993 win for “The Piano.”
The war in Ukraine will also cast a shadow over this year’s event. Since Russia’s invasion, some of Ukraine’s top directors have called on film festivals to boycott Russian directors as a show of support for Ukraine. Cannes said in a statement in March that it would “no longer host official Russian delegations, nor accept the presence of anyone linked to the Russian government”, but added that it would not ban Russian directors, including several have encountered difficulties in operating in their native country.
Serebrennikov, who is presenting a film in competition about the marriage of a Russian cultural icon, “Tchaikovsky’s Wife”, spent nearly two years under house arrest in Russia on charges of fraud. His conviction was widely seen in Russia as an attempt to suppress artistic freedom.
Frémaux announced that two films by Ukrainian directors would appear at the festival, including Maksim Nakonechnyi’s “Butterfly Vision” which will be featured in “Un Certain Regard”.
The judging panel for this year’s festival has not been finalized, Frémaux said Thursday, adding that the lineup of films is also not fully complete. The list of films will be “refined” next week, he added, as “a lot of films arrived late” to the selection committee.