Cheat Sheet: Cannes Film Festival 2012

Cannes Film Festival 2012 cheat sheet

Cannes Film Festival 2012

The 65th Cannes Film Festival kicks off Wednesday with a lineup heavy on American films and no shortage of celebrity names (think Brad Pitt, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, etc.). But the glamorous international confab also will spotlight new works from some of cinema's most respected auteurs, including Jacques Audiard, Michael Haneke and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Here's a snapshot look at some of the movies that cinephiles are most excited to see. Complete coverage on 24 Frames.

By Julie Makinen and Gina McIntyre

American Stories
  • 'Beasts of the Southern Wild'

    Magical realism comes to the Louisiana bayou in this fantastic tale of a community of outsiders whose way of life is threatened when storm waters swallow up the land they call home. The story centers on a resourceful 6-year-old named Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) who seeks to find her estranged mother when her father's health takes a turn for the worse. Directed by Benh Zeitlin, the film won the grand jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and it will be a part of the Los Angeles Film Festival lineup next month. Un Certain Regard

    Photo credit: Jess Pinkham / ARP - Halberstadt

    'Beasts of the Southern Wild'
  • 'The Central Park Five'

    Documentarian Ken Burns has partnered with his daughter, Sarah Burns, and her husband, David McMahon, to examine the controversial Central Park jogger rape case from 1989. Five black and Latino teens with no prior criminal records were convicted of sexually assaulting an investment banker, only to have their sentences overturned in 2002 after extensive prison terms. Sarah Burns last year published a book about the case and its aftermath, "The Central Park Five: A Chronicle of a City Wilding." Special screening

    Photo credit: Florentine Films

    'The Central Park Five'
  • 'Moonrise Kingdom'

    The latest film from king of quirk Wes Anderson will open the festival. Co-written by Roman Coppola, the movie, set in 1965, follows a pair of New England youths who run away and the unusual search party that forms to track them down. The cast features plenty of Anderson regulars -- including Billy Murray and Jason Schwartzman -- in addition to Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Tilda Swinton and Frances McDormand. In Competition

    Photo credit: Studio Canal

    'Moonrise Kingdom'
  • 'Lawless'

    Australia-born filmmaker John Hillcoat directs this violent period drama, a fictionalized account of the exploits of the real-life Bondurant boys, brothers who made a name for themselves -- and powerful enemies -- during the Prohibition era by becoming the most successful bootleggers in Virginia. Musician Nick Cave penned the script from Matt Bondurant's book "The Wettest County in the World," and Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Guy Pearce star. In Competition

    Photo credit: Metropolitan FilmExport

  • 'On the Road'

    The Beat Generation is reborn for the big screen with director Walter Salles' anticipated adaptation of Jack Kerouac's revered tome. The star-studded ensemble cast is anchored by Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart and Sam Riley and includes Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams, Viggo Mortensen, Terrence Howard, Steve Buscemi and Elisabeth Moss. Turtlenecks are optional. In Competition

    Photo credit: MK2

    'On the Road'
Star Power
  • 'Cosmopolis'

    Mind-bending filmmaker David Cronenberg plunges "Twilight" heartthrob Robert Pattinson down the existential rabbit hole, casting him as New York high-finance hotshot Eric Packer, a man who is convinced he's about to be assassinated. Expect Pattinson to be joined on the Croisette by his "Twilight" leading lady Kristen Stewart, who'll be on hand to promote her role in "On the Road." (Cannes will be a family affair for former jury president Cronenberg -- his son Brandon has his own film, "Antiviral," playing in Un Certain Regard.) In Competition

    Photo credit: Alfama Films

  • 'Hemingway & Gellhorn'

    Clive Owen is Ernest Hemingway and Nicole Kidman is famed war correspondent Martha Gellhorn in Philip Kaufman's recounting of the relationship between the larger-than-life personalities. It's one of two films screening in Cannes for Kidman, who also will travel to the festival on behalf of Lee Daniels' drama "The Paperboy," in which she plays a woman romantically involved with a death row convict who becomes close to a much younger man. "Hemingway & Gellhorn" will air on HBO in late May. "Hemingway & Gellhorn" screens Out of Competition; "The Paperboy" screens In Competition.

    Photo credit: HBO Films

    'Hemingway & Gellhorn'
  • 'Killing Them Softly'

    Brad Pitt reteams with "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" director Andrew Dominik in this story of a mob enforcer who's out to settle a score with some petty thieves but encounters some unusual hurdles along the way. The film also features famous tough guys James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta and Sam Shepard. In Competition

    Photo credit: Metropolitan FilmExport

    'Killing Them Softly'
  • 'Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted'

    Judging from the cast of voice talent for this animated sequel, there's sure to be a host of celebrities on hand for the lavish screening of the movie, which sees Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo and Melman the Giraffe still fighting to make it home to New York. Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Jessica Chastain lend their vocal talents. Out of Competition

    Photo credit: Paramount / DreamWorks

    'Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted'
  • 'Mud'

    Writer-director Jeff Nichols follows up his critically acclaimed apocalyptic drama "Take Shelter" with a Southern-set drama about a fugitive (Matthew McConaughey) who encounters two young boys who agree to help him avoid capture in order to be reunited with his lady love (Reese Witherspoon). "Mud" is McConaughey's second movie at Cannes; he also appears in "The Paperboy." In Competition

    Photo credit: Ad Vitam

French Connection
  • 'Holy Motors'

    Directed by Leos Carax, the film tracks the life of a shadowy character called Monsieur Oscar (Denis Lavant), who travels through and around Paris accompanied by a slender blond (Edith Scob). In Competition

    Photo credit: Les Films du Losange

    'Holy Motors'
  • 'Renior'

    In 1915, the aging artist, struggling with arthritis and grief over the death of his wife, and his son Jean, nursing war wounds and deep emotional trauma, have their lives changed by the appearance of a beautiful young muse. Un Certain Regard

    Photo credit: Mars Distribution

  • 'Rust & Bone'

    Jacques Audiard ("The Beat That My Heart Skipped," "A Prophet") brings his latest project to Cannes, a drama about a poor single father (Matthias Schoenaerts) whose connection with a killer whale trainer (Oscar winner Marion Cotillard) ultimately changes her life. In Competition

    Photo credit: Roger Arpajou / Why Not Productions

    'Rust & Bone'
  • 'Therese Desqueyroux'

    Audrey Tautou stars in the closing night film from the late director Claude Miller, an adaptation of Francois Mauric's novel of the same name about an unhappily married woman in 1920s France who takes drastic action to find a way out of her daily existence. Miller died from cancer in April; he was 70. Out of Competition

    Photo credit: Eddy Brière / UGC Distribution

    'Therese Desqueyroux'
  • 'Vous N'avez Encore Rien Vu' (You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet)

    French filmmaker Alain Resnais, 89, directs this story about a deceased playwright who from beyond the grave gathers together all his friends who have appeared over the years in his play "Eurydice." These actors watch a recording of the work performed by a young acting company and mull whether love, life, death and love after death still have any place on a theater stage. In Competition

    Photo credit: Studio Canal

    'Vous N'avez Encore Rien Vu' (You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet)
International Auteurs
  • 'Amour'

    German filmmaker Michael Haneke (who won the Palme D'Or in 2009 for "The White Ribbon") directs this story of an octogenarian couple, retired music teachers, whose daughter lives abroad. One day the daughter has an attack that severely tests the couple's bond of love. The film stars Isabelle Huppert and Jean-Louis Trintignant. In Competition

    Photo credit: Les Films du Losange

  • 'In Another Country'

    Hong Sang-soo is back at Cannes for the fourth time (he won the Un Certain Regard award in 2010 for "Hahaha"). This drama stars Isabelle Huppert and centers on a mother and daughter who run away to a seaside town to escape their mounting debt. The young woman begins writing a script for a short film in order to calm her nerves. In Competition

    Photo credit: Diaphana Distribution

    'In Another Country'
  • 'Like Someone in Love'

    Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami takes his camera to Japan, telling the story of a young woman who finances her studies through her sexual relationship with an elderly academic in Tokyo. The film has been described as a thematic continuation of Kiarostami's 2010 Cannes Entry "Certified Copy." In Competition

    Photo credit: MK2

    'Like Someone in Love'
  • 'Io E Te'

    Bernardo Bertolucci tells the story of a 14-year-old boy who lies to his parents in order to help his half-sister overcome her addition to heroin. The famed Italian had originally announced his attention to make his first 3-D project with this film, based on the book by Niccolo Ammaniti, but later changed his mind, calling the format "commercially vulgar." Out of Competition

    Photo credit: Fiction SRL / Wildside SR

    'Io E Te'
  • 'Mekong Hotel'

    Apichatpong Weerasethakul, a native of Thailand who tells language-challenged Westerners to call him Joe, won the Palme d'Or in 2010 for his quizzical, mystical movie "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Remember His Past Lives." The Bangkok-based auteur returns with "Mekong Hotel," which is shrouded in a fair bit of mystery. It takes place in a hotel in northeast Thailand and, according to the festival's synopsis, "shuffles different realms, fact and fiction, expressing the bonds between a vampire-like mother and her daughter" among other things. Stay tuned. Special screening

    Photo credit: Kick the Machine Films

    'Mekong Hotel'
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