Three American Films Make Cannes Cut

Sofia Coppola, Richard Linklater and Richard Kelly are the three American filmmakers who will have projects in competition at next month's Cannes Film Festival.

The program for the Festival, which runs from May 17-28, was unveiled on Thursday (April 20). The slate of 19 films is in sharp contrast to last year's competition, which was full of Festival favorites, established veterans with Cannes pedigrees like Lars Van Trier, Gus Van Sant, Wim Wenders and the eventual winners Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. This is what Festival organizers are calling a "renewal year," concentrating on fresh talent.

As has long been reported, Coppola's hip spin on "Marie-Antoinette," starring Kirsten Dunst," has made the Cannes roster. She'll be joined by a pair of young directors with ensembles, Linklater's "Fast Food Nation" and Kelly's "Southland Tales."

Although those three are the only films categorized with an American pedigree, there will be plenty of recognizable faces even for casual movie fans. Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ("21 Grams") is bringing his latest, "Babel," which stars Brad Pitt, while Pedro Almodovar is in competition with "Volver," which features Penelope Cruz. Also entering the race for the Palme d'Or is "Hellboy" and "Blade 2" helmer Guillermo Del Toro, with the Spanish-language "Pan's Labyrinth."

While it's short on last year's list of former winners, there are still several directors with Cannes prizes in their past, including Nanni Moretti (presenting "The Caiman"), Aki Kaurismaki ("Lights of the Suburb") and Ken Loach ("The Wind That Shakes the Barley"). Bruno Dumont ("Flandres") and Nicole Garcia ("Selon Charlie") have also been in the Cannes competition with earlier films.

Andrea Arnold's "Red Road" is the only first feature from any director to make this year's field.

Cannes organizers suggest that politics will back to the forefront of this year's Festival.

Director Wong Kar-Wai leads a Cannes jury that also includes Monica Bellucci, Zhang Ziyi and Samuel L. Jackson, whose "Snakes on a Plane" failed to make the Festival cut.

A complete list of all of the films in competition is available on the Cannes website.

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