BBC Culture

Nine films to watch at Cannes

  • Goodbye to Language

    Jean-Luc Godard's new film marks his first appearance at Cannes since 2010's ambitious but puzzling Film Socialisme. This year the father of the French New Wave presents a 3D entry in the competition that promises to be no less strange - the film's poetic official synopsis suggests it "ends in barking and babies' cries. In the meantime, we will have seen people talking of the demise of the dollar, of true mathematics and the death of a robin." Expect a high-minded epic that takes itself very seriously. (Wild Bunch)

  • Jimmy’s Hall

    English master of 'kitchen-sink realism' Loach, now 77, says that Jimmy's Hall may be his last film. It explores the controversy that erupted in Ireland in 1932 when James Gralton, a communist ideologue, opened a dance hall in Effrinagh where he arranged political meetings. Local Catholic priests objected so strongly that he became the first and only Irishman deported from Ireland, an incident that historians identify as a peak of that nation's Red Scare. Expect passionate monologues about the value of free speech and assembly, as the director is never one to shy away from incendiary topics. (BFI)

  • The Rover

    Australian director David Michôd's Animal Kingdom played at Sundance in 2010 and opened in cinemas to near-universal critical acclaim. His latest effort starring Guy Pearce, Joel Edgerton and Robert Pattinson, is an 'existential Western' set in the barren wastes of South Australia, in a grim near-future where the rule of law has collapsed. Expect a dark, intense outback thriller. (A24)

  • Mr Turner

    Starring perennial favourite Timothy Spall as the great British Romantic landscape painter JMW Turner, Mike Leigh's film goes head-to-head with one from another great modern British auteur, Ken Loach, whose picture Jimmy Hall is also in contention for the Palme d'Or at Cannes this year. It's the first period drama Leigh has directed since Topsy Turvy in 1999. Expect a bittersweet ensemble piece filled with familiar Mike Leigh faces. (Sony Pictures Classics)

  • The Salt of the Earth

    Co-directed by Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and Wim Wenders, The Salt of the Earth − about Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado − appears in the Un Certain Regard category. The Buena Vista Social Club director also presents a restored version of his Palme d'Or winning film, Paris, Texas, screening to celebrate 30 years since its release. Expect stunning cinematography. (Alamy)

  • Maps to the Stars

    David Cronenberg explores similar ground to his last film, 2012's Cosmopolis, with this satire of contemporary life. Maps to the Stars examines a Hollywood acting dynasty through the lens of two of its younger members, both child stars - one of whom entered a drug rehabilitation programme at the age of nine. It's a biting critique of Hollywood artifice and excess that also manages to be a commentary on the state of western civilisation. Expect very dark humour and an icy view of the way we live now. (Eone Entertainment)

  • Lost River

    Ryan Gosling starred in the controversial Only God Forgives - a talking point at last year's Cannes festival. This year, he's set to cause another stir on the Croisette - on the other side of the camera. Gosling's directorial debut (previously called How to Catch a Monster) features in the Un Certain Regard category alongside several other first films, including British director Andrew Hulme's Snow in Paradise and Philippe Lacôte's Run. Gosling's film - which he also wrote - stars Saoirse Ronan, Christina Hendricks, Eva Mendes and former Doctor Who, Matt Smith. Expect a psychological drama with a fantastical dark side. (Getty Images)

  • Sils Maria

    French director Olivier Assayas (Carlos, Something in the Air) returns to Cannes with a drama set in the Swiss Engadine. Juliette Binoche plays Maria, a theatre actor who returns to the play in which she made her name 20 twenty years ago, this time in an older role. Chloë Grace Moretz plays the up-and-coming actor now taking the part that made Maria famous, and the film concerns the relationship between the two women. Expect a fine acting in a film about actors. (IFC Films)

  • The Search

    The director of The Artist, the 2011 Academy Award winner for best picture, is mining film history again for his next project. The Search is a remake of Fred Zinnemann's 1948 film of the same name, in which a young Auschwitz survivor travels across war-torn Europe looking for his mother. Michel Hazanavicius' film updates that premise to present-day Chechnya and shows how a young refugee bonds with an NGO worker while searching for his family. Expect high emotion but not necessarily the overt cinephilia of The Artist - The Search uses classic Hollywood as its springboard not its subject. (Warner Bros)