Europeans lead the pack in race for Cannes' top honour

European directors are many, Asians are few and South Americans non-existent on the list of 19 films in the running for the coveted Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes film festival, announced on Thursday.

Spain's Pedro Almodovar, Denmark's Lars Von Trier and Belgium's Dardenne brothers are among those whose latest projects will be in the limelight when the world's premier film festival opens on May 11 on the French Riviera.

No fewer than 1,715 films - some for the first time submitted via the Internet - were considered for the 64th edition of the event, festival director Thierry Fremaux told a press conference in Paris.

Nineteen more films made the grade for the parallel Un Certain Regard section of the festival, which is unspooling Woody Allen's latest comedy "Midnight in Paris" as its opening night crowd-pleaser.

"We have a special thought for Japan this year, but also for Tunisia and Egypt," festival president Gilles Jacob said, adding without elaboration that Egypt would be honoured as a "special guest" at this year's festival.

Fourteen of the films in competition come from European directors, allowing for Turkey's Nuri Bilge Ceylan to be counted as European.

This year's pick of the cinematic crop represents both established filmmakers and young directors showing at Cannes for the first time, Fremaux told reporters.

All of the films being shown, in and out of competition, represent "geographical, generational and stylistic diversity," he added, although there was surprise at the dearth of Latin American films.

Outside competition, and likely to stir controversy, will be "The Conquest" by director Xavier Durringer, the first film ever to be shown at Cannes about a serving French president.

Despite reports in the French news media, Fremaux said, there was "no pressure to show or not to show" the retelling of the rise to power of Nicolas Sarkozy, who is gunning for re-election next year.

Perhaps the best-known Spanish director of his generation, Almodovar - who has won best director at Cannese but never the top honour - will present "La Piel Que Habito" (The Skin I Live In) with Antonio Banderas starring.

Based on the French crime novel "Mygale" by Thierry Jonquet, the tale of revenge centres on a plastic surgeon who tracks down the man who raped his daughter and the complex relationship that ensues.

"I am very pleased with the results of 'The Skin I Live In' and I'm highly curious to see the reaction to it at the festival," the Oscar-winning director said through his film production company El Deseo in Madrid.

"Besides, Cannes is always a stimulus to go on a diet," he added.

Von Trier, a Palme d'Or winner in 2000 with "Dancer in the Dark," returns with "Melancholia," billed as "a beautiful movie about the end of the world," starring Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kiefer Sutherland.

Belgian siblings Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne will meanwhile be hoping for their third Palme d'Or - after "Rosetta" in 1999 and "L'Enfant" in 2005 - with "Le Gamin au Velo" (Boy with a Bike).

Among non-Europeans in competition, US director Terrence Malick will present "The Tree of Life" starring Hollywood A-listers Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, and Israeli director Joseph Cedar will unspool "Hearat Shulayim" (Footnote).

From Japan will be "Ishimei" (Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai) by horror-loving director Takashi Miike, and "Hanezu no Tsuki" by Naomi Kawase, winner of the Camera d'Or and Grand Prix honours at previous Cannes festivals.

The sole contestant from Britain is Scottish director Lynne Ramsay and her adaptation of the best-selling novel by Lionel Shriver, "We Need to Talk About Kevin" starring Tilda Swinton as the mother of a high-school mass murderer.

From Down Under, Julia Leigh's erotically charged "Sleeping Beauty" is one of two first-time films in competition, the other being "Michael" by Austrian filmmaker Markus Schleinzer.

An expert in making art films on the cheap, Turkish director Ceylan will be presenting "Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da" (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia), about a doctor living on the Anatolian steppe.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Eccleston (centre) plays an ex-policeman in this cliché-riddled thriller

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

TV This TV review contains spoilers
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Wiz Khalifa performs on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park in Birmingham

Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury


Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas


Arts and Entertainment


Arts and Entertainment
A shot from the forthcoming Fast and Furious 7


Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary


Arts and Entertainment
The leader of the Church of Scientology David Miscavige


Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions