Eyes on the prize

The battle for the Palme D'Or is wide open this year. Leslie Felperin and Ryan Gilbey assess some of the contenders

Cannes is all about surprises, discoveries and wallops out of nowhere, and no doubt there will be many in every category before the festival finishes on 23 May. Hotly tipped but completely unknown quantities include The Life and Death of Peter Sellers by Stephen Hopkins, Clean by Demonlover's Olivier Assayas, La Nina Santa by the Argentine director Lucrecia Martel, and The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things by starlet Asia Argento.

None of those films has been seen yet, except by the Cannes selectors, and in the case of Wong Kar-Wai's 2046, no one has even seen the final cut because they were still shooting it last week. And yet the line-up this year seems populated by a strikingly large quantity of movies that have been screened already, and even in some cases ones released in their home territory. For example, the Coen Brothers' remake of The Ladykillers, in competition, was working the multiplexes in April Stateside. Terry Zwigoff's bawdy Bad Santa, showing out of competition, came out in December in the US. And Kill Bill Vol. 2, also out of competition, came out only weeks ago in select territories, but at least it makes some sort of sense to be showing it in Cannes considering director Quentin Tarantino is the head of the competition jury.

The Ladykillers (directed by Joel and Ethan Coen), is a charming if slight affair. The Coens make a so-so stab at remaking what many consider to be one of the Ealing Studios' finest films. Transposing the action from London's Kings Cross in the 1950s to the Mississippi Delta today, the Coens keep the central conceit of a gang of con artists using the premises of an elderly woman to stage a heist, this time on a neighbouring casino. Tom Hanks gives one of his broadest and sinister performances as the snaggle-toothed, oleaginous leader of the pack. But where the original was an economical 90 minutes or so, the remake feels drawn out. Coens purists were appalled by their last, Intolerable Cruelty, which was seen as a Hollywood sell-out. Heaven help the Coens if the faithful get up in arms over this one.

The Woodsman, (directed by Nicole Kassell) is one of those films nearly everybody admires deeply but few distributors are brave enough to buy. Starring Kevin Bacon as a convicted heterosexual paedophile newly released from prison and trying to recover some semblance of a life working anonymously at a lumber yard, it was a hit with the critics at Sundance earlier this year.

By the time you read this, Pedro Almodovar will already have enjoyed a rapturous reception for presenting the opening night film, Bad Education, an ambitious and complicated romance-cum-thriller that takes in transvestism, film noir, movie- making and the sexual abuse of children by priests under Franco. Business as usual, more or less, for one of cinema's most dependable sorcerers. The picture - boasting a sublime performance by Gael Garcia Bernal - is one to see at least twice: once to untangle the story, another to feast your eyes on the sumptuous art design and Gaultier costumes.

Gael Garcia Bernal also turns up as the young Che Guevara in Walter Salles' The Motorcycle Diaries - a road movie that's moving in both senses of the word. The picture follows Guevara and his travelling companion, Alberto Granado, on their tour of Latin America. There is an episodic structure to the narrative, but Salles doesn't signpost the life lessons too blatantly. He keeps his film light and entertaining; instead of pitching it as the tale of a budding revolutionary, he creates a gentle analysis of burgeoning political consciousness. A glimpse of the real Granado, now craggy and wizened, provides an understated climax.

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
    The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

    The ZX Spectrum is back

    The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
    Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

    Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

    The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

    If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
    The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

    The quirks of work perks

    From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
    Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

    Is bridge becoming hip?

    The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
    Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

    The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

    Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
    The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

    The rise of Lego Clubs

    How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
    5 best running glasses

    On your marks: 5 best running glasses

    Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
    Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
    Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

    Please save my husband

    As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada