In the blessed six months between the Venice Film Festival and the Academy Awards ceremony — the Oscar off-season, if you will — the Cannes Film Festival is the chief hub of speculation and spitballing in the prestige-film racket. As I type this, the blogosphere is already teeming with lists predicting what films will unspool on Croisette in less than two months’ time, from heavyweight Hollywood productions to keenly awaited niche items from international auteurs to far-flung obscurities vying to be the next big festival discovery.
Guessing the Cannes lineup hinges on a mixture of rational deduction — overlapping clues from international distributors, release schedules and past festival loyalties — and blind hope. Some conclusions are reasonably clear-cut: for example, we know that Pedro Almodovar, for once, won’t be headed to the Croisette with “I’m So Excited,” for the simple reason that the film will be out in France in two days’ time.
Others are more provisional: for the sake of our impatience, we hope “Twelve Years a Slave” will be there, but it could as easily be in Venice. And the Cannes selection committee can often throw our (not to mentiopn producers’) hopes off-course: “Brokeback Mountain,” “Vera Drake” and “Wuthering Heights” are examples of films that would have premiered at Cannes… had they not been been rejected by the festival.
Today’s list, then, is not about such rationalizations: rather, this is my wishlist of the 10 titles I most hope to see when the official Cannes lineup is announced in mid-April. They range from all-but-certain inclusions shakier possibilities, but all have at least a theoretical chance of playing the Croisette — whether in Competition or elsewhere.
I’ve left out titles that I think are frankly far-fetched: I’d be as thrilled as anyone to see Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity” as early as May, and I’ve seen it included on a number of Cannes projection lists, but everything from its release plan to Cuaron’s history with the Venice Film Festival suggests a later unveiling to me.
Still, even from the list of likelier possibilities, I still struggled to whittle it down to just 10 films: I’m a huge Kelly Reichardt fan, and have my fingers firmly crossed that her Jesse Eisenberg-Dakota Fanning starrer “Night Moves” shows up, but it didn’t quite make the list. I’m greatly looking forward to Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring,” meanwhile, but it didn’t feature either — perhaps, admittedly, because I see its Cannes debut as a fait accompli, so I’m not quite as hungry for it.
Other films I’d be very pleased to see in the lineup include Spike Jonze’s “Her,” Bong Joon-ho’s “Snowpiercer,” Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine,” Jim Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive” and whichever of Terrence Malick’s sudden flurry of projects surfaces first. But these, ultimately, are the 10 films — many o them among my most anticipated of the year, period — that would most make my day. Or, rather, my twelve days at Cannes. Roll on spring.
Check out my picks in the gallery, and feel free to rate the choices as you go along. What are you most hoping will show up in this year’s lineup?