8 things to look out for at the Cannes Film Festival

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Stars from around the world are heading to Cannes for the
prestigious film festival, celebrating its 70th anniversary
this year.

Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, Jake Gyllenhaal and Emma
Thompson are among those set to be walking the red carpet.

The festival opens with Ismael’s Ghosts – a French film
starring Marion Cotillard – on Wednesday.

As the French Riviera resort welcomes the film world for the
11-day event, here’s what to expect.

1. Seeing Nicole Kidman everywhere

Image copyright AFP/Getty Image caption Nicole Kidman is set to be Queen of
Cannes

It’s fair to say this is Nicole Kidman’s year, with four
projects – that’s TV as well as film – on show.

They include one of the most hotly-anticipated films of the
festival, The Beguiled.

Directed by Sofia Coppola, the drama is set in an all-female
boarding school in America’s South during the Civil War and is
in competition for the top prize, the Palme d’Or.

An injured enemy soldier, played by Colin Farrell, is taken in
by the women, but tensions – and sexual jealousy – rise.

Image copyright Focus Features Image caption She stars in Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled
alongside Elle Fanning and Kirsten Dunst

Kidman and Farrell team up again for The Killing of a Sacred
Deer by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster). She
plays the wife of a surgeon – Farrell – who takes in a teenage
boy with catastrophic results.

Her final film at Cannes is How to Talk to Girls at Parties,
based on a Neil Gaiman short story, while she’s also in Jane
Campion’s Top of the Lake, one of the TV picks of the festival.

2. Parties – lots of them

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Rihanna will be on the Cannes party
circuit

You can forget the screening rooms and press junkets – the main
action at Cannes is going to be on the red carpet and at the
endless parties.

Rihanna and Cara Delevingne are among those heading to the
waterfront as a social whirl engulfs the town.

Neither has a film showing – but Cara is the face of a new ice
cream launch and Rihanna is hosting a late-night party.

Each country will also have a tent along the seafront, so you
can expect an array of famous faces to be popping in to the
soirees being held there, as well as those on the shoal of
superyachts that will be fringing the festival.

3. Tight security

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Soldiers patrolling in Cannes ahead of the
opening of the festival

Security at this year’s Cannes is higher than ever. Which is
not surprising given the recent attacks in France, including
last summer’s horror in nearby Nice, where a man drove a truck
into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day.

A row of 400 concrete barriers disguised as giant flowerpots
have been installed to stop a similar vehicle attack during the
festival.

Police have invested in 160m of spiked chains that could stop a
truck and have extra forces working during the festival. In
addition, there are 550 security cameras – one for every 140
inhabitants of Cannes.

A festival spokeswoman said the measures were to “guarantee the
festival-goers’ optimal security” while “taking care not to
disrupt” the event.

4. Actors going behind the camera

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Kristen Stewart’s short film is about
“heartbreak”

This year, we’ll be seeing Kristen Stewart, Robin Wright and
Vanessa Redgrave step behind the camera and turn their hands to
directing.

Twilight star Kristen has made a short film called Come Swim,
which she has described as being about a man in his 30s in the
throes of “full-on heartbreak”.

Robin Wright has also directed short film – The Dark of Night –
about a woman seeking refuge from a storm in an isolated diner.

And Redgrave is presenting Sea Sorrow, a documentary about the
refugee crisis. The actress and activist says she was spurred
into action by seeing images of the body of Syrian child Alan
Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach.

As a side note – Jupiter’s Moon, competing for the Palme d’Or,
also looks at the refugee crisis.

5. Big buzz about the small screen

Image copyright Netflix Image caption Okja, starring Tilda Swinton, is about a
young girl trying to save her best friend – a massive animal –
from being kidnapped

As well as Top of the Lake, the other main television event is
the long-awaited return of Twin Peaks, which is having its
premiere at Cannes after 26 years off the air. Fans have been
full of theories about what David Lynch is likely to have up
his sleeve.

It’s been seen as a sign that Cannes is
embracing television
– although both Lynch and Campion have
previously won the Palme d’Or.

And then there’s the Netflix controversy.

The home-streaming giant has two feature films in competition –
Okja starring Tilda Swinton, and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz
Stories, with Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Emma Thompson.

But after concerns from the French film industry, the festival
stepped in to announce that from next year, films wanting to
compete at Cannes will have to be screened at French cinemas.

6. Tough competition

Image copyright AFP/Getty Image caption Spanish director Pedro Almodovar is
presiding over the Cannes jury

There are 19 films in
contention
for the coveted Palme d’Or.

One of the early favourites is Wonderstruck by Todd Haynes,
director of Carol. Starring Julianne Moore and Michelle
Williams, it tells the story of a young boy and young girl – 50
years apart – whose stories intertwine.

And anticipation is high for Good Time, a bank-robber drama
starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Robert Pattinson, as well as
The Beguiled and Okja.

It’s going to be a tough decision for jury president Pedro Almodovar and his
fellow jurors
, including Will Smith and Jessica Chastain.

Image copyright Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty
Image caption The 70th anniversary Palme d’Or

7. New films from Cannes favourites

Image copyright Les Films du Losange
Image caption Isabelle Huppert (third left) and British
actor Toby Jones (second right) star in Happy End

Lynne Ramsey (who directed We Need to Talk About Kevin) returns
to the Croisette towards the end of the festival with You Were
Never Really Here, starring Joaquin Phoenix as a war veteran
trying to save a young girl from a sex trafficking ring.

Then we have Austrian director Michael Haneke, who has already
lifted the Palme d’Or twice – with The White Ribbon in 2009 and
Amour in 2012. This year, he’s presenting Happy End, starring
Oscar nominee Isabelle Huppert, a family drama set in Calais
with the refugee crisis unfolding on its doorstep.

Can he make it a third trophy?

8. The unexpected

Image copyright Reuters Image caption A high heel row erupted at Cannes in
2015

With the champagne flowing and sleep in short supply, anything
can happen.

In the past, we’ve seen flat shoes apparently banned from the red
carpet
, Hollywood stars having their films
booed
, and world-famous director Lars von Trier being
banned for saying he “sympathised” with Hitler.

Expect colour, expect fashion, expect glamour, expect films to
be lauded and panned in equal measure – but most of all, expect
the unexpected.

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story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.

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