editor Catherine Bray rounds up five Cannes Competition films we’re looking forward to…

Greetings from the Croisette! The Great Gatsby screened to critics this morning, to mixed response, and will have its glitzy premiere tonight. Tomorrow, the festival kicks off in earnest, with 20 contenders vying for the Palme d’Or in the main competition and a plethora of other treats to be found in accompanying strands. Sticking to the Competition for now, here are the five I’m most looking forward to…

1. Only God Forgives, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn

Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive played at Cannes in 2011, firmly establishing Ryan Gosling as the ultimate leading man, perfectly positioned at the nexus between mainstream icon and cherished indie hero. This Bangkok-based re-teaming of auteur and star sees Gosling play Thai boxing club manager Julian, with Kristin Scott Thomas as Gosling’s mother, who, following the death of her son Billy, urges Julian to take revenge on his brother’s killers. And with a score from Cliff Martinez – the genius behind Drive’s addictive sound – it should be as much a treat for the ears as the eyes.

Sample dialogue: “When I was pregnant with you, you were strange, you were different. They wanted me to terminate.”
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Vithaya Pansringarm, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Burke
Could be: Drive meets Enter The Void with a dash of Oldboy
UK release: 2nd August 2013
Runtime: 90 minutes

2. Wara no Tate, directed by Takashi Miike

Based on the debut novel by Kiuchi Kazuhiro, best known for his manga Be-Bop High School, and starring Japanese horror stalwarts Tatsuya Fujiwara (Battle Royale, Battle Royale II: Requiem, the Death Note franchise) and Nanako Matsushima (Ring, Ring 2), Shield Of Straw is already out in Japan, where it garnered mixed reviews. Nevertheless, I’m always a sucker for a new Takashi Miike film – anyone who might one day make something as good as Audition or Ichi The Killer again will always be a one-to-watch for me.

Cast: Nanako Matsushima, Tatsuya Fujiwara
Could be: 16 Blocks: Tokyo Drift, with added violence
Runtime: 124 minutes

3. Behind The Candelabra, directed by Steven Soderbergh

Based on the autobiographical novel by Scott Thorson, HBO’s Behind The Candelabra is Steven Soderbergh’s made for TV take on the relationship between Liberace and his much younger lover. With Michael Douglas and Matt Damon in the lead roles, and more fabulous feathers, sequins, cocktails, martinis, plastic surgery and drugs than you can shake a diamond-encrusted stick at, this is the film set to out-Gatsby Gatsby. Having read the book, I can’t wait to see what Soderbergh has cooked up. Expect to hear words like “fearless”, “bold” and “brave” feature heavily in the reviews.

Sample dialogue: “Why would a grown man want to adopt another grown man?”
Cast: Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Rob Lowe, Dan Aykroyd, Debbie Reynolds
Could be: Better than Gatsby.
UK release: 14th June 2013
Runtime: 118 minutes

4. Jeune et Jolie, directed by François Ozon

Having commented on voyeurism so recently with In The House, François Ozon turns his playful talents to the issue of selling sex, as a 17 year old girl decides to turn some tricks in a film surely guaranteed to gee up some moral outrage from somebody. It’s a potentially star-making role for former model on the rise Marine Vacth (who turned 23 only a few days ago), but she should be in good hands with a supporting cast including Ozon alum Charlotte Rampling (Swimming Pool, Under the Sand) and Géraldine Pailhas (5×2). Ozon was last at Cannes in 2003 with Swimming Pool, but didn’t win anything – if the film is good, this could finally be his year.

Sample dialogue: “I didn’t feel much during it.”
Cast: Marine Vacth, Charlotte Rampling, Frederic Pierrot
Could be: Lolita meets Belle de Jour
Runtime: 95 minutes

5. Inside Llewyn Davis, directed by The Coen Brothers

Oscar Isaac’s big break sees him step out from the shadows of playing a hideous pimp in Sucker Punch and a Russian immigrant in W.E. and into the spotlight as the man of the title, a 1960s singer looking to strike it big in New York’s nascent folk-rock scene. Loosely based on a posthumously published memoir – The Mayor of MacDougal Street – by Dave van Ronk, it looks to be a project residing up the more sombre end of the Coens spectrum. When you consider that’s ground occupied by some of their best work, this shouldn’t be any cause for concern – just don’t expect the likes of the Dude to show up.

Sample dialogue: “You have not heard one nice thing about me from Jean.”
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman
Could be: Walk The Line, Coens style.
UK release: 24th January 2014
Runtime: 105 minutes