By Marie-Louise Gumuchian
(Reuters) -Wes Anderson, Ken Loach, Todd Haynes and Wim Wenders are among the directors vying for the top prize at next month’s Cannes Film Festival, where Hollywood stars will also walk the red carpet on the Croisette waterfront for the premieres of their latest works.
At a press conference on Thursday, festival Director Thierry Fremaux and President Iris Knobloch announced the line-up for the 76th edition of major cinema showcase from May 16-27.
Nineteen films will vie for the festival’s coveted Palme d’Or prize, of which six are directed by women, a record for the event. Only two women directors have previously won the prize.
“It’s a competition that will mix young filmmakers competing for the first time with veterans whose names and works we know,” Fremaux said.
Loach returns to the festival with “The Old Oak”, about Syrian refugees arriving in a former mining village in Britain, while Anderson brings his star-studded “Asteroid City”, in which major events disrupt a junior stargazer convention.
Other directors in competition include American filmmaker Haynes with “May December” starring Oscar winners Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore, Italian Nanni Moretti with “Il Sol Dell’Avvenire”, German filmmaker Wim Wenders with “Perfect Days” and Japan’s Hirokazu Kore-eda with “Monster”.
Women directors in competition include France’s Catherine Breillat with “L’Ete Dernier”, Austrian Jessica Hausner with “Club Zero” and Tunisian Kaouther Ben Hania with “Les Filles D’Olfa”.
Organisers have already announced the festival’s opener – biographical drama “Jeanne du Barry” featuring Johnny Depp, the Hollywood star’s first live-action film since his defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard last year.
Also out of competition is veteran Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon”, about the murders of Osage Native Americans. Set in 1920s Oklahoma, the movie features past Scorsese collaborators Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Jesse Plemons.
Adventurer Indiana Jones will return to the festival 15 years after his last appearance in Cannes. Harrison Ford reprises the title role in “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”, which will have its world premiere in France.
The festival will have a special tribute to Ford’s career, Fremaux said.
Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar will bring his Western short “Strange Way of Life” while “12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen will premiere documentary “Occupied City”, about Amsterdam under Nazi occupation during World War II.
“Films are back in cinemas and especially, audiences are back in cinemas,” Knobloch said.
“Filmmakers, artists, professionals are all in agreement. Nothing can replace the cultural event represented by the release of a film in the cinema.”
Swedish director Ruben Ostlund, whose film “Triangle of Sadness” won last year’s Palme d’Or, will preside over the jury at this year’s competition.
(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Richard Chang)