The British are coming
Jimmy's Hall and the Timothy Spall-starring J.M.W. Turner biopic Mr. Turner respectively (with Spall already favourite with the bookies for the Best Actor prize). Both acclaimed directors have had success in the past on the Cannes Croisette and also are hugely appreciated in Europe (more so than in their native British, so the festival's organisers would have us believe) and they've also both proved themselves adept at handling the discipline of historical drama. It may end up being more Leigh and Loach than Leigh versus Loach, but it's still great to see two of the UK's finest directorial veterans flying the flag for our own industry.
Will the West be winning
Despite the genre's flagging commercial appeal, remarkably there are three self-described 'westerns' in Competition at Cannes this year. Two-time Palme d'Or winners the Dardenne brothers return with their cheekily characterised 'Belgian western' Two Days, One Night, starring Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard (with Dahan's La Vie en Rose no less) as a woman who must persuade her colleagues to give up their bonuses so she can save her job; a kind of credit crunch High Noon. Meanwhile, Mads Mikkelsen rides again (following last year's Michael Kohlhaas) as a Danish exile who must avenge the killing of his family in Kristian Levring's The Salvation. Elsewhere, Hollywood royalty comes to town with Tommy Lee Jones' second directorial outing, The Homesman. With Hilary Swank starring alongside Jones, word is already positive on his film being a possible Palme contender.
Actors behind the camera in Un Certain Regard
The arthouse heavyweights
Turning away slightly from last year's more commercial lineup, the Croisette will naturally be hosting some strong arthouse contenders. Abel Ferrara unveils his Dominique Strauss-Kahn drama Welcome to New York, starring Gerard Depardieu as the disgraced former IMF head. David Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars will vie with Clouds of Sils Maria by Olivier Assayas, as will Julianne Moore/Juliette Binoche as the fading stars beset by younger rivals Mia Wasikowska and Kristen Stewart (with Robert Pattinson also lurking in the former). Already a hot favourite for the Palme d'Or, Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Winter Sleep may be the longest film of the festival, but also arrives with grand expectations following his mesmerising Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. Likewise, celebrated Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev's Leviathan also has many critics in a lather. Set in an unnamed country and based on the Book of Job, Zvyagintsev's is the last film to screen in competition and could prove a tricky obstacle for any frontrunner.
The 67th Cannes Film Festival takes place from 14-25 May 2014. For more Cannes coverage, simply follow this link.