Cannes Film Festival Unveils 2012 Competition Lineup With Strong U.S. Presence

UPDATED: President Gilles Jacob and artistic director Thierry Fremaux revealed the titles for the festival's 65th edition on the French Riviera, including films from David Cronenberg, Lee Daniels, Ken Loach and Michael Haneke.

PARIS -- Walter Salles' On the Road, Lee Daniels' The Paperboy and Michael Haneke's Amour will join Rust and Bone by Jacques Audiard and David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis for a trip to the 65th annual Cannes Film Festival.

Also screening in the competition are Holy Motors by Leos Carax, The Angels' Share by Ken Loach, John Hillcoat’s Lawless, starring Shia LaBoeuf, Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce and Gary Oldman alongside Jessica Chastain in a Prohibition-era drama. Other U.S. titles include Jeff Nichols' Matthew McConaughey-Reese Witherspoon starrer Mud and Andrew Dominik's Killing Them Softly with Brad Pitt and Ray Liotta. All in all, U.S. filmmakers will have a strong presence on the Croisette this year.

The big Hollywood studio tentpole in play at Cannes will be DreamWorks Animation's Madgascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted.

President Gilles Jacob and artistic director Thierry Fremaux announced the official selection for the May 16-27 festival at a press conference in Paris late Thursday morning.

While the 2011 competition lineup was light on U.S. directors and star power, the Cannes team certainly made up for it this year. “American cinema has come back relatively en force,” Fremaux said.

Pitt, Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard and McConaughey -- who both have multiple projects in Cannes -- will add glam to the fest as they make their way down the world's most famous cinema catwalk.

Joining them in the competition will be veteran French filmmaker Alain Resnais, who is approaching 90. He says it all with the title of his new film, Vous N’avez encore rien vu (You Haven’t Seen Anything Yet), an adaptation of Jean Anouilh’s Eurydice, starring Cotillard and Cannes veteran Mathieu Amalric.

The Weinstein Co. is one of the winners of the lineup announcements as it has U.S. rights to both Lawless and Killing Them Softly. And FilmNation backed both Lawless and Mud, while Inferno put together Killing Them Softly.

But some big names didn't make the program. Fremaux addressed the notable absence of Terrence Malick's Burial from the lineup. "There were a lot of rumors," he said. "It's not ready."

International media gathered at the Grand Hotel Intercontinental to hear Fremaux announce which titles would be screened on the French Riviera alongside Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, the previously announced opening-night film from Focus Features, which will also be in competition.

Amid the excitement and red carpet glitz, the festival also will pay homage to director Claude Miller, who died April 4, with a special closing-night screening of his last film, Therese Desqueyroux, starring Gilles Lellouche and Audrey Tautou.

Among the special screenings announced Thursday are The Central Park Five by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahan and Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir by Laurent Bouzereau.

The out of competition film slate includes Io e te (Me and You) from Bernardo Bertolucci.

Italian director Nanni Moretti, who scooped a Palme d’Or for The Son’s Room in 2001, will preside over the jury. However, Fremaux and Jacob did not immediately announce the rest of the jury Thursday. The Artist star Berenice Bejo will host the fest's opening and closing ceremonies.

Fremaux chose from the 1,779 titles submitted for consideration this year and picked 54 films from 26 countries. "A Cannes selection is a trip through the cinema and through the world,” he said Thursday.
Marilyn Monroe graces the festival's 2012 poster, blowing out a candle on a birthday cake. The event will mark its 65th anniversary with a Hollywood-flavored big-screen birthday cake topped with French frosting. Jacob’s documentary Une journee particuliere (A Particular Day), co-directed with Samuel Faure, will have a special screening in its very own "65th anniversary" category May 20, complete with a celebration of the fest’s birthday.

Kidman will head to the Croisette with Paperboy alongside co-stars McConaughey and Zac Efron.

Audiard’s Rust and Bone stars Cotillard as a marine park worker who has a horrible accident and forms a relationship with a homeless man. Cotillard will be a force on the Croisette this year, also appearing in Resnais' film.

Haneke again will declare his love for the Festival de Cannes with his new film Amour, about an elderly couple dealing with the wife’s stroke, with former Cannes jury president Isabelle Huppert playing their daughter. Sony Classics picked up North American distribution rights to the title just a few days before the announcement.

Dominik’s mobster film Killing Them Softly will bring Pitt to the Croisette for the director’s follow-up to 2007's The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. And Nichols' Mud, a coming-of-age drama set in Arkansas, is his anticipated follow-up to last year's Take Shelter,

Paris will be center stage in Carax’s much buzzed-about competition film starring Denis Lavant, Michel Piccoli, Kylie Minogue and Eva Mendes.

Former Palme d’Or winner Loach will be back in town to share his latest film with the world, as will fellow winner Abbas Kiarostami with the Japan-set Like Someone in Love.
Meanwhile, Im Sang-soo will follow up his critically acclaimed soap-like thriller The Housemaid with another thriller, The Taste of Money. And Mexican director Carlos Reygadas’ semi-autobiographical Post Tenebras Lux also will be joining the film fiesta. “We missed him in Cannes,” Fremaux said.

In true French festival fashion, last-minute additions are expected to be announced in the coming days.

Here is the full Cannes lineup.