Cannes (AFP): They are starring in “The Idol” — a highly anticipated TV series from Sam Levinson, the director of “Euphoria” — the first two episodes of which will be shown in a world premiere on the Croisette.
The jury, which has already seen 11 of the 21 films in the running, is about to discover “Club Zero” by Austria’s Jessica Hausner and “Dead Leaves” by Finland’s Aki Kaurismaki.
Two-time winner Ruben Ostlund is serving as this year’s jury president, with “Captain Marvel” actress Brie Larson, celebrated American actor Paul Dano and Afghan writer and director Atiq Rahimi among the members of his team.
No film has yet received unanimous acclaim among critics to follow last year’s winner, Ostlund’s class satire “Triangle of Sadness”.
“The Zone of Interest” by British director Jonathan Glazer emerged as an early favourite, with his Auschwitz-set psychological horror film retracing the daily life of the death camp’s commandant Rudolph Hoess and his family to examine the “banality of evil”.
Chinese director Wang Bing was also hailed for his monumental three-and-a-half-hour documentary “Youth (Spring)” looking at the lives of migrant factory workers in China.
American director Todd Haynes is one of the darlings of international critics, with his “May December”, starring Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman, taking the viewer on a rollercoaster of moral ambiguity.
Prize for Hueller?
On the performance side, German actress Sandra Hueller impressed critics with her roles as the Auschwitz commandant’s wife in “The Zone of Interest” and as a widow accused of having killed her husband in “Anatomy of a Fall” by France’s Justine Triet.
Only one film so far has come in for a near unanimous drubbing: Jean-Stephane Sauvaire’s “Black Flies”.
Starring Sean Penn and Tye Sheridan, critics considered the New York paramedic thriller to be too heavy and cliche-ridden.
Ten films will be trying their luck for the Palme d’Or prize, including entries from previous laureate directors, Germany’s cult favourite Wenders and Italy’s Moretti.
Britain’s Ken Loach could become the first to win a third Palme d’Or, after “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” in 2006 and “I, Daniel Blake” in 2016.
The 86-year-old director, who has dedicated his career to portraying political struggles and working-class subjects, has said “The Old Oak” could be his final film.
The return of French director Catherine Breillat is also eagerly awaited, as is the starry cast of Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City” with Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton and Margot Robbie expected to grace the red carpet.
The winners are due to be announced on Saturday evening.