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GO WEST: Dust off those cowboy boots. Surveying the lineup of next month’s Cannes Film Festival revealed in Paris on Thursday, one can’t help but notice: The Western is having a revival. “The Homesman,” for one, will compete for the Palme d’Or. Starring Oscar winners Hilary Swank and Meryl Streep, the film was written and directed by Tommy Lee Jones, who also took the leading role. “This is not your typical Western with Native Americans and the cavalry,” cautioned the festival’s artistic director Thierry Frémaux, but rather a look at European immigrants settling in the new land.
At Cannes, which runs from May 14 to 25, the Wild West also figures in Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s “Deux Jours, Une Nuit,” starring Marion Cotillard — “a Belgian Western,” to quote Frémaux on the genre. “I’ll give you time to reflect on what that is,” he mused.
Separately, Mads Mikkelsen will make an appearance opposite Eva Green in Danish western “The Salvation” by Kristian Levring.
The festival also promises a flash flood of cinema’s young and beautiful, presenting a bonanza for fashion brands looking for red-carpet exposure.
Ryan Gosling will make his directing debut with “Lost River,” a dark drama with fantasy allure. Robert Pattinson will star opposite Julianne Moore in David Cronenberg’s “Maps to the Stars,” which takes a satirical look at Hollywood and the country’s rather obsessive relationship with it, while Gaspard Ulliel will take the lead in Bertrand Bonello’s “Saint Laurent.” The biopic is said to feature “a surprise cameo,” though Frémaux would not give away the name.
Kristen Stewart is expected to walk the red carpet alongside Juliette Binoche for Olivier Assayas’ “Sils Maria”; Jessica Chastain will represent “Eleanor Rigby” by Ted Benson with Isabelle Huppert, and Bérénice Bejo, who scooped the Palme for best actress in 2013, will compete with her husband Michel Hazanavicius’ “The Search.”
Frémaux was eager to point out that two female directors were selected for the main competition — Italian Alice Rohrwacher (“Le Meraviglie”) and Japanese Naomi Kawase (“Two Windows”), who sat on the festival’s jury panel in 2013.
He noted this year’s opening movie, “Grace of Monaco” starring Nicole Kidman, will compete “in the only existing version — that of the filmmaker,” he said firmly, alluding to rumors that suggested that a cut version of the biopic was in the works.
Finally, after 13 years of absence, Jean-Luc Godard will return to Cannes with “Adieu au langage.” “He promised he would show up, but with him you never know,” said Frémaux about the elusive cofounder of the Nouvelle Vague.
Godard will face fierce competition from the sprouting talent on the African continent, which this year will be represented by Mali-raised Abderrahmane Sissako (“Timbuktu”) and Philippe Lacôte (“Run”) from Ivory Coast.
The names of the jury members, presided over by director Jane Campion, are slated to be revealed next week.