Cannes unveils 2015 lineup, with ‘Carol’ and ‘Sea of Trees’

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The Cannes Film Festival unveiled its official lineup on Thursday, and it looks like a good year for U.S. films, with two in competition: Todd Haynes’ “Carol,” which focuses on a lesbian relationship and stars Cate Blanchett, and Gus Van Sant’s “The Sea of Trees,” starring Austin’s Matthew McConaughey.

They’ll compete for the Palme d’Or along with such well-known auteurs as Canada’s Denis Villeneuve’s “Sicario,” a Mexican drug drama starring Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin; Justin Kruzel’s “Macbeth,” an adaptation of the Shakespeare play starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard; and Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Lobster,” a science-fiction tale starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz.

Also competing will be Norwegian director Joachim Trier’s “Louder Than Bombs,” starring Isabelle Huppert and Jesse Eisenberg; and Paolo Sorrentino’s “Youth,” starring Michael Caine, Rachel Weisz and Jane Fonda.

Not included in Thursday’s announcement was Austin director Jeff Nichols’ “Midnight Special,” which Variety predicted would make the selection. At the South by Southwest Film Festival in March, Nichols showed a clip from the movie, but there were questions about whether it would have its special effects completed in time. The festival never gives reasons for not picking a movie, so the reason for its absence is unclear. But Nichols is a Cannes favorite, having had “Mud” in competition.

The festival announced only 17 films for competition, and it usually has 20 or more, so there are likely to be more films added to the lineup.

Lots of U.S. fare will be screening outside of competition. Those movies include the world premiere of Woody Allen’s “Irrational Man,” starring Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone; Pixar’s cartoon “Inside Out”; and the previously announced premiere of “Mad Max: Fury Road,” with Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron.

Also screening out of competition will be Mark Osborne’s animated “Little Prince,” with the voices of Jeff Bridges, del Toro and Cotillard.

Natalie Portman’s directorial debut, “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” will be a part of the Special Screenings selection. The movie is based on Amos Oz’s autobiography and was shot in Israel.

Roberto Minervini’s “The Other Side,” which focuses on poverty in Louisiana, will screen in the Un Certain Regard sidebar. Minervini’s “Stop the Pounding Heart,” which dealt with a farm family in Texas, was featured at Cannes a couple of years ago. Although born in Italy, he has been making documentaries about the South and West.

Asia will be represented by “Our Little Sister,” from Japan’s Hirokazu Kore-eda; “Mountains May Depart,” from China’s Jia Zhangke; and “The Assassin,” from Taiwan’s Hou Hsiao-hsien.

Italy will be represented by Nanni Moretti’s drama “My Mother,” and Matteo Garrone’s “The Tale of Tales”; along with Sorrentino’s “Youth.”

The Cannes Film Festival begins May 13 and continues through May 24.

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