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Michael Fassbender, Matthew McConaughey and Sir Michael Caine to line-up at Cannes 2015

Sea of Trees

Story by Jack Foley

MICHAEL Fassbender, Matthew McConaughey and Sir Michael Caine are among the actors with films competing at this year’s Cannes Film Festival (2015).

Kicking off on May 13, the annual festival of film will see 17 films compete in competition, with 14 more in Un Certain Regard.

Among the most instantly eye-catching titles are Gus Van Sant’s The Sea of Trees, which sees Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe playing two men who meet by chance in Japan’s world renowned ‘Suicide Forest’, where both have gone to end their lives.

Michael Fassbender, meanwhile, will co-star alongside acclaimed French actress Marion Cotillard in a new adaptation of Macbeth, from up-and-coming Australian director Justin Kurzel, whose previous film was the widely acclaimed Snowtown.

And Cate Blanchett will star alongside Rooney Mara in Carol, based on a novel by The Talented Mr Ripley author Patricia Highsmith. The 1950s new York-set drama is directed by Todd Haynes, of Far From Heaven fame.

Italy’s Paolo Sorrentino makes his return to Cannes with his follow-up to 2013’s The Great Beauty – the English-language drama Youth starring Sir Michael Caine as a retired orchestra conductor who receives an invitation to perform for the Queen.

Fellow Italian Matteo Garrone, of Gomorrah fame, will be premiering his The Tale of Tales, while a third Italian, and Cannes regular, Nanni Moretti, returns with My Mother.

As tradition dictates, France is represented by four directors, including Audiard, Maiwenn, Valerie Donzelli and first-timer Stephane Brize.

Asia is represented by The Assassin, from Taiwan filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien, as well as China’s Jia Zhangke (with Mountains May Depart) and Our Little Sister, from Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda.

While Denis Villeneuve completes a trio of American filmmakers with his latest, Sicario, a crime drama starring Emily Blunt and Benecio Del Toro.

Screening out of competition, Woody Allen’s 45th film, Irrational Man, sees Joaquin Phoenix star as a college professor who starts a relationship with one of his students (Emma Stone).

While two blockbusters are sure to grab plenty of headlines outside of the competition too – Pixar animation Inside Out and the world-wide premiere of Fury Road, the latest chapter in the revived Mad Max franchise, starring Tom Hardy.

There are no films from British directors in the competition line-up, although London-born Asif Kapadia’s new documentary Amy, about late singer Amy Winehouse, will be screening in the Midnight section.

The opening film was previously announced as La Tete Haute (Standing Tall) by French actress-director Emmanuelle Bercot.

Last year’s Palme d’Or was won by Winter Sleep, from Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

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