Best Movies of All Time + Woody Allen

That Cannes-do spirit
The glitz, the glamour, the gratuitous spectacle; it's all happening at this year's Cannes film festival, currently underway in France. Despite the world medias' tendency to focus on Brangelina or the token blockbuster launch (it's the fourthPirates Of The Caribbeanmovie this year, by the way), there is also a handful of films from the world's greatest living filmmakers premiering. Woody Allen's latestMidnight in Parisopens the festival tonight, but the real attention is on the 20 films in competition for the festival's grand prize; the Palme d'Or. Here are my picks for the six most likely contenders:
Terrence Malick: The Tree of Life©

Everyone loves a recluse, especially when they pop out of the woodwork with masterpieces such asBadlandsandThe New Worldevery seven-years or so. Terrence Malick's latest, starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, sets to be just as beautiful, poetic and complex as his previous films and early buzz has Malick tipped to take home the top prize, 32-years after his first Palme d'Or nomination forDays Of Heaven.
Julia Leigh: Sleeping Beauty©

Oscar-winning director Jane Campion presents this erotic retelling of the classic fairytale. Australian beauty Emily Browning swaps the samurai sword and school girl outfit ofSucker Punchto play a college student drawn into a mysterious, hidden world of prostitution. Written and directed by Australian novelist Julia Leigh, this is a triumph of female filmmaking and the poignant, beautifully crafted story should appeal to the A-List jury.
Nicolas Winding Refn: Drive©

The black sheep, or black Cadillac rather, of the finalists isDrive; an action movie with art house sensibilities. It stars international film festival favourite Ryan Gosling as a Hollywood stunt performer who moonlights as a wheelman and discovers a contract has been put on him after a heist gone wrong. It doesn't sound like the usual Palme d'Or fare, which is exactly why it might work. It also stars Carey Mulligan, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Bryan Cranston and Oscar Isaac.
Lars Von Trier: Melancholia©

Von Trier blew everyone away with his sexually graphic and emotionally horrific filmAntichristat last year's Cannes, which divided critics and audiences alike. His latest and eighth Palme d'Or nominated filmMelancholialooks to be a safer bet with Kristen Dunst and renowned French actress Charlotte Gainsbourg starring as sisters who find their relationship challenged as a nearby planet threatens to collide into the Earth.

Pedro Almodóvar: La Piel que Habito (The Skin that I Inhabit)©

Bizarre. That's the first word that springs to mind when watching excerpts from acclaimed Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar's latest about a plastic surgeon (Antonio Banderas) on the hunt for the men who raped his daughter. Part horror, part thriller, all parts dramatic, this is one of the more left-field, artistic offerings amongst the 20 finalists.

Takashi Miike: Ichemei (Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai)©

The prolific and controversial Japanese filmmaker's newbie will be the first 3D feature to compete in Cannes and is a re-imagining of Masaki Kobayashi's 1962 filmHarakiri. With over 70 titles to his name, Miike's films range from violent and bizarre to dramatic and family-friendly, with this being his first to screen at the famous festival. It's an outside chance to take home any of the major prizes since its biggest coup was getting selected for competition in the first place.
Out of competition films to keep an eye on throughout the course of the festival are Australian serial-killer dramaSnowtown, the controversial Princess Diana documentaryUnlawful Killingand Oscar-winner Gus Van Sant's latestRestless, starring talented Aussie actress Mia Wasikowka. The Cannes film festival wraps on May 22. In the meantime, I suggest you check out theRestlesstrailer below because, put simply, it looks amazing.

2011 Cannes, Death Of A Samurai, Drive, Festival de Cannes, Gus Van Sant, Mia Wasikowska, Pirates of the Caribbean, Restless, Ryan Gosling, Terrence Malick, The Skin That I Inhabit, and more:

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