5 must-see movies of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival
From the animated to the dramatic, here are a handful of expertly crafted films having their world premieres at Festival de Cannes.
Get ready to offer your best "bonjour et bienvenue" to the 2015 Cannes International Film Festival. The annual event, which takes place each May on the French Riviera, is one of the most prestigious and longest-running celebrations of cinema in the world. This year's 68th Cannes, from May 13-24, features an incredible array of exciting premieres sweeping across genres dramatic to light-hearted.
Below are five must-see films making their premiere at Cannes. Whether you're a lucky attendee or a cinephile eager to glimpse what's coming soon to a theater near you, there's bound to be something that will reinforce your love of the movies.
1. 'Inside Out'
Pixar's 'Inside Out' tells the story of a little girl and the very-real emotions inside her head that help her navigate life. (Photo: Pixar)
Making its world premiere at Cannes, Pixar's "Inside Out" is shaping up to be yet another giant hit. Whereas previous classics from the animation studio have shown us the worlds of monsters, bugs and toys, this latest effort takes us inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl. Emotions such as joy, sadness, anger, disgust and fear are all given life as characters attempting to help lead the girl through her life.
Early impressions have "Inside Out" trending with the same heart, comedy and visual beauty that combined to make Pixar's 2009 film "Up" such a celebrated success. Without a doubt, this will likely be one of the more warmly received films to come out of Cannes this year.
'Afterthought' from director Elad Keidan tells the story of two men – one going up Carmel Mountain and another coming down, and how their fates intertwine. (Photo: Afterthought/EZ Films)
Described as an existential comedy, Israeli director Elad Keidan’s "Afterthought" is set in the beautiful Mediterranean city of Haifa in Israel. The story focuses on two men dealing with completely separate issues while simultaneously ascending and descending the city's seemingly endless steps up Mount Carmel. As the synopsis states, will the two collide or pass through one another?
"Walking is a big part of my life, giving me a sense of freedom," writes Keidan. "Born in Haifa, I’ve often walked up and down Mount Carmel and I’ve always wanted to tell a story that would encompass the whole city, top-to-bottom." The project is Keidan’s first feature film since winning at Cannes in 2008 with his short film "Anthem."
3. 'La Tête Haute'
'La Tête Haute' tells the story of a troubled youngster named Maloney. (Photo: La Tête Haute)
For only the second time in the history of Cannes, the festival will open with a film by a female director. Emmanuelle Bercot of France directed "La Tête Haute" ("Standing Tall") which tells the story of a juvenile delinquent named Maloney, his upbringing from ages 6 to 18, and those in the social justice system trying to save him. Thierry Frémaux, General Delegate of the Event, said that while the opening choice may be surprising (Cannes has a habit of kicking off with more glitzy Hollywood films), the international appeal of the topic makes "La Tête Haute" uniquely attractive.
"Emmanuelle Bercot’s film makes important statements about contemporary society, in keeping with modern cinema," he said. "It focusses on universal social issues, making it a perfect fit for the global audience at Cannes."
4. Sea of Trees
Director Gus Van Sant's latest drama staring Matthew McConaughey takes place in Japan's Aokigahara forest, a 14-square-mile historic site at the base of Mount Fuji. The location, known for its labyrinth of dense, seemingly unending trees, also carries an infamous reputation for the large number of people who take their own lives there annually.
In "Sea of Trees," McConaughey plays a depressed American who travels to Aokigahara to end it all, only to befriend a Japanese man (played by Ken Watanabe) intent on doing the same. The two reconsider their actions and then, completely lost, must find a way out of the forest and back to civilization. “I say another title for this film is ‘You’ve got to go through annihilation to get to salvation,'" McConaughey recently told Entertainment Weekly. "It’s one hell of a survival story.”
5. Ice and Sky
Director Luc Jacquet's 'Ice and Sky' offers a powerful look at the origins of climate change science – and the hope for mankind to tackle the issue before it's too late. (Photo: Ice and Sky)
Closing out the festival is the powerful "Ice and Sky," a documentary from Oscar-winning French director Luc Jacquet. The film focuses on glaciologist Claude Lorius, one of the first scientists to warn the world about global warming and man's impact on the climate. Today, at age 82, Lorius says he remains hopeful that mankind can still respond to avoid disaster. "Men will find the solidarity that will lead the people living on this planet to another type of behavior," he said.
As for director Jacquet, he's moved and thankful that Cannes will conclude with such a powerful and important topic. "Showing this film in the world's largest film festival is contributing to this huge challenge facing humanity as quickly as possible to secure its future and the future of the planet," he said.
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