Where can you see Pixar's latest heart-warmer alongside 3D hardcore pornography? At Cannes 2015, of course. Here's our critic's pick of the fest
Choosing the five films at Cannes that you most want to see is like choosing the five frankfurters at a hot-dog-eating contest that you most want to eat. The festival is a binge on movies, and any personal preferences you may have in the run-up soon fade in the greasy-fingered dash from one screening room to the next.
That said, it’s impossible to look over the 53 new films in this year’s official selection, plus around the same number in the various sidebars, and not pick out a few must-sees. So here are my five.
1. INSIDE OUT
The genius of the animation studio Pixar was built as much on its willingness to play with far-out concepts as on its mastery of computer graphics and flair for storytelling. If that first quality has been lacking in its output over the past five years, it looks set to return with force in Inside Out, the latest from Pete Docter, the director of Monsters, Inc. and Up.
Docter’s film is set inside the mind of a young girl on the cusp of her teenage years who moves with her family from middle America to the big city, and whose emotions – personified as sprite-like beings behind a mission control-style desk – are rattled by the upheaval.
Its fantasy coming‑of‑age theme owes something to Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, but the execution looks pure, 100-proof Pixar. I saw a portion of the unfinished film when I visited Pixar earlier this year. Based on that, I can’t wait to see the whole thing.
Read Robbie Collin's interview with Pixar head John Lasseter
2. THE TALE OF TALES
This year’s competition line-up has been a little groaned-over by some who have bemoaned its lack of A-list heft. For me, though, it’s the most promising in years: new work from Paolo Sorrentino, Hirokazu Koreeda and Jacques Audiard, plus an honest-to-goodness martial-arts movie from Taiwan’s Hou Hsiao-Hsien, is exactly my idea of a wild time.
But more than all of those, I’m looking forward to The Tale of Tales, the new film from Matteo Garrone, whose crime epic Gomorrah and its satirical follow-up Reality both won the Grand Prix, in 2008 and 2012 respectively. But this seems an abrupt change of pace for the Italian director. The film has been described as a fantasy-horror, with a cast including Salma Hayek and John C Reilly. It looks a little like one of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s ornate Trilogy of Life films from the Seventies, although it could turn out to be a stodgy catastrophe.
This is a thin year for British film-makers at Cannes. We can just about lay claim to a new adaptation of Macbeth, directed by Australia’s Justin Kurzel and starring Michael Fassbender, but there’s another film worth cheering for: Asif Kapadia’s Amy Winehouse documentary, Amy, which explores the making, and tragic breaking, of this once-in-a-lifetime star.
The Winehouse family have dissociated themselves from the film, but a hatchet job seems unlikely: Kapadia is a compassionate film-maker, as anyone who saw his Ayrton Senna documentary Senna will know. That film drew out the human being behind the legend, while allowing the legend itself to shine. If he can repeat the trick here, the results will be unmissable.
4. CEMETERY OF SPLENDOUR
Let’s now plunge into the Un Certain Regard sidebar and deepest art-house territory. Here lurks the latest film from the Thai film-maker Apichatpong Weerasethakul, whose last feature, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, won the Palme d’Or at Cannes five years ago.
Apichatpong’s films are like no one else’s: lush and dreamlike, steeped in folk magic, with spellbinding storylines. How this one compares to his earlier work, we’ll soon find out.
It just wouldn’t be Cannes without an evening of gasping and pearl-clutching in the Salle Debussy. This year’s provocateur du choix is France’s own Gaspar Noé, whose three previous films, I Stand Alone, Irréversible and Enter the Void, all caused much outrage at festivals past.
His latest is Love, a sexually explicit film about a ménage à trois in Paris. I’d quote Noé’s own hopes for the film here, except I wouldn’t want you to read them over breakfast – and I won’t even begin to describe the poster, except to say that it offers an unsubtle visual pun on the phrase “coming soon”. You can smell the scandal already.
The 2015 Cannes Film Festival runs from May 13-24