To celebrate the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, online cinema MUBI has programmed an eclectic mix of past Cannes masterpieces

It's hard to think of a more fitting way to celebrate the 68th Cannes Film Festival than by programming a retrospective of movies by some of its brightest lights. Cannes, after all, thrives on celebrating the longevity of brilliant careers and enshrining directors in the hall of fame that is the cherished Palme d’Or.

To promenade down the Croisette of previous decades at Cannes is to find out what made those directors great in the first place.

In the case of Miklós Jancsó’s deservedly famous The Round-Up (1965) – an eerily stark, angular Hungarian parable about the treatment of revolutionaries in 19th-century internment camps – there’s a half-centenary to note since it first competed for the Palme d’Or. This year it’s playing in the Cannes Classics section, but those unable to venture to the Riviera will find a simultaneous MUBI airing from May 14.

Cannes classic: The Round-Up Credit: The Kobal Collection/The Kobal Collection

The 52-year-old Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda is a Cannes stalwart by now – his comic-book adaptation, Our Little Sister, will be his fourth picture in competition. His 2008 film Still Walking, which premieres on MUBI on May 13, is actually one that Cannes missed.

It’s one of his most beautifully modest pictures, about a family reunion in which the drowning of the eldest son 15 years before is annually commemorated. With an emotionally repressed theme and a becalmed, reflective style, it’s the film which most makes the case for Kore-eda becoming the great heir to Yasujirô Ozu, the grandfather of the homu dorama or Japanese “family drama”; it’s also an ideal entry point into the former’s work.

Dogtooth, meanwhile, is more like the homu dorama gone mad. Showing on MUBI from May 15 and declared “visually striking” by Telegraph reviewer Sukhdev Sandhu, this extraordinary tale of decades-long house arrest earned director Yorgos Lanthimos the reputation of a Greek new-wave maverick.

It's hard to think of a more fitting way to celebrate the 68th Cannes Film Festival than by programming a retrospective of movies by some of its brightest lights

Three adult children have been raised in a compound, with no awareness whatsoever of the outside world, and the weirdest form of home schooling: they think the word “zombie” denotes a small yellow flower, and have been led to believe that stray cats are deadly predators.

The conceit manages to be both dazzlingly funny and acutely disturbing – in fact, the more you think about the scenario, both during Dogtooth and long after, the creepier it gets. This year, Lanthimos has been bumped up to the main competition with his English-language debut The Lobster, which is widely tipped to win the Palme D’Or.

Nanni Moretti, a previous Palme d’Or winner returning for the seventh time to competition, deals with the fatal illness of a parent in his cosy-looking new picture My Mother, which has already been released to warm reviews in Italy.

Personal drama: Nanni Moretti's The Son’s Room Credit: ALLSTAR/Allstar/MIRAMAX

Critics are likely to hark back to his 2001 Palme d’Or winner, The Son’s Room, which shows on MUBI from May 17. It tells the story of a bourgeois Italian family whose boy dies in a scuba-diving accident and is the film which best epitomises what Moretti does: a small-scale, personal cinema of keen feeling and unobtrusive style, in which the director coddles our sense of familiarity by playing one of the main characters himself. A second Palme d’Or would be a surprise, given some of the heavyweight stylists he’s up against, but you never know.

Doubtless turning their noses up at Moretti, dyed-in-the-wool cinephiles at Cannes are more likely to make a beeline for Arabian Nights, an epic by Portugal’s Miguel Gomes, based on One Thousand and One Nights, which he has split into three instalments of two hours each. These are premiering in the Director’s Fortnight sidebar.

Delightful: Our Beloved Month of August Credit: Rex Features/Everett/REX Shutterstock

Gomes is best-known for Tabu, his rhapsodic silent-movie account of colonial romance from 2012. Before this, though, he made a delightful curio called Our Beloved Month of August, which is available for MUBI subscribers to watch from May 16. It’s a sort of docu-fiction crossover, featuring a director called Gomes, and a lot of hanging out at music festivals, before a plot of sorts kicks off.

Romania’s Corneliu Porumboiu, meanwhile, a Cannes veteran with 12:08 East of Bucharest (2006) and Police, Adjective (2009), premieres his new film The Treasure at this year’s film festival, but you can simultaneously check out The Second Game (2014) on MUBI from May 22, an unusual football doc which initially bowed in Berlin’s experimental strand.

It plays as a running commentary between the director and his referee father, Adrian, over grainy, snowy footage of a not-especially-epochal 1988 match between his country’s leading teams, FC Dinamo and FC Steaua. The uneventfulness of the game we’re watching, and Adrian’s scepticism about why it should remotely be of interest, become running jokes at the expense of slow cinema.

The experience of watching The Second Game feels several worlds away from the surroundings of Cannes, unlike the work of French director Stéphane Brizé, whose new film The Measure of a Man is in competition for this year’s Palme d’Or.

Elegant: Mademoiselle Chambon Credit: Rex Features/Rezo/Everett/REX Shutterstock

You can get a taste for Brize’s elegant style by way of Mademoiselle Chambon, his 2009 film showing on MUBI from May 23. French actor Vincent Lindon plays a married builder poised on the brink of an affair with Sandrine Kiberlain’s demure, violin-playing teacher. It’s a delicate, quizzical infidelity drama which makes the genre’s riskiest move – evoking Brief Encounter and getting away with it.

MUBI’s Cannes line-up:

May 13: Still Walking, dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda

May 14: The Round-Up, dir. Miklós Jancsó

May 15: Dogtooth, dir. Yorgos Lanthimos

May 16: Our Beloved Month of August, dir. Miguel Gomes

May 17: The Son's Room, dir. Nanni Moretti

May 20: Coming Attractions, dir. Peter Tscherkassky

May 21: The Queen of Hearts, dir. Valerie Donzelli

May 22: The Second Game, dir. Corneliu Porumboiu

May 23: Mademoiselle Chambon, dir. Stéphane Brizé

May 24: Rocco and His Brothers, dir. Luchino Visconti

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