Even before the Berlin festival is over, and the Oscars remain under wraps, the thoughts of many executives have turned to Cannes.
At this stage, the selectors of Cannes different sections have seen very little, so there is no such thing as a certainty.
Following some of the chatter and looking at which films might have the right credentials comes up with a strongly international selection for Thierry Fremaux and his team to choose from.
From Europe, two-time Grand Prix-winner Matteo Garrone’s period fantasy-horror, “The Tale of Tales,” seems a likely competition contender, with Salma Hayek and Vincent Cassel heading the cast.
Fellow Italian, and previous Palme d’Or-winner Nanni Moretti, has “My Mother” (aka “Mia Madre”) while Paolo Sorrentino’s Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel-starrer “Youth” (aka “La Giovinezza,” aka “In the Future”) is also a strong competition contender.
Buzz is strong for “The Lobster,” the English-language debut of Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos (“Dogtooth”) starring John C. Reilly, Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz and Lea Seydoux.
Athina Tsangari’s “Chevalier,” her follow-up to “Attenberg,” may also land a berth, albeit not necessarily in competition. The hotly anticipated picture sees a group of men trapped on their yacht and who kill time playing a fiercely competitive game.
Radu Muntean (previously in Un Certain Regard with “Yesterday”) may be looking for a step up with his road movie “One Floor Below.”
From the U.K., Ben Wheatley and “High Rise” have high hopes, while Stephen Frears’ Lance Armstrong movie “Icon” could put Ben Foster and Dustin Hoffman on track for a Croisette photo finish.
From Norway, Joachim Trier’s first English-language film, “Louder Than Bombs,” has a very Cannes-can cast including Gabriel Byrne, Isabelle Huppert, Jesse Eisenberg and David Strathairn.
From France, always the last section to close and the decision of a separate selection committee, there and numerous serious possibilities. They include Arnaud Desplechin’s “Nos Arcades,” Maiwenn’s “Mon Roi,” Xavier Giannoli’s “Marguerite,” Guillaume Nicloux’s “The Valley of Love” (which reunites Gerard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve), Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s “Belles Familles” and Philippe Garrel’s “Shadow of Women.”
From Australia, George Miller’s “Mad Max Fury Road” would make for a thrilling opening film.
Pixar’s “Inside/Out” could find an out of competition home.
Brad Bird’s George Clooney and Hugh Laurie-starring sci-fier “Tomorrowland” looks right on paper. So too does Angelina Jolie’s “By the Sea” with a huge French cast including Melvil Poupaud, Melanie Laurent, Richard Bohringer, and Niels Arestrup, alongside Jolie and Brad Pitt.
Also boasting superstar power is Scott Cooper’s “Black Mass,” with Dakota Johnson, Sienna Miller, Johnnie Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juno Temple, Kevin Bacon and Joel Edgerton.
Canada’s Denis Villeneuve could be in Cannes with “Sicario,” an FBI thriller with Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro.
From Latin America, two big Argentine auteurs are expected to have the goods ready in time: Pablo Trapero with suspense thriller “The Clan,” and Santiago Mitre with modern classic remake “La Patota.”
Asia, and Japan in particular, look set to offer the Cannes selectors plenty of choice.
Another previous Palme d’Or winner, Thailand’s Apichatpong Weerasethakul will also have his latest film, “Love in Khon Kaen” ready in time for a mid-May festival outing.
Cannes regulars Hirokazu Kore’eda (“Like Father Like Son”) and Noemi Kawase will be ready with melodrama “Kamakura Story” and “Sweet Red Bean Paste,” respectively. Kiyoshi Kurosawa is also now in post-production on “Journey to the Shore.” Cannes regular Takeshi Kitano has reportedly completed “Ryuzo to 7 Nin no Kobun Tachi,” and indie icon Sono Sion cries out for a midnight madness slot with “Shinjuku Swan.”
Greater China has plenty to offer too. Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s long-in-the-making “The Assassin” may finally be ready, while Jia Zhang-ke’s “Mountains May Depart” is missing only a small part that takes place in Australia, but which has yet to be shot.
Martial arts actioner “The Monk” from Chen Kaige would bring a large and starry cast to the Croisette including Lin Chiling, Vaness Wu, Aaron Kwok and Wang Baoqiang.
John Woo could also be back in Cannes with the international cut of his China-Taiwan epic “The Crossing,” which is set to be completed before the second Chinese installment of the two-part Chinese release is finished in June or July.
Anurag Kashyap, who Cannes claimed as its discovery, could also be in town with his Fox Star Studios-backed “Bombay Velvet,” a very-big budget 1960s noir with Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Karan Johar and Kay Kay Menon among the huge cast.