What a wonderful day to be a film geek.

If you head on over to the Cannes Film Festival website you will find the press
announcing the films that are set to be screened at the festival in
May.  And I don’t know about you, but it looks like this is going to be a
very strong and unpredictable year.

As previously announced, Pixar’s Up will be opening the festival
(out of competition), while Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds will
be gunning for the Palme d’Or.  Normally I would say that Tarantino has a
shot, but with so many great filmmakers in the mix this year, I’m not sure.

Almodovar will be bringing Broken Embraces to the fest, which should
be interesting because any new Almodovar picture is like a mini celebration of
sorts.  Art house phenom Michael Haneke returns with The White
, a story revolving around ritualistic murder happening in a school
in the early 1900s, so be prepared to hear about a lot of audience
walkouts.  Haneke wouldn’t have it any
other way.  Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock, which looks quite
good, will be having its world premiere at the festival, while the triple
threat of Park Chan-Wook (Thirst), Johnnie To
(Vengeance) and Bong Joon Ho (Mother) will undoubtedly impress
audiences with their unique approach to storytelling.  And then there’s
the always eccentric Lars Von Trier, with his take on the horror film in the form of Antichrist, while Sam Raimi will bring his horror film Drag
Me to Hell
to the Midnight Screenings program.

While the films I mentioned were expected by insiders to premiere at the fest,
there were some titles that caught me by surprise.  Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus will premiere out of
competition, along with Alejandro Amenabar’s Agora.  I’ve been
waiting for something new from Amenabar since The Others, so
needless to say I’ll be paying very close attention to the status of this
film.  The announcement that surprised me the most, however, was that the
notorious Gaspar Noe (Irreversible) will be returning to the screen
with Enter the Void.  I know
nothing about the film, which, in this case, is probably for the best.  However, by reputation alone, color me
intrigued.  By the way, keep an eye on Map of the Sounds of Tokyo.  I have a feeling it’s going to surprise a lot of people. 

All in all, it looks like Cannes 2009 is going to be one for the record
books.  Give the press release a gander to see what tickles your fancy,
there’s sure to be something to your liking.  With such a wide array of
talented and challenging filmmakers unveiling their films, it’s going to be
interesting to see what makes it out of the Riviera alive.