Jarmusch’s Only lovers left alive is the US directors’ take on the currently trendy vampires theme, featuring Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton) as a stylish globe-trotting vampire couple who’ve been together since the 1860s and have their own sources of top-quality blood.
Polanski’s Venus in furs, named after the book by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch that gave masochism its name, features his wife, Emanuelle Seigner in what he insists is a “satire on sexism” in which Mathieu Amalric’s struggling theatre director auditions for a female lead and is captivated by an actress called Vanda.
Critics, especially French ones, have high hopes that that Abdellatif Kechiche’s La vie d’Adèle (Blue is the warmest colour) will win the Palme d’Or, the first time a French-language film has done so since Laurent Cantet’s Entre les murs in 2008.
Based on a graphic novel, it has grabbed headlines for its explicit lesbian love scenes.
But the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, a comedy about a 1960s folk singer, has also been highly praised, as have Alexander Payne's recession-era Nebraska; a Chinese exposé of exploitation, A Touch of Sin by Jia Zhangke, and Iranian Oscar-winner Asghar Farhadi's The Past.
In competition for the Palme d'Or:
- Un château en Italie (A Castle in Italy), Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi;
- Inside Llewyn Davis, Joel et Ethan Coen;
- Michael Kohlhaas, Arnaud Despallières;
- Jimmy P (Psychotherapy of a plains indian), Arnaud Desplechin;
- Heli, Amat Escalante;
- Le passé, Asghar Farhadi;
- The immigrant, James Gray;
- Grisgris, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun;
- Tian Zhu Ding (A touch of sin), Jia Zhangke;
- Soshite Chichi Ni Naru (Like father, like son), Kore-Eda Hirokazu;
- La vie d'Adèle, Abdellatif Kechiche;
- Wara No Tate (Shield of straw), Takashi Miike;
- Jeune et jolie, François Ozon; Nebraska, Alexander Payne;
- La Vénus à la fourrure, Roman Polanski;
- Behind the candelabra, Steven Soderbergh;
- La grande bellezza (The great beauty), Paolo Sorrentino;
- Borgman, Alex Van Warmerdam;
- Only God forgives, Nicolas Winding Refn.