The Full 2011 Cannes Film Festival Line-Up!

Mel GibsonWith the unveiling of the official competition and Un Certain Regard lineups for the Cannes Film Festival Thursday morning in Paris came the news that Mel Gibson will be striding up the red carpet next month.

The actor will be out to support Jodie Foster’s The Beaver which has an out-of-competition berth. That news, which was imparted by the festival’s general delegate Thierry Fremaux ahead of announcing the films in official competition, was just one bit of info which appeared to get the assembled journalists all a-Twitter.

The rest of the announcements, while somewhat anticipated, make for a Cannes festival that will be heavy on art house bigwigs and newcomers alike.

The roster of returning talent includes such powerhouse auteurs as Lars von Trier with Melancholia, Pedro Almodovar with The Skin I Live In, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne with Le Gamin au Velo, Aki Kaurismaki with Le Havre, Radu Milhaileanu with La Source des Femmes, Nanni Moretti with We Have a Pope, Paolo Sorrentino with This Must Be the Place and, of course, Terrence Malick with Tree of Life. That film had actually been expected to be in competition last year but was not ready in time. Malick won the directing prize for Days of Heaven when he was last in competition in 1979.

Sean Penn stars in the English-language Sorrentino film and in Tree of Life which also has Brad Pitt – a near-certain bet to make an appearance in Cannes – and Jessica Chastain. Other stars potentially gracing the red carpet in support of their films include Kirsten Dunst and Kiefer Sutherland who star in Melancholia while Pitt’s partner Angelina Jolie is a likely attendee for the Kung Fu Panda sequel, although that film is not among the official selections.

The cast of Woody Allen’s opening night film, Midnight in Paris includes Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and model/singer-turned-first-lady Carla Bruni Sarkozy while Rob Marshall’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is screening out of competition which can only mean that Johnny Depp and French partner Vanessa Paradis will be on hand on the Riviera.

But, while a major element of Cannes is the glitz and glamour, the most important component is the films.

Along with the big name auteurs this year will be new talent like Australian Julia Leigh whose first film Sleeping Beauty has scored a competition berth. There are 19 films in competition and 19 in the complementary Un Certain Regard sidebar. All told, there are six female directors with films across the two sections which marks a first for the festival.

Austrian Markus Schleinzer is no stranger to Cannes having acted as casting director for many of the films of Palme d’Or winner Michael Haneke, but this time he’ll be on the Croisette with his directorial debut, Michael.

Making his first trip to Cannes is cult favorite Nicolas Winding Refn. The Pusher director will be on hand with competition entry Drive which stars Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan.

Robert De NiroOther English-language titles include Sean Durkin’s feature debut, Martha Marcy May Marlene which originally premiered in Sundance and stars Elizabeth Olsen. That film will run in Un Certain Regard. Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk About Kevin with Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly is in competition.

In introducing the selection, which has some notable absences (Dominik Moll’s The Monk and David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method among them), Fremaux remarked that although he and his committees chose 49 films for the official selection, “there were a lot more than 49 films that we liked.”

Cannes runs from May 11-22 with Robert De Niro overseeing the main jury as president. Keep an eye out for’s Cannes blog which will run down the daily festivities direct from the Riviera and the red carpet.

Full list of official selection films:

Opening Film

Midnight in Paris – Woody Allen


The Skin I Live In – Pedro Almodovar

House of Tolerance – Bertrand Bonello

Pater – Alain Cavalier

Footnote – Joseph Cedar

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia – Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Le Gamin au Velo – Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

Le Havre – Aki Kaurismaki

Hanezu No Tsuki – Naomi Kawase

Sleeping Beauty – Julia Leigh

Poliss – Maiwenn

The Tree of Life – Terrence Malick

La Source des Femmes – Radu Mihaileanu

Hara-kiri: Death of a Samurai – Takashi Miike

We Have a Pope – Nanni Moretti

We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lynne Ramsay

Michael – Markus Schleinzer

This Must Be the Place – Paolo Sorrentino

Melancholia – Lars Von Trier

Drive – Nicolas Winding Refn

Out of Competition

The Conquest – Xavier Durringer

The Beaver – Jodie Foster

The Artist – Michel Hazanavicius

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – Rob Marshall

Un Certain Regard

Restless – Gus Van Sant (opening film)

The Hunter “ Bakur Bakuradeze

Halt auf freier Strecke – Andreas Dresen

Hors Satan – Bruno Dumont

Martha Marcy May Marlene – Sean Durkin

The Snows of Kilamanjaro – Robert Guedeguian

Skoonheid – Oliver Hermanus

The Day He Arrives – Hong Sang-soo

Bonsai – Cristian Jimenez

Tatsumi – Eric Koo

Arirang – Kim Ki-duk

Where Do We Go Now? – Nadine Labaki

Loverboy – Catalin Mitulescu

Yellow Sea – Na Hong-jin

Miss Bala – Gerardo Naranjo

Trabalhar Cansa – Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra

L’Exercice de l’Etat – Pierre Schoeller

Toomelah – Ivan Sen

Oslo, August 31 – Joachim Trier

Midnight Screenings

Wu Xia – Chan Peter Ho-Sun

Dias de Gracia – dir. Tekla Taidelli

Special Screenings

Labrador – Frederikke Aspock

Le Maitre des Forges de l’Enfer – Rithy Panh

Michel Petrucciani – Michael Radford

Tous Au Larzac – Christian Rouaud