Cannes unveils film line-up, selfie-free red carpet

Cate Blanchett, pictured in March 2015. Lisa Maree Williams / Getty Images

LONDON — The 68th Cannes Film Festival will feature a lesbian love story starring Cate Blanchett, a Shakespearean tragedy with Michael Fassbender and films from cinema heavyweights including China’s Jia Zhangke, Italy’s Paolo Sorrentino and the United States’ Gus Van Sant.

It won’t feature a lot of selfies, if organizers have their way.

While stars including Charlize Theron, Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz and Benicio del Toro will be welcomed on the red carpet at the French Riviera extravaganza, selfies and selfie sticks most definitely won’t.

Announcing the festival lineup Thursday, Cannes director Thierry Fremaux called selfies “ridiculous and grotesque.”

“We’re not going to ban selfies. We don’t have police powers,” Fremaux said. But he strongly urged festivalgoers to keep the red carpet a selfie-free zone.

Fremaux announced 17 films that will be competing for prizes at the May 13-24 festival, chosen from more than 1,800 submissions. They include Jia’s Mountains May Depart, Sorrentino’s Youth – a film about age starring Michael Caine – and Van Sant’s forest feature The Sea of Trees, starring Matthew McConaughey.

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Returning Cannes veterans include Gomorrah director Matteo Garrone, with The Tale of Tales, starring John C. Reilly and Salma Hayek; South Korea’s Kore-eda Hirokazu with sibling saga Our Little Sister; and France’s Audiard with Dheepan, the story of a Tamil refugee in France.

READ MORE: Denis Villeneuve film to compete at Cannes festival

Fassbender and Marion Cotillard star in a film version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth by Australian director Justin Kurzel.

Also in the lineup are films by Italy’s Nanni Moretti, Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien and American Todd Haynes, whose entry Carol is a 1950s-set love story between two women starring Blanchett and Rooney Mara.

Cannes organizers have faced criticism for not selecting more films by female directors. For the first time in more than 25 years, this year’s festival will be opened by a film by a woman, French director Emmanuelle Bercot’s drama La Tete Haute.

Two more female filmmakers are in competition: Valerie Donzelli with Marguerite and Julien and Maiwenn with Mon Roi (My King). Both directors are French.

Geographically, the entries range from Europe to China, South Korea, the U.S. and Mexico, setting of Denis Villeneuve’s narco-crime drama Sicario.

Genres range from drama to martial-arts thriller to science fiction rom-com – in the form of The Lobster, a film by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos starring Weisz and Colin Farrell that Fremaux called incomprehensible, in a good way.

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Fremaux said several more films will be added to the competition before the festival opens.

Films in the lineup but not competing for prizes include Allen’s campus comedy Irrational Man, starring Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix, George Miller’s dystopian thriller Mad Max: Fury Road and Asif Kapadia’s documentary about the late singer Amy Winehouse, Amy.

Pixar, whose buoyant Up opened the festival in 2009, returns with Inside Out, in which an adolescent girl’s thoughts and emotions become animated characters.

Actress Portman makes her feature-film directorial debut with A Tale of Love and Darkness, based on a memoir by Israeli writer Amos Oz.

Winners of the Palme d’Or and other prizes will be chosen by a jury led by directors Joel and Ethan Coen.

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