20 Amazing Cannes 2011 Films

Et Maintenant On Va O? (And Now We Go Where?)

In A Nutshell: Wryly tragicomic, faintly musical vision of a Lebanese village torn apart by a tragic and unnecessary war.

Its womenfolk resolve to join forces, regardless of faith, to protect more fundamental values from the encroaching male-driven ravages of separatism.

Take Note: Director Nadine Labaki's first feature, Caramel , earned high praise for its cast of non-professional actors - a technique repeated here. Un Certain Regard.


In A Nutshell: Aussie director Ivan Sen's newest. Dreaming of a 'gangster' life, ten-year-old Daniel is expelled from school.

He soon learns that gang reality isn't peachy in Toomelah, a indigenous community on the remote NSW/Queensland border.

Take Note: While Sen's 2002 feature debut Beneath Clouds was a minor indie hit, his better-known documentary work - such as his Area 51-shot Dreamland (2010) - finds a real voice here. Un Certain Regard.


In A Nutshell: Lars von Trier's non-linear psychological disaster drama boasts Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg, two sisters drifting slowly apart even as Earth itself plots a collision course.

Take Note: Von Trier, in typically arch fashion, has claimed this is his first film to feature an unhappy ending. Right, so...er, Dogville ? Antichrist ?! Oh Lars, you card.

Wouldn't bat an eyelid if it ends with group hugs in a sunny field. Main competition.


In A Nutshell: Delightfully downbeat animated odyssey helmed by Eric Khoo. Based on A Drifting Life , the epic manga memoir from veteran Japanese comic book hero Yoshihiro Tatsumi.

Take Note: The drawing style of the graphic novel, released as two volumes in 2008, has been impressively adhered to.

Tatsumi himself provides narration, too, so the experience should do the 840-page original justice. Un Certain Regard.


In A Nutshell: Mia Wasikowska (Tim Burton's Alice ) joins Henry Hopper in front of camera for Gus Van Sant's latest .

Pretty misfits, terminal illness, Japanese WWII ghosts: heady ingredients, but is this a life-affirming or a heartbreaking brew?

Take Note: Van Sant's important follow-up to Milk (2008) sees Bryce Dallas Howard and dad Ron co-producing, with Danny Elfman on musical duties. Opening the Un Certain Regard strand.

Sleeping Beauty

In A Nutshell: Screenwriter Julia Leigh makes her directorial debut, the second Aussie film at Cannes 2011.

This erotic indie drama looks a sinister affair; whiffs of countryman Peter Weir's 1975 Picnic At Hanging Rock linger in its languid pace and muted, haunting visuals.

Take Note: Emily Browning's CV takes another unpredictable turn after Ghost Ship , Ned Kelly , Lemony Snicket and Sucker Punch - one to watch? Un Certain Regard.

Ichimei (Hara-Kiri: Death Of A Samurai)

In A Nutshell: Talking of unpredictability, here's the new offering from Japanese genre-mangler Takashi Miike ( Audition , Ichi The Killer ).

Here he plumps for exploring the legend-infused tale of an honourable but broke 17th-century ronin, seeking permission to end it all on an arrogant feudal king's estate.

Take Note: A remake of a 1962 version by Masaki Kobayashi, this is the first full-3D project to compete in the main selection.

L'Apollonide - Souvenirs De La Maison Close

In A Nutshell: Bertrand Bonello's sumptuous early-20th-century drama unfolds in the visually lush environs of a Parisian brothel.

Translates as House Of Tolerance , but you'll win little Croisette cred for calling it that...

Take Note: Bonello's oeuvre has solid Cannes form - Le Pornographe scooped the FIPRESCI gong in 2001, and the gender-bending Tiresia was a Palm d'Or nominee in 2003. Main competition.

The Beaver

In A Nutshell: Mel Gibson plays a toy company CEO, but Big this ain't - in the grip of clinical depression, he's communicating with his loved ones via a ropey glove puppet.

Take Note: Jodie Foster directs and stars as the wearied wife, and Kyle Killen's script topped the 2008 unproduced Blacklist.

This should've seen light sooner; Gibson's alleged antics are widely cited as the reason it didn't. Showing out of competition.

Miss Bala

In A Nutshell: An action drama based on the story of Mexican model and would-be beauty queen Laura Zúñiga.

Crowned Miss Sinaloa in 2008, her title was stripped after an arrest for alleged ties to a drug cartel (later overturned).

Take Note: Gerardo Naranjo's fourth feature, Miss Bala was co-produced by Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna's company, Canana Films. Un Certain Regard.