David Cronenberg deconstructs Hollywood, Tommy Lee Jones goes Western and reclusive New Wave legend Jean-Luc Godard returns in 3-D in films competing at next month's Cannes Film Festival.
Organizers of the famed Riviera festival announced the much-heralded lineup Thursday for the May 14-25 event, including 18 films vying for the top prize -- the Palme d'Or.
Also competing for the top prize are two women directors, Naomi Kawase of Japan and Alice Rohrwacher of Italy; "The Artist" director Michel Hazanavicius of France, Mike Leigh and Ken Loach of Britain, and Belgium's Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, who will be angling for their third Palme d'Or.
But Cannes is about far more than just the top award. Some 49 feature-length films from 28 nations -- including 15 by women directors -- will be shown at the 11-day cinema extravaganza.
"It is important for us that the Cannes selection is a voyage through cinema and the world," Director-General Thierry Fremaux said.
Director Jane Campion, the only woman to win the Palme d'Or, is leading this year's jury festival, which opens with Nicole Kidman starring in the world premiere of director Olivier Dahan's out-of-competition biopic "Grace of Monaco."
In the Palme d'Or chase, Cronenberg's "Maps to the Stars" takes aim at today's media-crazed society, while Jones directs and acts in "The Homesman" alongside Hilary Swank and Godard presents his movie "Adieu Au Language" ("Goodbye to Language").
Canadian actor Ryan Gosling makes his directorial debut among the 19 films competing for the "Un Certain Regard" prize, presented a day before the Palme d'Or to honor up-and-coming or innovative filmmakers.
Gosling's "Lost River" stars Christina Hendricks and will be up against films from Italy's Asia Argento, France's Mathieu Amalric and "Paris, Texas" director Wim Wenders of Germany.
Adding to the international tilt, Chinese actress Gong Li returns to the Cannes red carpet in Zhang Yimou's "Coming Home," screening out of competition.
Cannes bosses took some flack two years ago after no film by any female director was in the competition. Fremaux said at the time that cinema needed to give "greater space" to women, and not just at Cannes.
This year's festival poster features a black-and-white photo of the late Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni -- a conscious choice of a male following criticism that past posters featuring women had unfairly objectified them, Fremaux said.
Last year, in a first, the Palme d'Or was shared by two actresses for "Blue is the Warmest Color" along with its director.