The 2016 Cannes film festival main field -- also known as in competition -- is out and there are five US films among the field of twenty that are set to be projected at the festival's main venue the Théâtre Lumière. If you do the math, it means there's a 25% chance a US film can walk out with the Palm D'Or this 2016, something that hasn't happened since 2011 when the The Tree of Life by Terrence Malick -- starring Brad Pitt & Sean Penn -- won the top prize.
This year's US nominees for the Cannes Palm d'Or include, a road-trip film about a group of teenagers who travel through the mid-west; an A-list cast for a love story starring Charlize Theron & Javier Bardem, directed by Sean Penn; an interracial marriage set in 1950's based on a true story; a modelling/horror/goreish film starring Elle Fanning -- the younger sister of Dakota Fanning; and the story of a bus driver/poet who's name is Paterson and lives in Paterson, New Jersey.
Sasha Lane and Shia LaBeouf star in this road-trip film about a group of teenagers who party hard and sell magazine subscriptions door-to-door as they criss-cross the mid-west. The film is directed by the English filmmaker Andrea Arnold. Arnold wrote the screenplay inspired by the lives of American youngsters in "Magazine Crews" who travel the United States selling magazine subscriptions, an occupation that caused media controversy and was showcased in articles like this NYTimes article For Youths, a Grim Tour on Magazine Crews.
The film was shot from early 2015 through the summer on location in Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and North Dakota. During the final days of filming, in one scene LaBeouf had to put his head through a glass window and was treated at a hospital for cuts to his head and hand. Also stemming from the movie, the couple became a real-life couple after its was reported Lane, 19, is now living with LaBoeuf, 29.
The Last Face tells the story of an International aid organization set in Liberia who's Director -- played by Charlize Theron -- falls in love with a relief doctor, played by Javier Bardem. The film is directed by Sean Penn, with whom Theron was romantically involved and engaged up until mid-2015 when they broke it off . Interestingly enough, Penn and Theron attended the 2015 Cannes event to promote the premiere of Theron's Mad Max: Fury Road.
This marks Sean Penn's second major directorial work since his 2007 debut Into the Wild which earned Hal Holbrook an Oscar nomination in 2008. Bardem is no stranger to Cannes, where he won Best Actor in the in competition field for his role in Biutiful as a career criminal who learns he has a few months left to live.
Loving is based on the 1950 true-story of Mildred and Richard Loving who were sentenced to prison in Virginia for their interracial marriage. The story of the Loving's set forth a landmark civil rights decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, which invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage.
This marks the second Cannes in competition nomination for director Jeff Nichols, who was nominated at the 2012 Cannes festival for his work on Mud starring Matthew McConaughey, as a fugitive who needs the help of two boys he encounters on a Mississippi River island.
The Neon Demon is a horror film about an aspiring model -- played by Elle Fanning -- who moves to Los Angeles, where she is recruited by a fashion mogul, played by Alessandro Nivola. The film's script was inspired by Elizabeth Báthory, a 16th century Countess labelled by the Guinness World Records as one of the most prolific female murderers.
The film also features appearances by Keanu Reeves, as well as Christina Hendricks widely known for her redhead bombshell role on the TV Drama Mad Men.
The film was directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, a Cannes favorite. Winding Refn won Best Director in 2011 in the in competition field for his work on Drive about a Hollywood stunt driver/heist getaway driver played by Ryan Gosling. And Winding Refn was also nominted in the in competition field in 2014 for his film Only God Forgives, also starring Ryan Gosling as a drug trafficker.
Composer Cliff Martinez worked on the film's music, who also worked with Nicolas Winding Refn in his previous films Only God Forgives and Drive. In addition, Martinez is known for working on music for TV series like The Knick and the film The Normal Heart.
Patterson is the last US film at the 2016 Cannes in competition field which tells the story of a bus driver/poet played by Adam Driver. This is a big shift for Driver who last year stared as the villainous Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and has also appeared on the TV comedy Girls.
The film is directed by Jim Jarmusch who is known for other independent films like Only Lovers Left Alive and Coffee and Cigarettes. But more interestingly, the film marks an important milestone for Amazon.com, in that this its second major picture release, has managed to make the short list at Cannes.