Cannes Film Festival: The 21 Movies Up For the Palme d'Or Prize

Cannes Film Festival 2016
Cannes film festival general deleguate Thierry Fremaux (L) and President Pierre Lescure (R) hold a press conference to unveil the list of the 21 movies which will be shown in competition for the Palme d'Or, Paris, April 14, 2016. PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty

For the 69th time, Cannes Film Festival is underway in the south of France as directors, producers, actors and executives from across the world's film industries congregate to celebrate movie-making in all its forms.

Each year, Cannes brings out some of Hollywood's biggest stars and 2016 is no exception. Opening night on Wednesday saw the premiere of Woody Allen's new film, Café Society, with stars Kristen Stewart and Blake Lively among attendees. And on Thursday, director Jodie Foster premiered her new movie, Money Monster, with actors Julia Roberts and George Clooney walking the red carpet.

But the real star of the festival is the Palme d'Or prize, the prestigious award given to one feature film that screens in-competition. This year, a jury led by Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller will decide which of the 21 films competing from around the world will win.

The competition films boast a who's who of filmmaking talent including Pedro Almodovar and actor/director Sean Penn. (Although, thankfully not with his awkward interview with El Chapo.)

Let's take a look at this year's Palme d'Or nominees:

Toni Erdmann

  • Country: Germany
  • Director: Maren Ade
  • Cast: Sandra Hüller, Peter Simonischek

A father visits his daughter living abroad and, feeling she has lost her sense of humor, attempts to give her a jolt by playing humorous pranks on her.


  • Country: Spain
  • Director: Pedro Almodovar
  • Cast: Emma Suárez

Julieta has just lost her husband and to make matters worse, her daughter, just turned 18, decides to run away from home. In racing around Madrid to find the tearaway teenager, she discovers she doesn't know her daughter as well as she thinks she does.

American Honey

  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Director: Andrea Arnold
  • Cast: Sasha Lane, Shia LaBeouf

A teenage girl joins a traveling magazine sales team and finds herself immersed in a world of hard partying and the odd skirmish with the law.

Personal Shopper

  • Country: France
  • Director: Olivier Assayas
  • Cast: Kristen Stewart

A ghost story set in the Paris fashion industry. (Really.)

La Fille Inconnue (The Unknown Girl)

  • Country: Belgium
  • Director: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
  • Cast: Adèle Haenel, Fabrizio Rongione

A female doctor tries to find out the identity of a girl who died after being denied surgery.

Juste La Fin Du Monde (It's Only the End of the World)

  • Country: Canada
  • Director: Xavier Dolan
  • Cast: Marion Cotillard, Gaspard Ulliel, Léa Seydoux, Vincent Cassel, Nathalie Baye

A terminally ill writer returns home to announce to his family that he is dying, triggering an emotional reunion.

Ma Loute (Slack Bay)

  • Country: France
  • Director: Bruno Dumot
  • Cast: Fabrice Luchini, Juliette Binoche

When several tourists go missing while lounging on the beach, investigators Machin and Malfoy determine the cause of the disappearances is the mysterious Slack Bay.

Forushande (The Salesman)

  • Country: Iran
  • Director: Asghar Farhadi
  • Cast: Shahab Hosseini, Taraneh Alidoosti

A real-life couple's relationship turns sour as they star alongside each other in a production of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman .

Mal de Pierres (From the Land of the Moon)

  • Country: France
  • Director: Nicole Garcia
  • Cast: Marion Cotillard, Àlex Brendemühl

A woman enters into a marriage of convenience with a man who looked after her during World War II. When she goes to a spa to help deal with her illness, she falls in love with a war veteran.

Rester Vertical (Staying Vertical)

  • Country: France
  • Director: Alaine Guiraudie
  • Cast: Damien Bonnard, Christian Bouillette, Laure Calamy

A filmmaker raises his child alone while looking for inspiration for his next project.


  • Country: United States
  • Director: Jim Jarmusch
  • Cast: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani

Set in Paterson, New Jersey, the story of a bus driver and a poet.

I, Blake Daniel

  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Director: Ken Loach
  • Cast: Natalie Ann Jamieson, Colin Coombs, Dave Johns

A 59-year-old joiner falls ill and requires welfare benefits, but faces multitudes of red tape in order to get government assistance.


  • Country: Brazil
  • Director: Kleber Mendonça Filho
  • Cast: Julia Bernat, Sonia Braga, Humberto Carrão

Widow Clara refuses to leave the Aquarius, a two-storey building in Recife, Brazil, as a company tries to purchase the property. She vows to fight the conglomerate and remains stubborn in staying in her home.


  • Country: Philippines
  • Director: Brillante Mendoza
  • Cast: Jaclyn Jose, Julio Diaz, Felix Roco, Jomari Angeles

A poor mother-of-four and her husband try to make ends meet by selling illegal drugs on the side. When they are arrested, their children try everything in their power to free them from prison.

Bacalaureat (Graduation)

  • Country: Romania
  • Director: Cristian Mungiu
  • Cast: Rares Andrici, Valeriu Andriuta, Eniko Benczo

Set in a small Romanian city, a doctor tries to get his bright daughter into an English university. Just when she's about to take the entrance exam, she is attacked.


  • Country: United States
  • Director: Jeff Nichols
  • Cast: Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga, Michael Shannon

An interracial marriage between Maureen and Richard Loving sees them imprisoned in 1958 Virginia.

Agassi (The Handmaiden)

  • Country: South Korea
  • Director: Park Chan-Wook
  • Cast: Kim Min-hee, Ha Jung-woo

A conman hires a pickpocket to serve as the maid of a wealthy, old aristocratic woman so he can take her wealth. The story takes a strange turn when the woman falls in love with her maid.

The Last Face

  • Country: United States
  • Director: Sean Penn
  • Cast: Charlize Theron, Javier Bardem, Adèle Exarchopoulos

An aid agency director in Africa meets a relief aid doctor in the midst of a revolution. Together they must make tough choices while facing civil unrest.


  • Country: Romania
  • Director: Cristi Puiu
  • Cast: Mimi Branescu, Mirela Apostu, Eugenia Bosânceanu

A family gathers on the anniversary of their father's death.


  • Country: Netherlands
  • Director: Paul Verhoeven
  • Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Virginie Efira, Christian Berkel

A thriller in which a high-powered businesswoman's life changes when she is raped by an unknown assailant. She endeavors to find out the man's identity and vows revenge.

The Neon Demon

  • Country: Denmark
  • Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
  • Cast: Elle Fanning, Jena Malone

An aspiring model moves to Los Angeles and is taken on by a fashion mogul as his muse. She finds herself targeted by youth-obsessed women who are envious of her beauty.

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