Lifestyle & Belief

Cannes Film Festival kicks off with 'Gatsby,' 'Heli'


Elizabeth Debicki and Leonardo DiCaprio attend the Opening Ceremony and 'The Great Gatsby' premiere during the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival at the Theatre Lumiere on May 15, 2013.


Andreas Rentz

The Cannes Film Festival kicked off Wednesday night in the rain with the European premiere of Baz Luhrmann’s page-to-screen, 3D adaptation of “The Great Gatsby,” already well known to American audiences as it opened to $51 million in the United States last week.

Unlike "The Great Gatsby" and Steven Spielberg, who heads this year's competition jury, the list of 19 films competing for the festival's top prize, the Palme d’Or, is probably a little less familiar to mainstream America.

Last night saw the screening of one of the films in the main competition, Amat Escalante's "Heli," and on Thursday Francois Ozon’s “Jeune et Jolie” will debut. Escalante, a Mexican, directed the film about a brother and sister in the midst of Mexico's drug war. Ozon's French "Jeune et Jolie" depicts a teenager's progression into prostitution over the course of four seasons.

Here are five more international films set to screen this week:

"Only God Forgives" — How might a crime thriller set and filmed in Bangkok and headed by Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn appeal to teenage girls in America? By starring Canadian actor Ryan Gosling.

"Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian)" — Directed by French Arnaud Desplechin, and shot in English in Montana and Michigan, Puerto Rican actor Benicio del Toro plays a Native American World War II veteran who strikes up a friendship with a French psychoanalyst. Here’s a clip:

"Like Father, Like Son" — Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda leads this film about a father who learns his 6-year-old son isn’t actually his; his own child and another baby boy were switched at birth, and now the father has a choice to make.

"Grisgris" — Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun hopes his film, about a man who must ditch his dreams of becoming a dancer to care for his ill uncle by joining the illegal petrol trafficking trade, will be the first African picture to win the Palme d’Or in 38 years.

"Borgman" — Africa’s 38-year Palme d’Or drought might not seem so harsh in the Netherlands; no Dutch film has even been entered in the competition in that same timeframe. Director Alex van Warmerdam has already changed that. Now we’ll wait to see if his dark thriller can take home the top prize.