Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender in Macbeth (2015)

For most people, Cannes is seen as the pinnacle of glamour and excess; as celebrities from the world over descend on a small city on the French Riviera to promote themselves or their respective film/television programme/autobiography.

Among all of the hysteria, it is hard to forget that there’s an enviable number of fantastic films to be watching. Here are just some of our picks of what you should take the time to see from the festival’s Official Selection when they hit your local cinema.

SAUL FIA Lázló Nemes | The only debut feature in the running for the main prize, Saul Fia tells the harrowing story of a Hungarian prisoner in Auschwitz as he attempts to rescue the body of the boy he recognizes as his son; in order to give him a proper burial. The selection committee must have great faith in Saul Fia. According to those who have seen it, it’s a fantastic piece of work.

THE LOBSTER Yorgos Lanthimos | The obscure director of the fantastic Dogtooth returns with his third feature and his English language debut. The Lobster stars Colin Farrell, John C. Reilly and Lea Seydoux among others, bringing in star power for Lanthimos’ first time. Set in a dystopian world in which lonely people unable to find partners are transformed into animals and sent into the woods, it looks to be either riotously funny or discomforting. Knowing Lanthimos, this should be a fitting mix of both.

IL RACCONTO DEI RACCONTI or TALE OF TALES Matteo Garrone | After winning the Grand Prix with ‘Gomorrah’ seven years ago, Matteo Garrone returns with a loose adaptation of a collection of 17th century fairy tales. Shot entirely on location in Italy, Tale of Tales looks like it will a beautiful venture into a darker world of storytelling.

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DHEEPAN Jacques Audiard | Audiard’s last feature, Rust and Bone premiered at Cannes to a ten minute standing ovation. A tough act to follow? For Cannes standards, perhaps not; but with the return of several prestigious filmmakers and with Rust and Bone’s doyenne (Marion Cotillard) appearing elsewhere in the official line up Audiard has a good chance at creating something brilliant and winning the Palme d’Or. This story of a Tamil immigrant to the Parisian suburbs has been kept under wraps for a long time. Not much will be known until its premiere in the second half of the festival’s run.

Carol

CAROL Todd Haynes | Prior to announcement, Carol felt like a surefire feature in this year’s competition lineup. The return of previous collaborators Todd Haynes and the brilliant Cate Blanchett, this has been listed as Oscar bait since its first announcement. Following a young department store clerk (Rooney Mara) and her serious infatuation with an older, married woman. If anything seems likely, it would be Blanchett picking up the Best Actress prize.

THE SEA OF TREES Gus Van Sant | A film that sold its rights at last year’s Marche, The Sea of Trees sees the ominous return of Gus Van Sant to the screen following 2009’s award scooper Milk.Starring Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe, it follows a man’s confrontation of mortality when he meets another man facing his own death in Japan’s Aokigahara Forest, notorious as a world suicide spot. Again, this has Oscar bait written all over it – and it has a good chance at picking up prizes on the Croisette too!

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MACBETH Justin Kurzel | A Shakespearean adaptation that has already been bought up by the behemoth-like The Weinstein Company, Justin Kurzel’s sophomore directorial effort looks set to dominate this year’s festival and awards season. With notably strong performances from Michael Fassbender in the eponymous role and the ever fantastic Marion Cotillard acting as Lady Macbeth, this is period drama that can’t be passed over!

The 68th Festival de Cannes runs from the 13th-24th May. The Edinburgh Reporter will be reporting from Cannes on films playing in the Official Selection, Un Certain Regard and Special Screenings. Coverage will also include features playing in the Director’s Fortnight and Critic’s Week.