Steven Soderbergh and actor Michael Douglas will feature in Behind the Candelabra
Films by US directors Steven Soderbergh and the Coen Brothers, Nicolas Winding Refn of Denmark and France\'s Roman Polanski are among contenders for the coveted Palme d\'Or at next month\'s
Cannes film festival, organisers said Thursday.
The soon-to-retire Soderbergh\'s eagerly-awaited film, Behind the Candelabra, with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, recounts the life of flamboyant pianist-entertainer Liberace, who masked his homosexuality from public view.
Another much-anticipated film is Refn\'s, Only God Forgives, starring Ryan Gosling in a gangland thriller set in Bangkok.
Also making the Cannes cut is, Inside Llewyn Davis, by Joel and Ethan Coen starring Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake in a tale about a singer-songwriter in the 1960s folk scene in New York.
The Riviera movie extravaganza, seen as the most prestigious festival in cinema, runs from May 15 to 26.
19 movies are in the running for the Golden Palm, but others may be added in the coming weeks, the organisers said.
Only one director, though, is a woman, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, sister of former French first lady Carla Bruni, with Un Chateau en Italie.
Last year\'s line-up did not include any women directors.
But festival artistic director Thierry Fremaux told AFP the films had been selected strictly on merit.
\"Valeria\'s film is not in competition because she is a woman but because we liked it,\" he said.
Asian films with their hat in the ring for the Palme d\'Or include Japanese directors Takashi Miike with the thriller, Wara no Tate (Shield of Straw) and Kore-eda Hirokazu with Soshite Chichi ni Naru (Like Father Like Son) and China\'s Jia Zhangke for Tian Zhu Ding (A Touch of Sin).
Famed for its top-grade celebrities, glitzy parties and luxury yachts, the festival this year will see Robert Redford and Marion Cotillard among the VIPs gracing the red carpet.
But the festival will also turn the spotlight on obscure directors and young talents, and has a tradition of screening quirky or provocative movies.
Cannes is a \"temple that\'s really important to protect the more adventurous filmmaking that\'s going on around the world,\" Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle told AFP in Paris earlier this week.
Sofia Coppola\'s film, The Bling Ring starring Harry Potter star Emma Watson will open the newcomers\' section called Un Certain Regard.
Inspired by a true story, the film recounts how a group of adolescents rob celebrities\' homes after becoming obsessed with the world of beautiful people and luxury consumer goods.
India, meanwhile, is to be Cannes\' third guest country, following Egypt and Brazil, with a gala screening of Bombay Talkies, a four-part feature by four up-and-coming Indian directors.
Steven Spielberg will head the festival jury and \"Amelie\" star Audrey Tautou will host the opening and closing ceremonies.
Jerry Lewis, the US comedy star from the 1950s and 1960s who later poured his efforts into raising money for muscular dystrophy research, will get a special tribute.
The 87-year-old entertainer, who has a history of ill health, will attend a screening of his latest film, Max Rose, in which he plays the role of an elderly jazz pianist facing the loss of his wife.
Twelve years after Baz Luhrmann\'s, Moulin Rouge! opened the 2001 festival, the Australian\'s latest film, The Great Gatsby, will do the opening honours with Leonardo DiCaprio in the remake of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel.
Jerome Salle\'s film Zulu, starring Oscar winner Forest Whitaker and Orlando Bloom, will bring proceedings to a close on May 26.
On the sidelines of the movie screenings, Cannes is also a huge marketplace. Every year the festival gathers thousands of people, from producers and distributors haggling over upcoming movies, to screenwriters hawking their scripts and firms offering innovations in computer-generated imagery.