The Cannes Festival, the Riviera showplace for art films and movie glamour, had a Hollywood accent this year as the host to world premieres of The Da Vinci Code and X-Men: The Last Stand. But its usual fare is provocative or perplexing films from top directors. Three of the attention-grabbing entries: Volver Pedro Almodóvar blends ghost story, revenge drama and all-girl comedy in a tale of courageous, if loco, sisterhood. Lovely Penélope Cruz and spectral Carmen Maura merit laurels, maybe Oscars.
Babel Another chance-is-destiny parable from Alejandro González Iñárritu (Amores Perros, 21 Grams), the drama stars Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett as a couple tested by near tragedy. The film's ambition is imposing, the acting often illuminating, the pileup of coincidences finally exasperating. Marie Antoinette Sofia Coppola reimagines the court of Louis XVI as a gossip party for rich, vapid teenagers. The film, starring Kirsten Dunst as the Queen, above, got a few raucous boos, sending many critics to the defense of this lame satire, which may mean to make fun of emptiness but actually embodies it.