1. The Tree of Life (in competition) Directed by Terrence Malick and photographed by Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki. The Tree of Life has taken on almost mythical status among European festival regulars due to its long gestation period and the secrecy surrounding its release.A brief synopsis and trailer is all most have seen of the director's fifth feature, and mysterious cosmic images suggest the narrative may go beyond normal human experience.Brad Pitt plays the father and Sean Penn his grown-up son Jack, described in the synopsis as a "lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life. Malick, 67, previously directed movies including "Days of Heaven" and "The Thin Red Line".
3. La Conquete/The Conquest Xavier Durringer tells the story of the rise to power of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, focusing on the personal turmoil of marital collapse which accompanied his political triumph in the 2007 presidential election. The official synopsis says in conclusion: "The Conquest is the story of a man gaining power and losing his wife." Cinematography by Gilles Porte.
4. Midnight in Paris. Woody Allen is given the coveted out-of-competition opening slot for his romantic comedy starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams. Of greater interest to the world's media will be the performance, and possible red-carpet appearance, of French first lady Carla Bruni who has a small role in the film.The French president's wife -- a former model and singer -- is currently at the center of fevered speculation in the French media over whether or not she is pregnant. Cinematography by Darius Khondji.
6. Ichimei/Hara-Kiri Death of a Samurai. The prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike presents what has been billed as the first 3-D movie to make it into the main competition in Cannes. The tale of honour and revenge is a re-imagining of Masaki Kobayashi's 1962 classic "Harakiri".
7. This Must Be the Place (in competition) Sean Penn gets his second Cannes outing in Paolo Sorrentino's in-competition film in which he plays a 50-year-old ex-rocker who travels across the United States to avenge his father's death. Cinematography by Luca Bigazzi.
8. The Kid with a Bike. (in competition) Belgian brothers the Dardennes have a chance to make history with a third Palme d'Or. They previously won with "Rosetta" (1999) and "L'Enfant" (2005). Photographed by Alain Marcoen..
9. Melancholia (in competition) How can Danish director Lars Von Trier follow "Antichrist", his 2009 Cannes entry which shocked audiences with its graphic sex scenes and extreme violence? Melancholia has got critics chattering, with Kirsten Dunst playing a bride at a wedding set against impending disaster -- a planet called Melancholia is on collision course with Earth. Cinematography by Manuel Alberto Claro.