10. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
What's it about: Captain Jack Sparrow teams up with his old nemesis Barbossa in a race to find the Fountain of Youth.
Why it matters: Hollywood has invaded the Croisette in recent years with Robin Hood and The Da Vinci Code all premiering at the festival. Purists may scoff at popcorn blockbusters standing side-by-side with art house fare, but Pirates 4 will bring superstars Depp and Cruz to the red carpet to inject the required glitz and glamour to Cannes.
9. The Beaver
What's it about: Toy company CEO Walter Black slips on a beaver handpuppet to better communicate with his wife and kids.
Why it matters: As well as being actress Jodie Foster's third directorial outing (she also stars), this is Mel Gibson's first feature since the latest bout of all that unpleasantness. It also has a plot that sounds like something out of an SNL sketch, which has us double-taking every time we read about it. Better still, Jodie's assured us that despite the wacky premise, "this is not a comedy". Wow.
8. Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai
What's it about: The self-disembowelling title seems pretty explanatory - reportedly inspired by the novel Ibun rônin-ki by Yasuhiko Takiguchi, on which Masaki Kobayashi's 1962 film Harakiri (Seppuku) was based.
Why it matters: Cannes and controversy go hand in hand, and Miike is no stranger to a bit of that. The BBFC made 11 cuts to 2001's Ichi the Killer, citing its extreme sexual violence against women. Showtime later refused to air his Master of Horror episode Imprint, though it was broadcast elsewhere. We'll be watching this one through our fingers.
7. Midnight in Paris
What's it about: A romantic comedy following an American family and engaged couple in the French capital.
Why it matters: Woody Allen's output over the last decade or so has been mixed, but with classics Annie Hall and Manhattan on his CV the auteur's still rightly regarded as a movie legend. Cinema sojourns to London (Match Point) and Spain (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) have revitalised Allen recently and, with his latest taking place in France, Cannes is the perfect home.
What's it about: Exploring the relationship between two teenagers, this is said to be a "distinctive" take on young love and mortality.
Why it matters: Van Sant is one of those directors who straddles the critics' lists and the mainstream. His last picture Milk got plenty of attention and he won the Palm d'Or here at Cannes with Elephant in 2003. Mia Wasikowska was also the very-best thing about Tim Burton's uneven Alice In Wonderland last year, while Henry 'son of Dennis' Hopper must be one to watch.
What's it about: A movie stuntman-turned-getaway driver goes on the run after a botched bank heist.
Why it matters: Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Pusher) brings some major indie chops to a generic-sounding Hollywood premise. It's Refn's first film with a decent budget behind it and the stellar cast - Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Albert Brooks (returning after a long absence) - means this could be a classy, entertaining mainstream thriller and one that may signify Refn's arrival on the big stage.
4. The Skin I Live In
What's it about: A surgeon tries to save his wife's life by creating a new skin for her.
Why it matters: Almodóvar has previously picked up a clutch of awards at Cannes for Volver and All About My Mother and sparks always fly when he hooks up with muse Banderas - Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! is a twisted personal favourite. Based on a novel by Thierry Jonquet and described as "a horror story without screams or frights" this sounds like intriguing, dark stuff.
3. We Need To Talk About Kevin
What's it about: A mother tries to come to terms with her son's murder of students at his high school.
Why it matters: Lynne Ramsay's third film after 1999's Ratcatcher and 2002's Morvern Callar, this 41-year-old Scot is viewed by many as one of Britain's most talented filmmaking voices. Her history with Cannes stretches back right to the start of her career, with three of her short films picking up honours at the festival. Ramsay's two full-length features have also screened on the Croisette. She's a critical darling and someone who doesn't make films very often, meaning that We Need To Talk About Kevin - based on Lionel Shriver's powerful novel - will be essential viewing.
What's it about: Sisters Justine and Claire and the rest of the world struggle to get on as a nearby planet is poised to collide with their own.
Why it matters: The venerable Mark Kermode got chucked out of Cannes for heckling The Idiots. Dozens left during the self-inflicted genital mutilation in Antichrist. Von Trier, wag that he is, claims that this is the first of his movies with an unhappy ending! What we've seen of this makes this look like a remarkably sedate, high concept, end-of-the-world sci-fi drama.
1. The Tree of Life
What's it about: A man who struggles to navigate the modern world after being raised by a strict father and sympathetic mother.
Why it matters: After a 20-year gap between Days of Heaven (which netted him the 'Best Director' Cannes prize) and The Thin Red Line, Terrence Malick is speeding up his output. The Tree of Life, his abstract and poetic decades-spanning yarn, was almost ready to screen at last year's festival but just missed the cut. Now, the reclusive director is ready and has his sights set on the Palm d'Or. If the trailer is anything to go by, Malick has something truly spectacular up his sleeve.