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Top contenders for Cannes Palme d’Or

Will it be Brad Pitt’s ‘Babel’ or Penelope Cruz’s ‘Volver’?
/ Source: Reuters

The annual Cannes film festival concludes on Sunday with the awards ceremony, capping 12 days of screenings, publicity and fun on the French Riviera.

Below is a list of the critics’ top 10 tips from 20 films in the main competition vying for the coveted Palme d’Or. With juries in Cannes notoriously difficult to predict, there is no guarantee the eventual winner is among them.

Two more films have yet to be screened: “Pan’s Labyrinth” from Mexico’s Guillermo Del Toro and “Buenos Aires 1977” from Uruguayan director Israel Adrian Caetano.

“Babel” (Mexico)
Among the favorites to take the main prize, Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu explores barriers — personal, cultural and national. Starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, three stories on different continents intertwine.

“Climates” (Turkey)Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan won fulsome critical praise for his understated tale of a couple, played by Ceylan and his wife, whose emotions are mirrored by changing seasons.

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“Lights in the Dusk” (Finland)Prolific Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki completes what has been dubbed his “loser trilogy” about social outcasts with a funny yet tragic tale of a man who has no friends.

“Marie-Antoinette” (United States)Kirsten Dunst plays the ill-fated French queen in Sofia Coppola’s visually spectacular take on 18th-century court intrigue. Marie Antoinette gets a sympathetic makeover and New Romantic rock music is used on the soundtrack.

“Red Road” (Britain)First-time British director Andrea Arnold impressed reviewers with her tough, minimalist story of a woman struck by tragedy out for revenge on the windswept housing estates of Glasgow. Much of the action is seen through security cameras.

“The Caiman” (Italy)Nanni Moretti takes a cinematic swipe at former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is incarnated in the film by three different actors.

“The Singer” (France)Gerard Depardieu could pick up the best actor award for his portrayal of a lonesome dance hall singer in Xavier Giannoli’s moving tale, which won applause after the press screening.

“The Wind that Shakes the Barley” (Britain)Ken Loach examines the Irish fight for independence from Britain in 1920 through the tale of friends who end up on different sides of the conflict.

“Volver” (Spain)Pedro Almodovar pairs up again with Penelope Cruz and Carmen Maura in a bitter-sweet tale of abuse, abandonment and reconciliation. The film is the critics’ favorite to win best film, and Cruz’s performance has been described as her best yet.