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Director Denis Villeneuve is shown in Toronto in September, 2013.FERNANDO MORALES/The Globe and Mail

World cinema heavyweights including Quebec's Denis Villeneuve, Italy's Paolo Sorrentino and the United States' Gus Van Sant will compete for prizes at next month's Cannes Film Festival.

Festival director Thierry Fremaux announced 17 films in the festival competition on Thursday:

  • Jacques Audriard, Dheepan
  • Stéphane Brizé, La loi du marché (A Simple Man)
  • Valerie Donzelli, Marguerite et Julien (Marguerite and Julien)
  • Matteo Garrone, Il racconto dei racconti (The Tale of Tales)
  • Todd Haynes, Carol
  • Hou Hsiau Hsien, Nie yin niang (The Assassin)
  • Jia Zhang-Ke, Shan He Gu Ren (Mountains May Depart)
  • Kore-Eda Hirokazu, Umimachi Diary (Our Little Sister)
  • Justin Kurzel, Macbeth
  • Yorgos Lanthimos, The Lobster
  • Maïwenn, Mon roi
  • Nanni Moretti, Mia Madre
  • Laszlo Nemes, Saul fia (Son of Saul)
  • Paolo Sorrentino, Youth
  • Joachim Trier, Louder Than Bombs
  • Gus Van Sant, The Sea of Trees
  • Denis Villeneuve, Sicario

(Read the full festival selection)

Fremaux said several more films will be added to the competition before the festival opens.

Sicario, set for theatrical release in September, is a crime drama starring Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin about an FBI agent who joins the CIA in an operation to stop a Mexican drug lord.

Films screening out-of-competition at the festival include George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road, Woody Allen's Irrational Man and Asif Kapadia's documentary about the late singer Amy Winehouse.

The festival runs May 13-24. Winners will be chosen by a jury led by Joel and Ethan Coen.