Kirsten Dunst and Colin Farrell in The Beguiled (Focus Features)

More than a hundred films will be unveiled for industry, press, and cinephiles over the course of 12 days at the Cannes Film Festival, which opens today. For this writer, the single most anticipated film in the competition for the festival’s top honor, the Palme d’Or, which will be awarded by a nine-person jury presided by director Pedro Almódovar, is Sofia Coppola’s remake of Don Siegel’s lurid guilty pleasure The Beguiled, from 1971. She’s one of the three women directors in the running; she joins Naomi Kawase (Radiance) and Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here).

Siegel’s film is a fascinating bridge between classic Hollywood filmmaking and the anything-goes 1970s. Set during the Civil War, an isolated all-girls school harbors and nurses a wounded Union soldier, played by Clint Eastwood in his period of transition from Westerns to Dirty Harry. For Eastwood, the film was meant to be “a psychological gothic horror film.” However, Vincent Canby of the New York Times called it “a sensational, misogynistic nightmare.”

True, it’s in the hothouse drama mode of Tennessee Williams, but I’m assuming that the new film will also offer psychological probing roles for the nearly all-female cast. Based on the photos of Coppola’s version, there’s one obvious difference, though it may be superficial: her cast, which includes Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, and Nicole Kidman in the Geraldine Page role, is bathed in soft-focus in its portrayal of Southern belle–dom. Back in 1971, the cast wore no make-up, and filming on location in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, their faces were flushed and sweaty. (Incidentally, Eastwood will attend the 25th anniversary screening of Unforgiven on May 20 and hold a masterclass the next day.)

With little doubt, many of the 18 films also competing for the Palme d’Or will be must-sees for most festivalgoers, and movie buffs, too, regardless whether they win or lose an accolade. For example, Carol’s Todd Haynes adapts for the time a young adult novel, Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck. Michael Haneke has a shot of becoming the only filmmaker to win three Palme d’Or awards with Happy End, where he once again collaborates with Isabel Huppert, who may also set a record, bagging a third acting prize. Screenwriter Robin Campillo will walk up the red steps to the Grand Théâtre Lumière for the first time as director for the premiere of 120 Battements par MinuteBPM (Beats per Minute) in English—for what looks like a dramatization of the French Act Up movement in the 1980s and 1990s. (He wrote the screenplay for The Class, which won the Palme in 2008.) Director Michel Hazanavicius, who hit a speed bump when he brought the ponderous The Search to Cannes in 2014 as his follow-up to the Oscar-winning The Artist, competes for the third time with Le Redoutable, reportedly a biopic of the very-much-alive Jean-Luc Godard.

Every year complaints can be heard that such-and-such film that appeared in, say, the Directors’ Fortnight section (which is programmed separately from the titles in the competition) should have been a Palme d’Or contender. That stands to reason this year, given that many of the films debuting out of competition are by the most acclaimed filmmakers of the last 50 years, making the following films likely scene-stealers.

A scene from Visages Villages (Faces Places) (Cannes Film Festival)

Agnès Varda has had a widely varied 60-year career, and over the last few years, she has been recognized for her achievements; she was bestowed an honorary Palme d’Or in 2015. Her searing Vagabond, with Sandrine Bonnaire, is one of the best French films from the 1980s, and her latest films have been playful, perceptive, and personal documentaries, such as The Gleaners & I and The Beaches of Agnès. In her new work that screens during the opening weekend, she roams France in Visages Villages (Faces Places), an apparent “wandering road documentary,” as might describe it. Claude Lanzmann, of the landmark Holocaust documentary Shoah, ventures to North Korea in the bound-to-be timely Napalm. And premiering toward the festival’s conclusion will be Roman Polanski’s Based on a True Story, written by Polanski and Olivier Assayas, starring Emmanuelle Seigner and Eva Green.

The festival will also jump on the peak TV bandwagon. As part of the festival’s 70th anniversary celebration, Cannes favorite son David Lynch will premiere the first two episodes of the long-awaited return of Twin Peaks. In a change of pace, Showtime viewers will experience the series’ first chapter before Cannes audiences; it airs on May 21. All six episodes of Top of the Lake: China Girl will screen at the festival. Elizabeth Moss reprises her role as Robin Griffin, along with the ubiquitous Nicole Kidman, who additionally appears in three films this year: The Killing of a Sacred Deer, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, and the aforementioned The Beguiled. The second season’s premiere episode is directed by Palme d’Or winner Jane Campion, the other by Ariel Kleiman.

Photo still from Becoming Cary Grant (Cannes Film Festival)

The second most anticipated movie can be found in the Cannes Classics sidebar, which spotlights film history-related documentaries and restored classics. The section will look back at the festival’s 70 years and feature films that are still well known, such as Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-up and Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz, and rarities that are hard to find in the United States, such as the 1957 Lebanese film by Georges Nassar, Ila Ayn?

One of the first, and most indelible, images that filmgoers may have of the beaches and the coastline of the French Riviera may have come from Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief, parts of which were filmed in Cannes, where Cary Grant’s international jewel thief makes the moves on Texas debutante Grace Kelly. This year, Grant, whose private life has been the subject of speculation and examination for more than 80 years, is the subject of filmmaker Mark Kidel’s Becoming Cary Grant. Based on the title, it suggests a deconstructionist view of Hollywood stardom, with a focus on his therapy (and his use of LSD). Given that the actor’s daughter, Jennifer Grant, is interviewed, it appears to have the support of the family. Showtime subscribers have the opportunity to see it soon; it airs on June 9.