Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, The Coen Brothers' The Ladykillers, Wong Kar-Wai's 2046 and a sequel to animated feature Shrek are among the 18 films in competition at a more diverse Cannes Film Festival.
Now in its 57th year, the festival will be showing a Thai film in competition for the first time with Apitchapong Weerasethakul's sci-fi Tropical Malady.
There are no British entries in competition unless you include The Life and Death of Peter Sellers directed by Jamaican-born, British- and Australian-raised director Stephen Hopkins.
The festival which opens with Pedro Almodovar's Bad Education on 12 May and ends on 23 May with the world premiere of Cole Porter biopic De-Lovely, starring Kevin Kline, carries more US fare including the world premiere of Homeric epic Troy starring Brad Pitt and Terry Zwigoff's hilarious Bad Santa screening out of competition.
With The US presidential election on 2 November, Michael Moore's latest ( "considered an en mouvement, very different from Bowling for Columbine," said festival artistic director Thierry FrÃ©maux) is sure to whip up controversy. In Fahrenheit 9/11 he is expected to draw links between the Bush and Bin Laden clans and reflect on the changes that the US has experienced since 9/11.
Adding to the spiciness of this year's festival, Quentin Tarantino chairs a jury that includes Scottish actress Tilda Swinton, French actress Emmanuelle Beart, Belgian actress Benoit Poelvoorde, US director Jerry Schatzberg, and Kathleen Turner. The Croisette will be peppered with stars: Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts, Nick Nolte, Geoffrey Rush, Sophie Marceau, Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks, Eddie Murphy and Sean Penn are among those expected to attend.
Artistic director FrÃ©maux also commented that there had been a huge increase, 42.5% to be precise, in film submissions to the festival.
"Filmmaking has been facilitated by the technology of digital imaging. Digital films are more and more present on the market these days. You must also take into consideration that the Festival has been spreading the word that it is open to all types of films and that message has apparently been well received," said Fremaux.
"The feature films alone total 1325 entries from 85 different countries for the 2004 edition, as compared to 908 in 2003, 939 in 2002, 854 in 2001 and 681 in 2000," he added.
Cannes 2004 will be presenting 56 feature films of which a total of 46 are world premiÃ¨res in the combined sections.
Films in Competition
2046, directed by Wong Kar-wai
Clean, directed by Olivier Assayas
Comme Une Image, directed by AgnÃ¨s Jaoui
The Motorcycle Diaries (Diarios de Motocicleta), directed by Walter Salles
Die Fetten Jahre Sind Vorbei, directed by Hans Weingartner
Exils, directed by Tony Gatlif
Fahrenheit 9/11, directed by Michael Moore
Innocence, directed by Oshii Mamoru
Woman Is The Future Of Man, directed by Hong Sang-soo
La NiÃ±a Santa, directed by Lucrecia Martel
Le Conseguenze dell'Amore, directed by Paolo Sorrentino
Nobody Knows, directed by Kore-Eda Hirokazu
Old Boy, directed by Park Chan-wook
Shrek 2, directed by Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon
The Ladykillers, directed by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers, directed by Stephen Hopkins
Tropical Malady, directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Zivot Je Cudo, directed by Emir Kusturica
Out of competition
Opening film: La Mala EducaciÃ³n, directed by Pedro Almodovar
Closing Film: De-Lovely, directed by Irwin Winkler
10E Chambre Instants D'Audiences, directed by Raymond Depardon
Bad Santa, directed by Terry Zwigoff
CinÃ©astes A Tout Prix, directed by Frederic Sojcher
Dawn of the Dead, directed by Zack Snyder
Five, directed by Abbas Kiarostami
Flying Daggers, directed by Zhang Yimou
Kill Bill, Volume 2, directed by Quentin Tarantino
La Porte du Soleil, directed by Yoursry Nasrallah
Mondovino, directed by Jonathan Nossiter
Notre Musique, directed by Jean-Luc Godard
Salvador Allende, directed by Patricio Guzman
Troy, directed by Wolfgang Petersen
Un Certain Regard
Opening film: Bienvenue En Suisse, directed by LÃ©a Fazer
Closing Film: La Rage Au Cur, directed by Youssef Chahine
10 On Ten, directed by Abbas Kiarostami
Ã€ Tout De Suite, directed by BenoÃ®t Jacquot
CrÃ³nicas, directed by SebastÃan Cordero
Dear Frankie, directed by Shona Auerbach
Hotel, directed by Jessica Hausner
Kontroll, directed by Antal Nimrod
Marseille, directed by Angela Shanelec
MoolaadÃ¨, directed by Ousmane SembÃ¨ne
Nelly, directed by Laure Duthilleul
Noite Escura, directed by JoÃ¢o Canijo
Non Ti Muovere, directed by Sergio Castellitto
Passages, directed by Yangchao
Poids LÃ©ger, directed by Jean-Pierre AmÃ©ris
Schizo, directed by Gulshad Omarova
Somersault, directed by Cate Shortland
Sword In The Moon, directed by Kim Eui-Suk
Terre Et Cendres, directed by Atiq Rahimi
The Assassination Of Richard Nixon, directed by Niels Mueller
Whisky, directed by Juan-Pablo Rebella, Pablo Stoll