Films about gangsters, the end of love and an exorcism gone wrong among the contenders for top prize.
Cannes entering final straight for Palme d'Or
Tales of true love, mobsters and an exorcism gone wrong lead the pack of 22 contenders racing for the Cannes film festival's Palme d'Or prize.
Jeff Nichols' coming-of-age drama Mud, about two young boys and a fugitive searching for love, made a last-minute splash in the race. But Michael Haneke of Austria, who took Cannes gold in 2009 for The White Ribbon, remained the name most cited as the potential winner for Love, a wrenching tale of devotion at the bitter end of life.
Romania's Cristian Mungiu, who won in 2007 for the abortion drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, made a powerful bid for the Palme with Beyond the Hills, the true story of a deadly exorcism.
Films by Australia's Andrew Dominik, Britain's Ken Loach and France's Jacques Audiard snapped at the heels of the front-runners. Audiard's Rust and Bone stars Marion Cotillard as a killer-whale trainer who loses both legs.
In competition for a record 11th time, Loach brought a bittersweet comedy The Angels' Share, about the scourge of joblessness. Dominik's Killing Them Softly tells of a mob syndicate, with a humane hitman played by Brad Pitt.
Le Film Francais gave high marks to the 89-year-old veteran Alain Resnais' You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet, a theatrical film about love and acting. The paper also tipped France's Leos Carax for his wackily experimental Holy Motors, about a man who slips from one identity to another. * AFP