Irish co-production ‘The Lobster’ for Cannes Film Festival

Film starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz selected for main competition

Yorgos Lanthimos's The Lobster, an Irish co-production, is to play in the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival next month.

Produced by Element Pictures with The Irish Film Board, the film positions Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, John C Reilly and Ben Whishaw in a story of rare peculiarity. The cast play members of a society in which single people are transformed into animals if they fail to find a mate within a certain period.

The young Greek film-maker, who won the prestigious Un Certain Regard section at Cannes with the Dogtooth in 2009, is already regarded as one of cinema’s great absurdists. The picture was shot at Parknasilla in Kerry and is to be distributed by Element Pictures later in the year.

Ed Guiney, producer for the Dublin-based company, commented: "Yorgos is one of the most visionary film-makers working today and The Lobster is a profoundly moving, brilliantly funny and disturbing meditation on modern love. Cannes competition is the perfect place to launch this film."


Selection for the main competition at Cannes is a rare honour. Ken Loach’s Jimmy’s Hall appeared for Ireland last year. Before that, the last Irish co-production to compete for the Palme d’Or was Paolo Sorrentino’s This Must be the Place in 2011. Loach’s The Wind that Shakes the Barley won the award in 2006.”

Other Irish talent striding the Croisette this year should include Michael Fassbender and Jack Reynor. Fassbender plays Macbeth opposite Reynor's Malcolm in a version of Shakespeare's play by Australian director Justin Kurzel.

As ever, many of the world's great film-makers are in competition. Thierry Frémaux, director of the festival, confirmed that Todd Haynes's Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in an adaptation of an early Patricia Highsmith novel, would be in the running.

Other much-touted competitors include Gus Van Sant's The Sea of Trees, an elliptical Japanese drama starring Matthew McConaughey, and Sorrentino's Youth, follow-up to his much admired The Great Beauty. That last film, already ante-post favourite for the Palme d'Or, sends Michael Caine, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel and Paul Dano to a resort in the Alps.

Among the films playing out of competition we find Woody Allen's Irrational Man, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone, Inside Out, the latest animation from Pixar, and Mad Max: Fury Road, the long-delayed fourth film in the automotive saga.

There were some unexpected exclusions. New works by Terence Davies, Gaspar Noe and former Palme d'Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul were conspicuous by their absence, but Frémaux did stress that further films could be added to the main race. "It's not always the same people in the Cannes film festival," he said. "Sometimes their films aren't ready and sometimes the films aren't selected."

Mr Frémaux also found time to announce that there would be restrictions on stars taking selfies as they approach the cinema. “We don’t want to prohibit it, but we want to slow down the process of selfies on the steps,” he said. “We think it’s ridiculous and grotesque and really slows things down.” That’s them told.