(Paris) American stars in majesty, a record place for female directors in competition: the 76th Cannes Film Festival announced its official selection on Thursday, five weeks before the race for the Palme d’Or.

Nineteen films are in the running to succeed Sans Filtre, crowned last year and whose Swedish director, Ruben Östlund, is chairing the jury this year.

The festival will have a flavor of Hollywood: Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman will climb the steps for the new film by Todd Haynes (I’m not There on Bob Dylan, Dark Waters), in competition, where we also expect a galaxy of stars taken by Wes Anderson for his “Asteroid City” with Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody or Margot Robbie.

Out of competition, Johnny Depp will perform the show from the opening on May 16 with Jeanne Du Barry from Maïwenn, which marks his big return to the screen after the judicial soap opera which pitted him against his ex-wife Amber Heard. His daughter, Lily-Rose Depp, should also climb the stairs, alongside popstar The Weeknd for The Idol, a project between film and series signed by the creator of Euphoria.

These stars are in addition to those whose arrival has already been announced, starting with Harrison Ford, for the new Indiana Jones which promises, like Top Gun: Maverick last year, to create the event. Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal, star of the series The Last of Us, will also be there, for a short film by Pedro Almodovar.

This American presence proves that Cannes, whose new president Iris Knobloch comes from Warner, does not intend to let the Venice Film Festival play the role of launching pad for Hollywood.

All that remains is to convince Martin Scorsese, Palme d’Or in 1976 with Taxi Driver, to take on the competition again. His latest film, Killers of the Flower Moon, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, scheduled out of competition, could still join the race for the Palme d’Or at the last minute. “The request has been made,” said the General Delegate of the Cannes Film Festival, Thierry Frémaux; it’s up to the producers, Apple TV and Paramount, to decide.

In general, Cannes “is an extraordinary springboard for cinema” and proves that “nothing can replace the event of a theatrical release”, said Ms. Knobloch, who takes over from Pierre Lescure.

The latter is the first woman to chair the festival, which this year sends the signal that it intends to advance a little further on the long road to parity.

Thierry Frémaux underlined the “never reached number” of female directors competing for the Palme d’Or, won only twice by women: there will be six of them, compared to five last year.

Among them, the presence of Alice Rohrwacher testifies to the renewed vitality of Italian cinema, which places three filmmakers in competition, with Marco Bellochio and Nanni Moretti. The competition also sees the return to the cinema of the sulphurous Catherine Breillat, ten years after her last film Abuse of Weakness.

The arrival in competition of a first film, directed by a Senegalese filmmaker, Ramata-Toulaye Sy, or the Tunisian Kaouther Ben Hania, also signals a desire to give a more important place to African cinema.

The big names in cinema, regulars on the Croisette, have not been forgotten: the Japanese Hirokazu Kore-eda, the German Wim Wenders, with two films, one of which is in competition, the British veteran Ken Loach with two Palmes d’Or , or the Japanese Takeshi Kitano, for an “historical samurai comedy” out of competition.

The festival will also be marked by the return, after the health crisis, of Iranian and Chinese films, including two films by documentary filmmaker Wang Bing, and the arrival for the first time in the official selection of Mongolia.

As every year, a few films could still be invited to the selection by the start of the festivities. The composition of the jury, of which we only know the president for the moment, has yet to be unveiled, as well as the poster for this 76th edition.