Also premiering was "Black Flies," a suspenseful drama about New York paramedics starring Sean Penn and supporting ex-boxer Mike Tyson.

Also in the competition is a rare documentary film from China by one of the genre's masters, Wang Bing. The filmmaker is known for showing a side of Chinese life that outsiders rarely get to see, and his new 210-minute film, Youth (Spring), follows migrant workers in a town near Shanghai.

Documentaries have been doing well at festivals lately: 'All the Beauty and the Bloodshed' (Laura Poitras' film about Big Pharma) won in Venice last year, and 'On the Adamant' - about a day-care center for the mentally ill in Paris - won in Berlin in February.

At Cannes, 21 films compete for the top prize, the Palme d'Or, including several previous winners such as Japanese Hirokazu Kore-eda, German Wim Wenders and two-time British winner Ken Loach.