The new film by arguably China’s greatest living filmmaker is not the director’s long promised martial arts epic. Instead, it’s a quartet of stories set across disparate stretches of modern-day China that also marks the once-banned enfant terrible Jia’s first official co-production with a major Chinese studio. It’s unknown whether the four stories will literally or merely thematically intersect, but one can rest assured that whatever Jia has to say, it’ll be no tower of Babel.

"Venus in Fur" (Roman Polanski)
Polanski follows up his Carnage with another adaptation of a one-room Broadway play: David Ives’ tale of a playwright auditioning an actress for his production of the 1870 novella that gave us the term “masochism.” Onstage, "Venus in Fur" was electrifying, if hard to imagine as a film. But if anyone can pull it off, it’s Polanski, a genius of claustrophobic spaces whose Death and the Maiden trafficked in similar who’s-torturing-who terrain.

JUSTIN CHANG

"Bastards" (Claire Denis)
The fact that this isn’t in competition suggests it’s a minor work from one of our greatest living filmmakers. Then again, if 2007 Un Certain Regard opener "Flight of the Red Balloon" was Cannes’ idea of minor Hou Hsiao-hsien, Denis’ first feature since "White Material" could be as outstanding as anything in competition.

"The Last of the Unjust" (Claude Lanzmann)
Any addition to Lanzmann’s peerless body of work on the Holocaust, including Shoah and Sobibor, October 14, 1943, 4 p.m., demands to be seen and reckoned with.

"Like Father, Like Son" (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
Having just caught up with Kore-eda’s wonderful I Wish, I’m ready for this paternity-switch drama from one of our most consistently clear-eyed humanist filmmakers.

"The Past" (Asghar Farhadi)
Could it be as great as "A Separation"? Could anything? Either way, it will be fascinating to see what Farhadi has devised as he becomes the latest international auteur to fall under the spell of Paris.

"The Selfish Giant(Clio Barnard)
"The Arbor" was one of the standout documentaries of recent years, a form-busting masterwork. Barnard’s followup sounds completely different.
Color me intrigued.

"Blind Detective" (Johnnie To)
Et voila, To’s directed another nonsensical-looking crime yarn with Andy Lau and stylized blood-smoke explosions.
Count me in.