A portion of the Cannes 2006 lineup has been reported on, and the only one I’m really hot to see so far is Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu‘s Babel (Paramount, 10.6.06), a three-story interweave in the vein of Amores Perros with a script by that film’s author, the great Guillermo Ariagga. Plus a large cast topped by Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Gael Garcia Bernal. Plus locales in four countries — Morocco, Tunisia, Mexico and Japan. (A taste: Pitt and Blanchett, a married couple, are in Morocco when she suddenly suffers a terrible accident…forget it, I’m not doing this.) Forget Sofia Coppola‘s Marie Antoinette (Columbia, 10.13), which is reportedly “locked” as a competition entry. I’m not really suggesting people should forget it, obviously, but I presume I’m going to hate it and I’m looking for allies in advance. It looks vapid as hell (a clucky biopic about an 18th Century Paris Hilton) and the subject and the backdrop, frankly, seem way beyond Coppola’s reach. Plus Pedro Almodovar‘s Volver, Ron Howard‘s The Da Vinci Code, Aki Kaurismaki‘s Lights in the Dusk, Nicole Garcia‘s Selon Charlie, Nanni Moretti‘s The Caiman, a satire about Italian Prime Minister and media bigwig Silvio Berlusconi, and Darren Aronofsky‘s The Fountain. (Arnofsky and lover-partner Rachel Weisz, who stars in The Fountain, both told me late last year that the film is/was completed and that they fully expected it to be at Cannes.) There’s also possibly David Lynch‘s Inland Empire, Guillermo del Toro‘s Pan’s Labyrinth, John Cameron Mitchell‘s Shortbus, Ken Loach’s The Wind That Shakes the Barley , and Richard Linklater‘s Fast Food Nation. Hey…what about Kevin Smith’s Clerks II? There’s also that Paris, je t’aime anthology film in the Director’s Sidebar, with something like 26 different directors (Tom Tykwer, Wes Craven, Gerard Depardieu, the Coen brothers, Gus van Sant, Alexander Payne, et.al.) providing short-film portrayals of each of the city’s 18 arrondisements….obviously a minor thing. The complete lineup will be announced 4.20 in Paris.