Big-name independent film directors Gus Van Sant, Lars von Trier, Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch will do battle for the top award at Cannes this year.
Lars von Trier and Bjork's Dancer in the Dark won at Cannes in 2000
The directors will show new films at the prestigious festival next month in the competition for the Palme d'Or.
Last year's Palme d'Or was won by Michael Moore's political documentary Fahrenheit 9/11.
This year's line-up is seen as a return of the arthouse heavyweights after last year's eclectic contest.
US films Fahrenheit 9/11, Shrek 2 and The Ladykillers were the most high-profile entries in 2004, competing against a range of smaller international offerings.
Michael Moore won the Palme d'Or for Fahrenheit 9/11 in 2004
Cannes is the launching pad for films from around the world, usually made outside the Hollywood system, that often go on to be hits with audiences and critics.
This year, Van Sant - who won the Palme d'Or for school shooting movie Elephant in 2003 - will show rock drama Last Days, about a musician similar to Kurt Cobain.
Danish director von Trier is returning five years after picking up the Palme d'Or for musical Dancer in the Dark, starring Bjork.
His latest film, Manderlay, stars Willem Dafoe and Lauren Bacall and is the second part in his US trilogy, which began with Dogville - a film which also featured in competition in 2003.
Wim Wenders' new film is about an ageing cowboy movie star
Wenders will be at Cannes for the first time since 1997. He won the Palme d'Or in 1984 for Paris, Texas and his new film, Don't Come Knockin', is about an ageing cowboy movie star.
Jarmusch will unveil Broken Flowers, starring Bill Murray as a man on a quest across the US to find a son he never knew he had.
Naked Lunch director David Cronenberg will show thriller A History of Violence, featuring Ed Harris and William Hurt.
Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremeaux said: "Last year we wanted to present the importance of documentary cinema and animation.
"This year, there is a return to a certain classicism, the great auteurs, many of whom have already been in the competition."
Actor Tommy-Lee Jones' first film as director, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, is also in the contest, as is Kilometer Zero by Iraqi film-maker Hiner Saleem.
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith and Woody Allen's Match Point will be shown out of competition. The festival takes place from 11 to 22 May.