International Critics' Weekartistic director Jean-Christophe Berjon has announced the selection for theupcoming 44th edition of the sidebar which runs during the CannesFilm Festival next month.

Berjon, backed by members ofthe French Film Critics' Union, unveiled sevenfeatures which will vie for the top prize, worth Euros 5,000. The films selected are either firstor second time efforts.

French director ThierryJousse's Les Invisibles, a love story set in the music world, will openthe section while the closing film is Phil Morrison's US comedy Junebug,starring Embeth Davidtz and Alessandro Nivola. Both are out-of-competition.

Another US film has made themain competition, Miranda July's drama Me, You And Everyone We Knowwhich had a berth at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. The UK'sThomas Clay brings The Great Ecstasy Of Robert Carmichael, thebrutal story of three teenage boys in a coastal English town.

France is doubly representedwith Orlando Vargas, a co-production with Uruguay directed by JuanPittaluga about the trials and tribulations of the titular character. Althoughthis is Pittaluga's first directing effort, he previously collaborated withJonathan Nossiter on last year's main competition documentary Mondovino.Also from France, La Petite Jerusalem by Karin Albou, is about a youngJewish girl growing up in the Paris suburbs. The Critics' Week's selectioncommittee likened the film to two previous winners directed by women: ACommon Thread and Since Otar Left.

Also from Europe is L'OrizzonteDegli Eventi by Daniele Vicari. The director is know for both short filmsand documentaries and this time tells the story of Max, a young researchergoing through an identity crisis.

From Asia is A Stranger OfMine by Japanese director Uchida Kenji. The film brings together fivedifferent stories of desperate people which intertwine to an upliftingconclusion. And, finally, Grain In Ear is China and Korea's contributionfrom director Zhang Lu. The film is ataboo love story between two ethnic Koreans in China. The director's previousfilm was 2003's Tang Poetry.

In past years, the top prizehas gone to such films as Julie Bertuccelli's Since Otar Left, AlejandroGonzalez Inarritu's Amores Perros and last year's A Common Threadby Eleonore Faucher.

The Great Ecstasy Of Robert Carmichael, dirThomas Clay (UK)
L'Orrizzonte Degli Eventi, dir Daniele Vicari (Italy)
La Petite Jerusalem, dir Karin Albou (Fr)
Me And You And Everyone, dir Miranda July (US)
A Stranger Of Mine, dir Uchida Kenji (Japan)
Grain In Ear, dir Zhang Lu (China/Korea)
Orlando Vargas, dir Juan Pittaluga (Uruguay/France)

Opening Film:
Les Invisibles, dir Thierry Jousse (Fr)
Closing Film:
Junebug, dir Phil Morrison (US)

Special Screenings:
La Chute Des Feuilles, dir Otar Iosseliani (USSR - 1957)
Vento Di Terra, dir Vincenzo Marra (Italy)
Imposture, dir Patrick Bouchitey (Fr)
Los Heroes Y El Tiempo, dir Arturo Ripstein (Mexico)
Drum, dir Zola Maseko (South Africa)