From Maverick to Bowie to Elvis, the Cannes Film Festival launches its 75th-anniversary edition on Tuesday with a roster full of icons from the last century. The world's foremost film festival always tries to strike a balance between serious arthouse fare and popcorn-guzzling entertainment. This year, the war in Ukraine will be an inevitable talking point. Its beleaguered filmmakers will get a special day at the industry marketplace that runs alongside the festival and Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa will present a timely film out of competition, 'The Natural History of Destruction', about the bombing of German cities in World War II. The main competition also includes Russia's Kirill Serebrennikov, who was unable to attend for his two previous nominations due to a politically-charged conviction for embezzlement back home. Now in exile, the director recently told AFP of the 'horror, sadness, shame, pain' he felt about the invasion of Ukraine, which he said was an act of 'self-killing' by the Russian government. Elsewhere, the festival will celebrate the return of 'Mad Max' creator George Miller, who returns with 'Three Thousand Years of Longing', a different beast for the Australian director, featuring Idris Elba as a djinn. And actor-director Ethan Hawke will add to the nostalgic feel of the fortnight with his new series, 'The Last Movie Stars', about 1960s Hollywood golden couple Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. This year's honorary Palme d'Or will be presented to US actor Forest Whitaker, best known for his Oscar-winning turn in 'The Last King of Scotland'.