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Words by Mr Alex Godfrey

Every May, a dazzling multitude of screen sirens descend on the French Riviera to hawk their wares at the Cannes Film Festival. 2011's programme boasts perennial beauties such as Ms Carla Bruni (appearing in Mr Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris) and Ms Charlotte Rampling (appearing in Mr Lars von Trier's Melancholia) alongside a fresh batch of pretty actresses, some nearly unheard of the last time the city played host to this bewildering celluloid circus.

Among the talent this year, there's 20-year-old Ms Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar-nominated for her turn in last year's fantastic Winter's Bone, who now stars with the troubled Mr Mel Gibson in Ms Jodie Foster's hand-puppet comic-drama The Beaver (showing Out Of Competition at the festival). Meanwhile Gossip Girl's Ms Blake Lively, one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people, was seen at the legendary Hôtel du Cap - just along the road from Cannes - with Mr Karl Lagerfeld, in her role as a Chanel brand ambassador at the Parisian label's fashion show. Here, we profile Ms Lawrence and Ms Lively among our pick of the actresses set to light up your screens (and your faces) over the next year. Some you'll already know from television shows and movies; some are fresh off the catwalk; one is the daughter of Mr Phil Collins. All of them, we think you'll find, are rather beguiling.