Great Gatsby stars dazzle despite damp Cannes opening

2013-05-16 12:49

Cannes – The Cannes film festival conjured up the “roaring twenties” with a glamorous opening night premiere of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, complete with dancers in flapper dresses on the red carpet and umbrellas to keep off the rain.

Nicole Kidman, a member of the jury at the biggest cinema gathering of the year, wore an off-white gown embroidered with spring flowers as she made her way into the Grand Theatre Lumiere last night past a wall of camera flashes and expectant fans.

“I’m going to blow away! I feel like Mary Poppins,” the Australian actress joked.

She and eight other members of a panel led by Steven Spielberg must decide at the end of the 12-day festival who wins the coveted Palme d’Or for best picture, one of the most coveted movie honours outside the Oscars.

The cast of The Great Gatbsy arrived to loud cheers with all eyes on Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby in the flashy adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel.

British actress Carey Mulligan, who plays the love interest Daisy, wore a low-cut, rose-coloured dress, while Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchan, making his Hollywood debut in the film, sparkled in a black sequined dinner jacket.

Inside the huge theatre, and away from the rain, Spielberg received a standing ovation before introducing his jury.

“I expect to be surprised. I expect to be moved,” he said, referring to the 20 movies vying for awards presented on May 26.

The choice of The Great Gatsby, which is not in competition, for the prestigious opening night slot in Cannes surprised some as it is rare for the festival not to open with a world premiere.

The opening night kicks off a busy schedule of premieres, champagne parties and celebrity spotting along Cannes’ chic waterfront the Promenade de la Croisette, with Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Ryan Gosling, and Emma Watson among big names in town this year.

Cloudy skies did not deter badge holders and passers-by from cramming cafes around the main festival building, while dozens of gleaming luxury yachts in the nearby harbour prepared to welcome their wealthy guests.

From today, the focus will shift to hundreds of other films screening at Cannes, while up to 40 000 film professionals will seek to snap up titles on the bustling movie market that has become a key to the festival’s success.

Adding to the media buzz this year is the fact that the main competition line-up includes five US movies – the highest number in six years – from directors Steven Soderbergh, Jim Jarmusch, Alexander Payne, the Coen brothers, and James Gray.

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