Stars descend on French Riviera

2011-05-11 09:55

Cannes, France – The 64th edition of the Cannes film festival gets under way today with up-and-coming directors and Hollywood A-listers rubbing shoulders at the world’s biggest cinema gathering.

Woody Allen’s latest romantic comedy Midnight in Paris opens the 11-day event on the French Riviera at a black-tie evening screening that already has tongues wagging.

Billed by organisers as “a love letter” to the French capital, it stars Owen Wilson, Kathy Bates and Marion Cotillard, but all eyes have been on French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, cast by Allen in a bit part as a museum curator.

However the supermodel-turned-singer has said that she is skipping the screening for “personal and professional reasons” – only stirring rumours that she is pregnant with President Nicolas Sarkozy’s child.

Italian cinema legend Bernardo Bertolucci, whose classics include Last Tango in Paris and The Last Emperor, will meanwhile be presented today with an honorary Palme d’Or for his life’s work.

Organisers say the laurel will from this year be presented annually to a cinema legend.

A rich galaxy of film stars is converging on Cannes, with the likes of Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz – appearing in the 3D adventure caper Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – expected on the red carpet.

Twenty pictures, including fresh work from Spain’s Pedro Almodovar, Denmark’s Lars Von Trier and Belgium’s Dardenne brothers, are up for the highly coveted Palme d’Or this year.

Oscar-winner Robert De Niro, who starred in past Palme d’Or winners Taxi Driver and The Mission, is steering the jury that includes Hollywood stars Uma Thurman and Jude Law, Hong Kong director Johnny To and film producer Shi Nansun, and French director Olivier Assayas.

Seven hundred police officers have been detailed to the festival, where the killing of Osama bin Laden has ramped up security concerns.

In a salute to change in the Middle East, the festival is honouring Egypt as its first “guest country”, while a snap documentary of the uprising in Tunisia will be that country’s first film in Cannes in 11 years.

Films by convicted Iranian directors Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof, made in “semi-clandestine conditions”, will meanwhile be screened in the official and Un Certain Regard sections respectively.

In competition, Spanish heavyweight Almodovar will present La Piel Que Habito (The Skin I Live In) with Antonio Banderas starring.

Von Trier, a Palme d’Or winner in 2000 with “Dancer in the Dark“, returns with Melancholia, while the Dardennes will be gunning for their third Palme d’Or with Le Gamin au Velo (The Kid With A Bike).

US director Terrence Malick will present The Tree of Life, uniting Brad Pitt and Sean Penn on screen, and Israeli director Joseph Cedar will unspool Hearat Shulayim (Footnote).

From Japan will be Ishimei (Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai) by Takashi Miike, and Hanezu no Tsuki by Naomi Kawase.

The lone British contender is Lynne Ramsay with We Need to Talk About Kevin, while from Australia, Julia Leigh’s Sleeping Beauty is one of two first-time films in competition, the other being Michael by Austrian film-maker Markus Schleinzer.

Cannes nearly triples in population during the 11-day festival to 200 000, due not only to all the screenings, but also to an international film market where more than 10 000 participants from 101 nations will haggle over the rights to 4 240 films, many of them still in production.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.