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Thursday, 14 May 2009

Cannes film festival throws open its doors

With the usual hullabaloo and a throng of A-list celebrities expected, the 62nd edition of the annual Cannes film festival opened on Wednesday on the Côte d’Azur.

In purely French terms, it'll have to go something to outshine last year's festival, which saw the excellent “Entre les murs” (The Class) directed by Laurent Cantet win the coveted Palme d’Or.

But this year still promises to be a memorable one, with insiders - ah yes the infamous cognoscenti - seeming to agree that the list of entries is pretty impressive, especially in the main competition, that for the Palme d'Or.

The red carpet will of course be graced by the usual host of big screen names - domestic and international - including Monica Bellucci, Diane Kruger, Brad Pitt, Gérard Depardieu, Eric Cantona (more on him in a moment) and many, many more.

The 4,000 plus accredited journalists will have a tough time jostling for position as they clamber to get those all-important interviews and reports back to HQ.

And the nine-strong jury, headed this year by the French actress Isabelle Huppert, also look to have their work cut out as a glimpse at just some of the directors whose films are in the running for that coveted top prize would seem to bear out.

Lars von Trier (Antichrist), Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds), Pedro Almodovar (Los Abrazos Rotus/Broken Embraces), Jane Campion (Bright Star) and Ang Lee (Taking Woodstock) all figure among the 20 film-makers in the in main competition.

For a full run down of all 20 films including the synopses, take a look here on the festival's official site.

That's not to mention of course another 20 films in the category "Un certain regard" click here, or those out of competition or receiving special screenings.

By any measure Cannes seems to have come up with a treasure trove for any film buff this time around and although of course I could go into rapturous speculation about the possible outcome, as I've yet to see any of the films, that might be more than a little presumptuous.

But I have seen a preview for one - and it's from a man who's no stranger to success at Cannes - the British director, Ken Loach.

His surreal comedy "Looking for Eric" stars none other than - wait for it Eric (as in the title of the film) Cantona.

YouTube Video

For those unfamiliar with the name, he is a former French international football (soccer) player, who in the 1990s became something of an idol to millions of British followers of the "beautiful game" during his seasons at first, Leeds United and later Manchester United.

The film looks and sounds as though it was a meeting of two men, who on paper at least might seem rather mismatched, but in reality have more in common.

And from the trailers, what Loach seems to offer film-goers is a trip down memory lane and something much more light-hearted than his usually more serious offerings.

It's a "must see" regardless of whether it receives critical acclaim at Cannes, although that certainly wouldn't do the box office receipts any harm.

The only qualm perhaps is that some of the dialogue (and remember this is just from the trailer) is very regional British English and the accents might be a little difficult for even some native speakers to follow.

Last year was the first time in 21 years that a French film scooped top honours for best movie at Cannes and only the fourth time a French production had triumphed since the gaggle of glitterati first started gathering for the annual film festival on the Côte d’Azur in 1946.

Can the French do it again? Well we'll have to wait until the final day of the festival, May 24, to find out what the jury thinks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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