After the Americans hosted a subdued Oscars, the French are ready with a glittering edition of the most celebrated film festival in the world. The Cannes Film Festival kicks off its 56th annual edition today with the remake of the 1952 classic Fanfan la Tulipe starring Penelope Cruz.
Apart from competition for the prestigious Palme d'or, the annual two-week
event will be the venue for several global premières and star studded parties.
The festival will be punctuated by events paying homage to the Italian master
Federico Fellini, marking the ten-year anniversary of his death. Cannes 2003
will conclude with Charlie Chaplin's classic Modern Times.
The Guest List
The official guest list includes several Hollywood big wigs -- Oliver Stone, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Keanu Reeves, Monica Bellucci, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving and Ewan McGregor. Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz also find themselves on the list.
The Indian Connection
Aishwarya Rai, who was rumoured to be in the fray for the next Bond girl but eventually 'missed out', will find herself sitting on the nine-member jury of the Palme d'or with American sweetheart Meg Ryan and Oscar winner Steven Soderbergh. The jury also features veteran French actor Jean Rochefort, actress Karin Viard, Italian writer Erri De Luca, Bosnian director Danis Tanovic, French director Patrice Cherau and Chinese director Jiang Wen.
Malayalam filmmaker Murali Nair will be representing India once again with his film Arimpara (A Story that Begins at the End) being screened in the 'Un Certain Regard' section.' Nair's Marana Simhasanam (The Throne of Death) had won the Camera d'or award (given to a first-time director) at Cannes in 1999.
Race For Palme d'or
Looking at the list of hot shot filmmakers vying for the top prize, it seems unlikely that Ms Rai will get any time to cool her heels away from jury duty. Clint Eastwood's crime drama Mystic River is pitted against Peter Greenaway's The Moab Story/The Tulse Luper Suitcase, previous Palme d'Or winner Von Trier's Dogville, starring Nicole Kidman and Vincent Gallo's The Brown Bunny.
Eastwood's Mystic River, which stars Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Kevin
Bacon, is one of the more high-profile films vying for the prize. The shortlist
also features Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa who has entered Bright
Future for the competition. Last year the Palme d'or went to Roman
Polanski's The Pianist, the movie which got him the Oscar for best
The 40 'out of competition' screenings promise scorching action beginning with the world première of Wachowski brothers' much awaited Matrix Reloaded. Lester James Peries also returns at the age of 84, with a film straight out of his native country of Sri Lanka -- Mansion by the Lake, inspired by the work of Anton Tchekov.
The last wish of the late Portuguese director Joao Cesar Monteiro to see his film presented in Cannes will be fulfilled at the screening of his film Vai e vem. Arnold Schwarzenegger will also be seen in Cannes promoting his comeback film, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.
Full list of films competing for Palme d'or
20 films representing 13 countries are in competition for the Palme d'or:
A Cinq Heures de L'Apres-Midi -- Samira Makhmalbaf
Bright Future -- Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Carandiru -- Hector Babenco
Ce Jour-La -- Raoul Ruiz
Dogville -- Lars Von Trier
Elephant -- Gus Van Sant
Il Cuore Altrove -- Pupi Avati
La Petite Lili -- Claude Miller
Les Cotelettes -- Betrand Blier
Les Egares -- Andre Techine
Les Invasions Barbares -- Denys Arcand
Mystic River -- Clint Eastwood
Pere et Fils -- Alexandre Sokourov
Purple Butterfly -- Ye Lu
Shara -- Naomi Kawase
Swimming Pool -- Francois Ozon
The Brown Bunny -- Vincent Gallo
The Moab Story/The Tulse Luper Suitcase -- Peter Greenaway
Tiresia -- Betrand Bonello
Uzak -- Nuri Bilge Ceylan