Cannes opens with Asian take on US road movies

16th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

CANNES, France, May 16, 2007 (AFP) - A road movie set in the United States, directed by a Hong Kong filmmaker and starring soft-note singer Norah Jones is to open the Cannes film festival in France Wednesday in a showy bow to the event's global credentials.

CANNES, France, May 16, 2007 (AFP) - A road movie set in the United States, directed by a Hong Kong filmmaker and starring soft-note singer Norah Jones is to open the Cannes film festival in France Wednesday in a showy bow to the event's global credentials.

"My Blueberry Nights", by director Wong Kar Wai, is to get the full red-carpet treatment when it kicks off the 10-day festival under the glare of international media.

Jones -- who is making her big-screen debut after a string of top-selling soulful albums -- was expected to make the premiere with Wong and co-stars Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Tim Roth and Natalie Portman.

The movie, the first of 22 films competing for Cannes's prestigious Palme d'Or prize, is Wong's first English-language feature after such arthouse hits as "2046" and "In the Mood for Love".

Its selection underlined the growing influence of Asia in Cannes and in world cinema generally, and of the enduring fascination with US culture.

Over the course of the festival, other top-grade directors will be presenting their latest titles, including previous Palme winners Quentin Tarantino with "Death Proof", the Coen brothers with "No Country for Old Men" and Emir Kusturica with "Promise Me This".

Out of competition, "Sicko", the latest documentary by Michael Moore (who won the Palme three years ago with "Fahrenheit 9/11") will be one of the hottest tickets.

And Cannes's star power, normally in no short supply, will be turned up to a blinding level one night next week when most of the cast of "Ocean's Thirteen" turn out.

George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Al Pacino and Andy Garcia, as well as director Steven Soderbergh are all expected to show.

But the celebrity glamour and the competition for the festival trophy are only the glitzy mask of an event that this year is celebrating its 60th anniversary as the undisputed international movie showpiece.

From Thursday, the business side of moviemaking will be the focus for 10,000 industry types buying and selling one billion dollars' (700 million euros') worth of celluloid in the Cannes Market, a sprawling zone of stalls and tents that spills out onto the beach.

"We've always been the most innovative market," said Jerome Paillard, the head of the market.

Some 900 films are to be shown to potential buyers in that section, part of the 4,000 titles up for sale.

With so many films to see -- and with judgement sometimes compromised by Cannes's punishing side programme of parties and cocktail dos -- there was no certainty that critics or movie executives would be picking the best of the crop in every case, however.

As Jorgen Kristiansen, the head of acquisitions for Scanbox, a Scandinavian company buying movies for DVD distribution, put it: "Sometimes you make mistakes -- every year we make mistakes.

"But if you get one (film) out of 10 right, that makes up for it."


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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