Godard cancels Cannes appearance

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Iconic film director Jean-Luc Godard, one of the inventors of the French New Wave whose next film screens Monday at Cannes, has cancelled his appearance at the festival, his production company said.

The ever-mysterious Franco-Swiss director, who shot to fame with "Breathless" in 1960, and followed up with modern classics such as "Alphaville" and "Contempt", said in a fax that "problems of the Greek type" would keep him away.

"I will go to my death with the festival, but I will not take a single step more," Godard said in a fax to festival director Thierry Fremaux.

"Wild Bunch, Vega Film, Alain Sarde, following problems of the Greek type, I can not be present at Cannes," Godard said, referring to the production and distribution companies, and Sarde the producer.

Fremaux said Godard had followed up the message with another fax containing an extract from a poem.

The 79-year-old, who these days remains mostly at his home in the Swiss town of Rolle, left audiences at Cannes guessing over what his poetic explanation could mean, only adding "tiredness and a lack of desire to be at Cannes".

"We are very disappointed", Vega Films said, "it was the only festival he accepted to go to."

Trailers of "Socialisme", which is in a sidebar competition at the festival, have been viewable for the past month online, and Monday through Weddnesday the whole film is available from the website FilmoTV.fr.

In 1968, Godard was one of a group of filmmakers who, in the middle of a student revolt gripping France, helped shut down the annual Cannes fest.

His 2010 press conference had been expected to be one of the highlights of the festival.

© 2010 AFP

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