Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Festival Fever Heats Cannes

Fabiola Beracasa, Tinsley Mortimer

The Carlton Hotel, Cannes

Cannes is one of the only places where you can step off the beach, onto a red carpet and into a movie palace. As the Cannes Film Festival turns 60, the film industry's elite, including many ASW members, will inundate this French resort town from May 16th-27th. Festivities will kick off with the opening night premiere of Wong Kar-Wai’s My Blueberry Nights (starring Norah Jones and Jude Law) at the Palais des Festivals. Ten frenzied days of premieres, screenings and parties will follow.

In 60 years, Cannes has defined itself as the most prestigious film festival in the world, a place where filmmakers, film industry, and film fans unite to speak the universal language of cinema. It’s one of the few venues where cinematic legends walk the same red carpet as emerging film artists. This year’s lineup, expertly assembled by festival heads Gilles Jacob and Thierry Fremaux, continues the tradition of Cannes excitement and diversity.

Kipton Cronkite, Olivia Palermo Arden Wohl Byrdie Bell

Audrey Tatou

Carlos Mota, Zani Gugelmann

In the main competition, industry members and fans are buzzing about such stand-out titles as Bela Tarr’s epic return, The Man From London, Julian Schnabel’s true-life The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s animated Persepolis, Kim Ki Duk’s acclaimed Breath, James Gray’s anticipated We Own the Night, and Catherine Breillat’s provocative Un Veille Maitresse. The president of this year’s competition jury is acclaimed U.K. filmmaker Stephen Frears (The Queen).

Meanwhile, over in the Critic’s Week section, audiences are clamoring for a chance to view films like Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal’s directorial debut Deficit, French film-maker Bruno Merle’s Heros, and Mexican film-maker Simon Bross’ Malos Habitos.

The red carpet highlights outside of the festival’s competition will include Anton Corbijn’s Control (which follows the saga of pioneering British band, Joy Division), Olivier Assayas’ Boarding Gate (starring Asia Argento), Michael Winterbottom’s A Mighty Heart (starring Angelina Jolie), Michael Moore’s latest documentary, Sicko, and Barbet Schroeder’s L’Avocat de la Terreur.

Irish legends U2 will walk the red carpet for a special world premiere of their three-dimensional concert film, U2 3D. Plus, this year, the big sneak preview on everyone’s calendar will include footage from Chris Weitz’s upcoming The Golden Compass, starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. The festival’s selection for a closing night film is French-Canadian director Denys Arcand’s L’Age des Tenebres.

Among the highly anticipated soirées this year: the Ocean’s Thirteen fundraiser for Darfur, the annual AmFar party, Vanity Fair’s annual bash at Hôtel du Cap, the Soho House party at Château de la Napoule, the Fortissimo Films party on Majestic Beach, the American Film Institute cocktails at White Lotus, and New Line Cinema 40th Anniversary Celebration.

-- Matt Dentler

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