THE 63RD ANNUAL CANNES FILM FESTIVAL COMMENCES TODAY




FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The CANNES FILM FESTIVAL gets off to a strapping start today with RUSSELL CROWE’S ROBIN HOOD.

But the line up is leaner than usual, with fewer household names among the actors and directors at the world’s most prestigious cinema showcase.

Key names are among the 19 films competing for the PALME D’OR, the festival’s coveted top prize. Included are new movies by AMORES PERROS director ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ INARRITU, CANNES BEST FILM laureates KEN LOACH and ABBAS KIAROSTAMI, as well as Japan’s TAKESHI KITANO.

Ahead of the premiere of ROBIN HOOD, fans were staking out a spot near the festival headquarters to hopefully catch a glimpse of RUSSELL CROWE when he walks the newly laid red carpet later today.

The media blitz around RIDLEY SCOTT’S adaptation comes at a convenient time for the action packed film.

Like ROBIN HOOD, many of the other big name movies in the 63rd edition of the prestigious festival are to be shown out of competition.

Movies on the A list that are not in contention for awards include OLIVER STONE’S WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS and WOODY ALLEN’S ensemble romance YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER with NAOMI WATTS, ANTONIO BANDERAS, ANTHONY HOPKINS and CHRISTIAN McKAY.

Only one U.S. film will be in the running for CANNES’ top prize: director DOUG LIMON’S FAIR GAME, starring NAOMI WATTS as CIA covert operative VALERIE PLAME, whose identity was leaked by officials in the Bush administration.

In years past, there were as many as five American films in competition at CANNES.

U.S. director Tim Burton heads the jury, which also includes Benicio Del Toro, British actor Kate Beckinsale and Indian director Shekhar Kapur.

Early contenders for the PALME D’OR include BIUTIFUL, by Mexican critical darling ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ INARRITU. Set in Barcelona, BIUTIFUL stars JAVIER BARDEM as a father struggling to protect his children.

With CERTIFIED COPY, top Iranian director ABBAS KIAROSTAMI leaves his native country, serving up an Italian set romance featuring JULIETTE BINOCHE.

British directors MIKE LEIGH and KEN LOACH, both CANNES laureates, are in the running for a second PALME D’OR – the former with his relationship drama ANOTHER YEAR and the latter with ROUTE IRISH, which is set in Iraq.

The CANNES FILM FESTIVAL runs through MAY 23.

ON THE NET:

FESTIVAL CANNES

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