News / Arts & Entertainment

Cannes Film Festival Opens with Fittingly Lavish 'The Great Gatsby'

Posters for the film 'The Great Gatsby' showing actor Leonardo DiCaprio (C) and actress Carey Mulligan (R) are displayed outside the Carlton Hotel before the start of the 66th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, May 13, 2013.
Posters for the film 'The Great Gatsby' showing actor Leonardo DiCaprio (C) and actress Carey Mulligan (R) are displayed outside the Carlton Hotel before the start of the 66th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, May 13, 2013.
Reuters
The 2013 Cannes film festival opens on Wednesday with Baz Luhrmann's 3D version of The Great Gatsby, a lavish throwback to the Roaring Twenties that befits the glamour and excess of the world's biggest cinema showcase.

The Australian director's adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel starring Leonardo DiCaprio surprised some Hollywood insiders, because Cannes traditionally launches on the palm-lined French Riviera with a splashy world premiere.

But The Great Gatsby has already opened in the United States to mixed reviews and solid box office, potentially dampening buzz surrounding the start of 12 days of screenings, champagne-fuelled parties and dealmaking.

Stars expected to face a phalanx of flash bulbs along the red carpet include Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Ryan Gosling, Emma Watson and Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchan.

Their pictures will undergo one of the most grueling tests in movie making - pleasing Cannes' notoriously picky critics who regularly boo as the credits roll if they are unhappy.

And behind the scenes at the event, up to 40,000 film professionals will be seeking to buy and sell the next box office hit at the most important movie market of the year.

"This is the hardest 10 days of the year for me. There are always three or four movies that are exceptional and you have to find them so it is a detective job," said Tom Bernard, co-president and co-founder of Sony Pictures Classics.

Critics have praised the selection of films being screened at the 66th Cannes festival, saying it is a strong, well-curated list ranging from hotly-anticipated potential crowd pleasers to beautifully-crafted, artistic cinema.

Strong US showing

American directors have their biggest showing in six years in the main competition at Cannes, making up five of 20 films vying for the coveted Palme D'Or for best picture awarded by a jury headed by Steven Spielberg on the final day, May 26.

Steven Soderbergh's Behind The Candelabra, starring Douglas as the gay pianist Liberace and Damon as his young lover, is already generating huge interest, particularly as Soderbergh has hinted that this could be his last movie.

Also in focus is Joel and Ethan Coen's Inside Llewyn Davis about New York's gritty 1960s folk music scene, James Gray's The Immigrant, Jim Jarmusch's vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive, and Alexander Payne's Nebraska.

French filmmakers are also well represented with five films in the main competition, including Roman Polanski's French-language La Venus a la Fourrure (Venus in Fur), a backstage drama starring his wife Emmanuelle Seigner.

Two Japanese movies are in the running and one each from China, Chad, Mexico, Iran, Tunisia, Italy and the Netherlands while Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives with Ryan Gosling in a Thai gangland thriller is creating buzz.
Critics have earmarked Le Passe by Iran's Asghar Farhadi and Like Father, Like Son by leading Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda as strong domestic dramas.

Farhadi won an Oscar for best foreign language film in 2012 for "A Separation".

Despite criticism of an all-male lineup last year, only one woman director has made the 2013 competition. Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, sister of former French first lady Carla Bruni, is in the field with Un Chateau en Italie.

The sidebar section, Un Certain Regard, set up to recognize young filmmakers, will feature 19 films including The Bling Ring by Sofia Coppola starring Harry Potter actress Emma Watson about a real-life gang stealing from celebrities' homes.

"It is a strong line-up this year looking at the names of the directors, especially those in competition," said Wendy Mitchell, editor of the magazine Screen International.

"There are some very sellable films this year and the fact that business was down at the Berlin festival [in February] usually means that there will be keen buyers at Cannes."

Out of competition, hundreds of films will be shown in special sessions while 4,000 or so films, many yet to be made, will be haggled over in meetings along the Croisette, the resort's chic promenade, or on extravagant yachts moored nearby.

Patrick Wachsberger, co-chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, said he never had time to go to screenings but used Cannes to build buzz for new films including the second and third Hunger Games movies that start shooting later this year.

"You meet with distributors every 30 minutes and it really like going to the dentist," said Wachsberger. "The business seems more complicated than it used to be and a bit more frantic but the money at stake is higher and it's a bigger gamble."

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

"Soul Lounge" host Shawna Renee catches up with soul singer and songwriter Russell Taylor to hear what he’s been up to since winning the VH1 "You Oughta Know" title in 2013. She also convinces him to share a few songs from his album "War of Hearts."