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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings

Joe Taylor sits down with "Border Crossings" host Larry London to talk about his distinction as New York’s “Subway Idol,” and how he beat out thousands for that title. Joe performs several songs from his new CD, “Anything’s Possible.”