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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Beyond Category

Pianist Myra Melford’s new CD “Life Carries Me This Way” features solo piano interpretations of drawings by modern artist Don Reich. She performs songs from the album, talks about turning art into music, and joins host Eric Felten in some Chicago boogie-woogie on "Beyond Category."