2007 Cannes Film Festival Preview

The 21 films competing for the Palm d’Or were announced today. Interestingly enough, 13 of the 21 nominees are upcoming young filmmakers.

Thursday, April 19, 2007
Tarantino, Kusturica, Van Sant lead Cannes charge
By AFP [source]

PARIS, April 19, 2007 (AFP) – Veteran directors Quentin Tarantino, Emir Kusturica, Gus Van Sant and Wong Kar Wai will be vying against a large group of up-and-coming young filmmakers for the top prize at this year’s Cannes film festival, organisers revealed Thursday.

The mix of old and new in the list of the 21 films competing for the Palme d’Or trophy showed how the cinema event — the biggest in the world — was striving to remain fresh even as it celebrated its 60th year.

The traditional reliance on red-carpet glamour will also be stepped up, with Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Matt Damon, Al Pacino and Andy Garcia all expected for the premiere of Ocean’s Thirteen, to be screened out of competition.

Michael Moore, who won the Palme in 2004 for his biting documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, will be back with another out-of-competition film sure to needle President George W. Bush, about the US health system, while British director Michael Winterbottom will be screening his film about the murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl.

The festival programme presented at a Paris media conference displayed a balance between experienced old hands and fresh faces that will characterise the May 16-27 event on the French Riviera.

Wong, the Hong Kong director who was jury president last year, will be given the honour of opening the festival with My Blueberry Nights, an English-language road-trip movie starring singer Norah Jones.

The Palme d’Or competition will then continue with Tarantino — who already won the Palme in 1994 for “Pulp Fiction”, and who also headed the Cannes jury three years ago — presenting his Death Proof.

The movie, packed with the US director’s trademark banter and bloodshed, is being being released as half of a two-part gore collaboration called Grindhouse.

Kusturica, a two-time Palme winner, will be returning with Promise Me This, an off-the-wall story about an old Serbian man praying his son finds a wife.

Van Sant, who won the Palme d’Or in 2003 for Elephant, his film inspired by the Columbine High School massacre, will show Paranoid Park, another US urban expose that starts when a teenaged skateboarder accidentally kills a security guard.

They will be joined by a bunch of new faces, among them an Iranian, Marjane Satrapi, who will be bringing her popular comic books about life in Tehran to the big screen, and Fatih Akin, a German of Turkish heritage.

There will also be a young South Korean director, Lee Chang-dong, and a Romanian one, Cristian Mungui.

As per tradition, three slots went to French films, among them a musical titled Les Chansons d’Amour by Christophe Honore.

This year’s Palme d’Or jury is headed by British director Stephen Frears, who made the award-winning film The Queen about Queen Elizabeth II struggling in the aftermath of the death of Princess Diana.

He will be joined by eight other personalities from the cinema and literary worlds, including actresses Toni Colette from Australia and Maggie Cheung from China, and Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk from Turkey.

Out of competition, Michael Moore will be screening Sicko, his expose of America’s inequitous health care system, while Winterbottom’s A Mighty Heart is certain to draw attention with its story about Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter beheaded in Pakistan in 2002. The movie stars Angelina Jolie as Pearl’s distraught wife.

Sidebar competitions and screenings in the sprawling market section of Cannes mean hundreds of other films will also be shown during the festival’s 10-day run, making it an unparalleled celluloid extravaganza.

Nearly 4,000 journalists from around the world cover the event, which is attended by around 10,000 movie industry professionals and scores of show business stars.

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The Cannes Film Festival will take place from May 16 to 27. For more information, visit the official website.

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