Sunday, May 09, 2010

Here Comes Cannes!

SERIES: Major Film Festivals

63rd Cannes International Film Festival, 12 - 23 May 2010

In May, there is only one major international film festival and that is Cannes. Unfortunately, this year the Festival is literally opening under a cloud.

Travelers to the French Riviera must dodge the volcanic ash still spewing from the Icelandic volcano as the resort hurriedly cleans up the debris from a recent Mediterranean storm. Those are natural crises that pale under the economic cloud of failed economies such as Greece, and possible failures in Spain, Portugal and other European economies. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy tries to toddle back to stability.

Nonetheless, the Festival will open Wednesday with it's usual grandiose flourish, featuring the world premiere of Ridley Scott's ROBIN HOOD, starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett. Then, for 11 days, both the famous and not-so-famous will walk and watch the red carpet, attend party after party, stand in line to view movies in crowded screening rooms, and distributors will scout the film market for potential blockbusters as well as second-string bargains.

The promoters of the Festival bring in the International glitz and glamour to attract attendees, but they also provide showcases for smaller grittier films which fuel the Cannes marketing machine. In today's weakened world economy, the Cannes film market brings vital financial sustenance not only to the Festival but, also, to various economies around the world.

However, neither ROBIN HOOD, WALL STREET: Money Never Sleeps, in which Michael Douglas reprises his role as ruthless corporate raider Gordon Gekko, and Woody Allen's latest, YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER, will be among the 18 feature films in competition to be judged by the jury headed by director Tim Burton.

The only U.S. entry for competition is FAIR GAME, based on the true story of CIA agent Valerie Plame, starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts, and directed by Doug Liman (THE BOURNE IDENTITY). The Festival's publicity makes a point that the emphasis will not be on glitz but on substance and the films selected support it.

More on this blog about the Cannes Festival will follow during the next two weeks. Please, come back daily to follow the Festival where you should find information not always included in posts elsewhere. Please leave comments, ask questions, or offer information you would like to see in this series. Click the title of this post to access the Festival's Official Site.

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