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Cannes festival brings new and old to red carpet

Written by: Staff
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PARIS, Apr 20 (Reuters) Hollywood stars Tom Hanks and Kirsten Dunst will bring glamour to next month's Cannes film festival, where they will be sharing the red carpet with a series of less well-known young film makers.

''If 2005 was the year of the return of the grand authors, 2006 will be all the opposite,'' artistic director Thierry Fremaux told a press conference today to present the line-up of the 59th festival.

''A year of renewal... It's about taking risks,'' he said.

Established directors like Pedro Almodovar and Aki Kaurismaki are presenting ''Volver'' and ''Laitakaupungin Valot'' respectively, alongside lesser film makers like Mexico's Guillermo del Toro with ''El Laberinto del Fauno''.

Director Sofia Coppola's ''Marie-Antoinette'' also won a place in the official competition's 19 films to be shown on May 17-28.

The American director's movie features Kirsten Dunst as the Queen of France, who was guillotined during the French Revolution in 1793 as Louis XVI's wife.

Coppola made headlines with ''The Virgin Suicides'' and was nominated for an Oscar for directing ''Lost in Translation''. She won the best original screenplay award for the same film.

The festival on the French Riviera could also win back its political bite after making no room for documentaries last year.

In 2004, Michael Moore shook up the resort when he won the top prize for his Bush-bashing polemic ''Fahrenheit 9/11''.

This year's festival will feature Richard Linklater's ''Fast Food Nation'', which assesses health and environmental risks linked to the fast food industry, and Nanni Moretti's ''Il Caimano'', a satire on Italy's Silvio Berlusconi.

Although it is shown out of competition, director Ron Howard's ''The Da Vinci Code'' is set to make waves at the Mediterranean resort town when it opens the 2006 festival.

Based on Dan Brown's bestseller, the movie features Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou in a murder hunt that takes them from Paris's Louvre museum to London as they uncover clues they hope will lead them to an important religious relic.

Some of the ideas in the novel, including the possibility that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had a child by her, have upset the Catholic Church, and a Vatican official hit out at the book and upcoming film earlier this month.

The book, which has sold over 40 million copies worldwide, was also the subject of a high-profile copyright case at London's High Court, but Brown and his publisher won the court battle against two historians who said he stole their ideas.

Britain's Ken Loach is among the contenders for the main Palme d'Or prize in Cannes with ''The Wind That Shakes the Barley'', a film about Republicans in early 20th Century Ireland.

Director Wong Kar-Wai will head the jury of this year's festival, making him the first Chinese chairman of the panel.

The Shanghai-born director of ''In the Mood for Love'' won the Cannes' Best Director prize for ''Happy Together'' in 1997.

The jury also features Italian actress Monica Bellucci, Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi, as well as American Samuel L.

Jackson.

Reuters SHB KP1859

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