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59th Cannes Film Festival opens tomorrow

Written by: Staff

Cannes, May 16 (UNI) The 59th Film Festival de Cannes opens here tomorrow with its glitz intact.

The 12-day festival has undergone a big change in its character over time. In its first three decades, it used to showcase Hollywood and Europe (particularly France), their stars and products (with a rare, occasional nod to Asian Cinema).

Gradually, the Asian Cinema began to get noticed at Cannes, and now it is getting more than a look-in. As Cannes festival director, Thierry Fremaux admitted in an interview on the eve of this year's festival saying, ''from an artistic point, a great festival can no longer exist without Asian films. From the point of view of the industry, professionals come in ever greater numbers to the Festival.'' Chinese film-director Wong Kar Wai is heading the 9-member Feature-film Jury at Cannes. Wong, 46, some of whose films have done the festival-circuit in India, belongs to the latest wave of Chinese directors.

This time there is no one from India on any of the official juries at Cannes.

However, in the main jury, there are some names Indian filmgoers would be familiar with. Samuel L Jackson, the African-American actor, has been a part of the "Star Wars" series (he played the role of Mace Windu).

Zhang Zi Yi, the 27-year old Chinese actress was recently seen in "Memoirs of A Geisha", and earlier in the hugely popular "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", both Oscar-winning films.

Helena Bonham Carter, another jury member made her debut in 1985 with Merchant Ivory's "Room With A View" and later appeared in Howard's End (1992).

One Jury member whose presence in the Cannes could be of special interest to some back home is Monica Bellucci. The 41-year old Italian actress is reportedly being wooed by NRI producer, Jagmohan Mundhra to play the title role of Sonia Gandhi in his proposed biopic on the Congress president.

Mundhra is also expected to be in Cannes for a private showing of his latest movie, "Provoked", based on the travails of a battered Indian housewife in Britain. It stars Aishwarya Rai and Nandita Das.

A delegation from India is expected in Cannes during the Festival.

It is likely to comprise representatives from Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and representatives from Bollywood.

The Festival opens with "Da Vinci Code", the film adaptation of the brilliant but controversial novel of the same name by Dan Brown.

Directed by Ron Howard, it stars Tom Hanks and the French actress Audrey Tautou. Both of them are expected to be present for the film's world premiere at the Festival's grand inauguration.

The movie would be screened amid a mounting campaign worldwide (including in India) by certain sections of Catholics denouncing the alleged liberties taken, both in the novel and the movie, with certain aspects of the life of Christ.

The 'little fishing village', as Cannes was known a century and half back when it was discovered by a British Lord, has since grown in name and fame. Much of it has been due to the international film festival that it hosts each year in May, at the beginning of the Riviera 'season'.


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