France -- OPENING NIGHT. The 60th edition of the
Cannes Festival was officially declared open this
Wednesday evening, followed by the screening of My
Blueberry Nights in the presence of the director
Wong Kar Wai, and actors Norah Jones and Jude Law.
Many stars walked up the red carpet, including Gong
Li and Juliette Binoche. Also spotted was Diane
Kruger, who, in addition to serving as Master of
Ceremonies, is in Cannes for her role in the
closing film, The Age of Darkness, by Canadian
director Denys Arcand. She welcomed the Jury
President Stephen Frears on stage and the jury
members Maggie Cheung, Toni Collette, Maria de
Medeiros, Sarah Polley, Michel Piccoli, Marco
Bellocchio, Abderrahmane Sissako and Orhan Pamuk.
"Cannes is not a festival museum; it develops and
changes with the films, not getting stuck in its
past. Tonight, we speak the same language: cinema,"
declared the German actress. "We are celebrating 60
years of grace, elegance, happiness, long shots and
infatuations, 60 years of Palme d'Or hopefuls,
treat for those present in the Palais des
Festivals, a peek at David Lynch's short entitled
Absurda, based on the theme of movie theatres, and
one of many shorts making up a special collective
film, as well as a multitude of film trailers
presenting the films in competition this year. For
the formal declaration, the Festival chose a couple
representing wisdom and modernity, experience and
grace. Taiwanese actress Shu Qi and Portuguese
director Manoel de Oliveira officially launched the
60th edition. 98-year-old de Oliveira paid homage
to "this prestigious festival that is still so
young. Viva the cinema!"
Film Festival without prizes? It's a possibility
raised Wednesday. Albeit jokingly _ by Stephen
Frears, president of the award-giving jury.
"Maybe we'll give no prizes," said the British
director of "The Queen," "High Fidelity" and "Dirty
Pretty Things." "We will refuse to sit in
Jury members, from left to right, Chinese actress
Maggie Cheung, Canadian actress Sarah Polley,
British director and president of the Jury Stephen
Frears, Portuguese actress Maria de Medeiros and
Australian actress Toni Collette pose during a
photo call at the 60th International film festival
in Cannes, southern France, on Wednesday, May 16,
2007. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) (Andrew Medichini
Frears, who has
brought several films to Cannes but never won the
top prize, offered another motive for holding back
the Palme d'Or _ "I'm very, very jealous."
"I'm sure I'll get over it," he said.
The nine jurors, who also include Nobel
Prize-winning Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk and
actresses Maggie Cheung and Toni Collette, will
watch, argue and then decide who will take home the
trophies when the 60th Cannes festival wraps up May
Contenders for the coveted Palme d'Or include Wong
Kar-wai's English-language debut, "My Blueberry
Nights"; Quentin Tarantino's "Death Proof"; and the
Coen brothers' "No Country for Old Men."
On Wednesday, the festival's first day, the jury
members told a news conference they were all
working in harmony _ at least for now.
"I will be very curious to see how we all end up _
we start off like this and maybe terrible things
will start to come out," said Frears. "So far, so
The other jurors are French actor-director Michel
Piccoli, Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako,
Canadian actor-director Sarah Polley, Portuguese
actress Maria de Medeiros and Italian director
Jurors said they were undaunted by having to choose
a winner from among 22 films in official
competition _ although several professed a
reluctance to judge fellow film artists.
"Film isn't a competitive sport," Polley said.
"I think it's more about appreciation than
judgment," added Collette.
Novelist Pamuk put the jurors' job more
"It's just going to movies with a child's
enthusiasm and then saying to daddy, `This is the
best one, this is the one I like,'" he said.
"That's why it's so much fun."
/ A h h h
. . . Fall in Cannes
no matter if
it's in the Spring or Fall, there's mild breezes
blow as the warm Mediterranean sun smiles over this
beautiful spot on the Cote d'Azur. There you can
feel a timeless sensuality, assuaging a nostalgia
for the Mediterranean which since as far back as
the 16th century has been a constant theme in many
a Northern European's
"Now give us lands where the
olives grow," Cried the North to the South, "Where
the sun with a golden mouth can blow blue bubbles
of grapes down the vineyard row!" Cried the North
to the South. (to borrow a phrase from the English
writer Elizabeth Barret
"Cannes," wrote Charles
Lentheric, the indispensable and erudite historian
of maritime Provence, in 1880, "is a town where you
feel no need to work," and "where the inhabitants
were not interested in the world that lay beyond
their shady gardens, or the sheltered balconies of
Now the world has come to
Cannes, chosen it to be their Mediterranean queen
for its annual events, and when you stroll along
the Croisette on some warm April day you will
hardly share Mr. Lenteric's sentiments. Voila!
Cannes! It has emerged so
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