May 28, 2009

Highlights of Cannes Film Festival, 2009; anxiously waiting for the winner of Palme d'Or

With the hope that this year's Cannes will not be left in the shadow by the media, I’ve been clicking from entertainment to mainstream news channels every day. However, aside from Today’s show’s Ann Curry who flew to Cannes to feed her team in New York with juicy details on all about Cannes – so far, nothing good came out of these reports. As much as I respect the Today’s journalists, they lack what might be the key events of the Cannes, not to mention that Cannes is as important for the global cinematography as Oscar’s is for USA.

And again, same as last year – Cannes Film Festival has been receiving very disappointing media coverage. Even Brad Pitt looked emotionless on this morning’s interview with Ann Curry as he flabbily talked about his new collaborative work with Quentin Tarantino, Inglorious Basterds. His dull response did not fit the emotions that we, as TV viewers, should feel at one of the most beautiful cities in the Southern France locations, the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. Or as it’s known to the rest of the world - French Riviera. Overlooking these deep blue waters of the riviera, sugar-white yachts parked along the bay, sun-illuminating palm trees, and petite rocks of beach sand – no one can look bored, but Pitt managed to do so. So, this year’s Cannes Film Festival is no different from last year’s, and unfortunately, we can only learn about the festival’s film selections, winners and losers, after-screening parties, and cause-related fundraisers and events online. Thank god that for the Cannes Film Festival official site, which daily reports on the developments.

Longing to know what celebrities attended and which films out of 20 in competition will take home The Palme d'Or (and the other awards of The Grand Prix, The Best Actress Award, The Best Actor Award, The Best Director Award, The Best Screenplay Award, The Jury Award, The Short Film Palme d'Or, and The Caméra d'Or Prize) leaves the audience wanting spicy details, but it has been going quite and dull on our part of media coverage. However, there is still hope that American film lovers will get some coverage of the festival in the next few days.

Before we can blame the lame publicity that only focuses on the already over-exposed Hollywood couple of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, or on bikini-full Pamela Anderson, let's wait and see this year. At least last year, Leonardo Di Caprio did more than attended film screenings – he presented his views on environment with an eco-friendly campaign, which still, for the most part, was overlooked by the press and kept low key.

I personally always want to see more international stars on the red carpet – celebrities that do belong on the European red carpet. Last year, it seemed that Hollywood managed to take over the Cannes Film Festival with the likes of such blockbusters as Ocean Thirteen and Zodiac, while the master pieces of international cinema from France, Japan, Italy, Germany, Russia, Spain were not much covered, if at all.

Where are the good friends and enemies of Hollywood – the loyal press and paparazzi of Hello and OK! Magazines – where are their European counterparts? Did they forget about their own actors and directors and failed to spot and report on the likes of Gerald Depardieu, Sophie Marceau, Monica Belucci, Juliette Binoche, Ludivine Sagnier (remember Swimming Pool?), Louis Garrel (I'm sure many of you watched The Dreamers a few times just to see a French liberated brother of Eva Green), Chiara Mastroianni (she does take a lot from the looks of her famous parents: Marcello Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve), Tilda Swinton (a very talented and unique Anglo-Scots redhead from London, most known for art-house films and her Golden Globe Award nomination for The Deep End), Jane Birkin (the wonderful muse and French fashion inspiration for Hermes Birkin who named one of his most famous bags Birkin after her), brilliant director Emir Kursturica (see his latest film – Promise Me This) and Diane Kruger (the next beautiful and talent imports from Deutschland.)

And if you have missed that two-minute coverage of the festival last year, and who still wonders what’s going on at the festival this year. I’m here to share it with you.

2009 Cannes Film Festival Official Selection:

2. ANTICHRIST directed by Lars VON TRIER
3. BAK-JWI (THIRST) directed by PARK Chan-Wook
4. BRIGHT STAR directed by Jane CAMPION
5. CHUN FENG CHEN ZUI DE YE WAN (Spring Fever) directed by LOU Ye
7. ENTER THE VOID directed by Gaspar NOÉ
8. FISH TANK directed by Andrea ARNOLD
10. KINATAY directed by Brillante MENDOZA
12. LOOKING FOR ERIC directed by Ken LOACH
14. MAP OF THE SOUNDS OF TOKYO directed by Isabel COIXET
15. TAKING WOODSTOCK directed by Ang LEE
17. UN PROPHÈTE (A PROPHET) directed by Jacques AUDIARD
18. VENGEANCE directed by Johnnie TO
19. VINCERE directed by Marco BELLOCCHIO
20. VISAGE (FACE) directed by TSAI Ming-Liang

Cannes Film Festival Juries:

Isabelle Huppert, actress
Asia Argento, actress
Nuri Bilge Ceylan, director
James Gray, director
Chang-dong Lee, director
Hanif Kureishi
Robin Wright Penn, actress
Shu Qi, actress
Sharmila Tagore, actress

Essentials of the Cannes Film Festival:

Quentin Tarantino introduces his Inglorious Basterds:

This film has been one of the auction 'items' at the Sharon Stone’s and Harvey Weinstein's annual Cannes 'must-do' amFAR benefit Gala, The Foundation for AIDS Research yesterday, May 21st. A private screening for 50 of Quentin Tarantino and The Weinstein Company's highly-anticipated 'Inglourious Basterds' was followed by an exclusive after-party and three-course dinner at Cipriani Wall Street.

Read more about the amFAR benefit Gala here.

Another favorite of Cannes Film Festival:
Monica Bellucci and Sophie Marceau film Ne Te Retourne Pas, an official selection at this year's Cannes Film Festival:

Actors who were expected in Cannes this year:

Anne Alvaro, Ursula Andres, Natacha Amal, Ariane Ascaride, Francois Berléand, Patrick Braoudé, Eric Cantona, Claudia Cardinale, Vincent Cassel, François Cluzet, Grégoire Colin, Anne Consigny, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Joaquim De Almeida, Emma De Caunes, Léa Drucker, Franck Dubosc, André Dussolier, Eriq Ebouaney, Pascal Elbe, Ronit Elkabetz, Julie Ferrier, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Natalia Imbruglia, Paris Hilton, Emile Hirsch, Mélanie Laurent, Virginie Ledoyen, Thierry Lhermitte, Alessandra Martines, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Anna Mouglalis, Mike Myers, Elsa Pataky, Robert Pattinson, Kevin Pollak, Vincent Perez, Brad Pitt, Laura Ramsey, Jeremy Renier, Giovanni Ribisi, Kid Rock, Sharon Stone, Tilman Schweiger, Léa Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, Said Taghmaoui, Mike Tyson, Dita Von Teese, Gérard Watkins, Rachel Weisz, Lambert Wilson, Gabrielle Wright, and Roshdy Zem.

Just remember, The Cannes Film Festival is not all about George Clooney.

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