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24/4/2009: AUTEUR REGULARS BACK AT CANNES

The selection of films for Cannes No 62 (May 13 - 24) was announced last week and of the 52 films in various sections, only 14 are debut features – none of them in the Official Competition, which is crowded with Cannes regulars including Australia’s Jane Campion, who joins other auteurs Quentin Tarantino, Ang Lee, Pedro Almodovar, Lars von Trier, Michael Haneke, Johnnie To and Park Chan-wook. (Our full preview of the festival will be published in our May 7 edition.)

As we report elsewhere, Campion’s Bright Star is in Competition and Warwick Thornton’s Samson & Delilah (which releases in Australia May 7) is screening in the Un Certain Regard section. Thornton’s is one of the 14 first features in the festival, while Sydney-based Chris Ramos will be screening his short, Blind Date, in the Short Films Corner, a showcase for emerging filmmakers.

Dreamworks/Pixar will be unveiling their new 3D animation, Up, as the Opening Night Film, one of the few US films (& unashamedley commercial) on the Red Carpet this year.

"In competition, we have some of the world’s most famous and greatest auteurs, but some of their films are more mainstream and open than could be thought,"Festival Director Thierry Fremaux said.

Ex US President Bill Clinton will attend the May 21 American Foundation for AIDS Research gala dinner alongside Sharon Stone, Harvey Weinstein, Carine Roitfeld, Michelle Yeoh and Donatella Versace, among other personalities. This is a regular sidebar to the festival as a major fundraiser.

Singer Annie Lennox will give a special performance for the 800 VIP guests seated at tables worth US$100,000 apiece. For the first time the gala will take place at the uber-glam and uber-priced Eden Roc, at Cap d'Antibes.

And in a rare, out of Festival presentation held in Paris in February 2009, Clint Eastwood was honoured with a special Palme d’Or. Eastwood had never won the Palme d'Or with any of his films in the festival, but last year's jury led by actor Sean Penn also presented him with a lifetime achievement award. He was in Paris for the release of his latest movie, Gran Torino.

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Abbie Cornish in Jane Campion's Bright Star - in Competition


Samson & Delilah







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