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Copyright 2004

WORLD CINEMA

Festivals

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Cannes 2004: The French Riviera is ready for movie madness

Time was when the Cannes International Film Festival -- now renamed Festival De Cannes -- was allergic to Hollywood and anything that resembled it even remotely. But that is all over, and 2004 appears to strengthen this belief of mine.

Listen to what the president of the Festival, Gilles Jacob, has to say:"People have no time for boring auteur fare". So, give them the hype and hoopla of Hollywood, which the Festival's Artistic Director, Thierry Fremaux, explains by saying that Cannes now feels that it must give importance to all kinds of cinema.

Orlando Bloom (Paris) and Diane Kruger (Helen)

This year, 2004 May, at Cannes, the American block buster, "Troy", comes with extraordinary hype, with a huge model of the Trojan Horse sauntering into this city of Cannes. Bradd Pitt is Achilles, Orlando Bloom is Paris and Diane Kruger is Helen in a movie helmed by Germany's Wolfgang Petersen. I am not going to go into the story -- at least not as yet -- based on the renowned Greek epic, Iliad, but would just like to add here that half of Cannes' female population is waiting for Pitt to arrive. They could not care less about the film itself.

Well. so much so for Cannes' great reputation for presenting classic art fare.

Well, "Troy" is, in any case, not the first Hollywood blockbuster to be premiered at Cannes. But it is the first to do so in the heat of an international day-and-date campaign aiming to reach 80 per cent of the global market on the same opening weekend.

Two days after "Troy" is screened at Cannes, "Shrek 2" will be shown as part of the Festival's top Competition category. Nobody here quite understands why a sequel must be screened in Competition. "Shrek" was also part of the Cannes Competition some summers ago.

If Pitt is coming to Cannes for the first time, so is Tom Hanks to promote the Coen Brothers' "The Ladykillers".

With Charlize Theron ("Monster", which got her an Oscar this year, 2004), Quentin Tarantino (president of the main international jury at Cannes), star Kathleen Turner (also on the jury) and French sexpot Emmanuelle Beart (also on the jury, with a pronounced pout) all about to step into Cannes, this year's Festival seems all set to witness movie madness reach its peak.

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