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Copyright 2004

WORLD CINEMA

Festivals

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Cannes 2004: Ready to lighten moods


THE CANNES INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL'S FIRST PRESS MEET THIS YEAR WAS HELD AS USUAL IN PARIS ON WEDNESDAY APRIL 21 2004.THE LIST OF MOVIES WAS ANNOUNCED. HERE IS WHAT I FEEL.

The 57th Cannes International Film Festival is all set to lighten moods as it unrolls on May 12 2004. Long considered a citadel of serious and heavy fare, this time, the 12-day event will be sprinkled with comedies.

Thierry Fremaux, Cannes Artistic Director, told the Paris Press conference on April 21 2004: During the past few years, fiction movie-making has sought to redefine the formal boundaries, and has quite often taken radical turns that disturbed the general public. This is not going to be true for the films presented in 2004"

Among the 18 movies that will compete for the top Golden Palm Prize on a lighter, almost comic, vein are the Coen Brothers' remake of "The Lady Killers" ,Stephen Hopkins' biopic of the legendary British comedian,"The Life and Death of Peter Sellers", and the DreamWorks animation, "Shrek 2".

In 2001, the original "Shrek" became the first animated work to compete at Cannes since 1953.

This summer, "Shrek 2" will have company: Japanese animation, "Innocence".

Away from the comedies, the Competition will include the Cannes regulars and big names in the world of international cinema.Bosnian helmer Emir Kusturica (with his "Life is a Miracle"),China's Wong Kar-wai ("2046", which unites his popular "In the Mood for Love" pair, Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung), America's Michael Moore (with his documentary, "Fahrenheit 9-11"), Latin America's Walter Salles ("The Motorcycle Diaries"), France's Olivier Assayas' ("Clean") and Japan's Hirokazu Kore-eda ("Nobody Knows") are some to look forward to.

But, the festival will, this May, also have as many as 12 directors vying for the Golden Palm for the first time. Among them are Hans Weingartner from Germany, just 28, but who feels "Happy Days Are Gone" (that is his creation), Agnes Jaoui (France, "The Taste of Others") Park Chan-wook (South Korea, "Old Boy" and Thailand's Apichatpong Weerasethakul, whose work is "Tropical Malady". Thailand will be competing for the top honour for the first time in the history of Cannes.

Freemaux said that in addition to "wishing to make the festival a meeting place of established artists, such as Kusturica and Coen Brothers, the organisers wanted to give the event a shot of new blood by bringing in young directors".

Three American films will compete against three French pictures.There is one each from Italy, Germany and Bosnia. Japan and South Korea contribute two each to Competition. Britain none!

On May 12, the festival will open with Pedro Almodovar's "Bad Education" -- the first time this pride going to Spain -- and on May 23 will close with Irwin Winkler's "De-Lovely".

Both these movies are Out of Competition. Some others in this category are Abbas Kiarostami's "Five" (Iran), Zhang Yimou's "Flying Daggers" (China), Wolggang Petersen's "Troy" (Germany) and Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill Volume 2" (USA).

Tarantino ("Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction") will chair the nine-member international jury, which will include Hollywood star Kathleen Turner, French sexpot Emmanuelle Beart and edgy British actress Tilda Swinton.




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