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Courting Peace and the Palme d'Or at Cannes


PARIS — Perennial favorites and some promising new faces were among the directors bringing their work to this year's Cannes Film Festival, which also acknowledges the simmering Mideast conflict with an Israeli and a Palestinian film presented as "acts of peace."

The selection announced Wednesday includes 22 films competing for the festival's biggest prize, the Palme d'Or. Four former winners are returning: British director Mike Leigh ("Secrets & Lies"), Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami ("The Taste of Cherry") and Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne of Belgium ("Rosetta").

Among the U.S. entries, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore ("Roger & Me") will present "Bowling for Columbine," which takes a look at the gun culture, starting with the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado.

Also on the slate is the fourth film from Paul Thomas Anderson ("Magnolia"), titled "Punch-Drunk Love" and starring Adam Sandler and Emily Watson. Director Alexander Payne ("Election") presents "About Schmidt," with Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates, about a man trying to run his daughter's life.

Roman Polanski ("Rosemary's Baby") will be at Cannes with "The Pianist," with Adrien Brody, about a man who survives the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. And David Cronenberg, the Canadian director who headed the Cannes jury in 1999, is back with "Spider," about a man with acute schizophrenia, starring Ralph Fiennes, Miranda Richardson and Lynn Redgrave.

British director Ken Loach is back with "Sweet Sixteen." Britain is also represented by Leigh with "All or Nothing," about a weekend in a London housing project, and Michael Winterbottom, with "24-Hour Party People."

Israeli director Amos Gitai, who presented "Kadosh" and "Kippur," is back for the third time in four years with "Kedma." Elia Suleiman, a Palestinian, presents "Intervention Divine."

From Asia, South Korean director Im Kwon-taek, who presented the visually sumptuous "Chunhyang" in 2000, is back with "Chihwaseon." China is represented by Jia Zhang Ke's "Ren Xiao Yao (Unknown Pleasures)."

Kiarostami is back with "10," and the Dardenne brothers are presenting "Le Fils (The Son)."

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