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The Week Ahead

Big films, big names head for Cannes

May 12, 2003|Lorenza Munoz

The world's entertainment press, cinephiles and film buyers will descend on the Cote d'Azur this week as the 56th annual Cannes Film Festival gets underway Wednesday.

Though many American studio executives say this year may be an unusually slow one at the festival, some big names and big movies will be in play, along with some smaller American movies in competition, such as Gus Van Sant's "Elephant."

Clint Eastwood, a Cannes habitue and perennial favorite, will debut his latest drama, "Mystic River," as part of the prestigious contest.

Out of competition, Warner Bros. will show "The Matrix Reloaded" on Thursday, the same day the Andy and Larry Wachowski futuristic thriller opens around the world. And Arnold Schwarzenegger will be showing off his animatronic and robotic friends on the steps of the swank Carlton Hotel in hopes of pumping up publicity for his summer movie "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines." Those involved with "T3" say the movie's director, Jonathan Mostow, is putting the finishing touches on the film's special effects and did not feel it was ready for viewing. In place of the full show, they plan to show an extended trailer.

Oliver Stone will be on hand to lecture on how he got into cinema; actress Meg Ryan and director Steven Soderbergh are members of the jury.

This year's film festival will open with an ode to Louis XV's France with Gerard Krawczyk's "Fanfan La Tulipe" on the first day. The mostly French cast includes Vincent Perez and Penelope Cruz. The festival will close with a bit of nostalgia: Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times." The festival concludes May 24.

It doesn't appear frosty Franco-American relations have cooled Hollywood's participation in the festival. The bigger question seems to be whether Europe's lagging TV advertising market will affect sales and acquisitions at Cannes Film Market, which occurs simultaneously with the fest. Another question is the degree of participation by filmmakers and buyers from SARS-affected areas, including Hong Kong and China.

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