The 66th Cannes film festival begins on Wednesday. The world’s most important cinema showcase is putting the final touches in place
that make this Mediterranean resort so irresistible at this time of year. This year’s poster features Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward who were first honoured by Cannes in 1958, the year they married.
More than 4000 films will be seen, pitched, haggled over, sold or perhaps just imagined as belief is suspended and dreams dreamt, by filmmakers and fans alike. Star spotting is part of the fun.
“To see the stars you have to come as early as possible and now we come here from the Sunday, instead of going to church. And we can’t wait for Wednesday. It’s almost become a real job,” said one fan.
“We’re waiting for the French actors of course. We’re very impatient to see Alain Delon and Leonardo Di Caprio, and the great film-maker Spielberg, who I love,” said another.
Cannes normally opens with a world premiere, but not this year. The curtain raiser is “The Great Gatsby” which has already opened in America, to lukewarm reviews.
Organisers say the Newman/Woodward poster is supposed to evoke a “luminous and tender image of the modern couple”, presumably like Hollywood and Cannes, and American directors do have their biggest entry in the Palme d’Or competition in six years; five movies battle it out with five French efforts, two from Japan, and one each from Chad, China, Denmark, Mexico, Iran, Tunisia, Italy, and the Netherlands.
Beyond the movies themselves Cannes is also about the cinema business, and buying, selling, making deals and quaffing champagne will keep industry insiders busy around the clock for 10 days.