The 66th Cannes Film Festival has kicked off under thunderous torrential rain, adding to the charm of the French Riviera more famous for it’s warm and sunny days. The cinematic glamour quotient has once again brought the spotlight to the quiet, exotic city of Cannes; where movies, fortune and creative inspiration, become inseparable.
The prestigious jury is composed of 4 women and 4 men who represent the global film industry, with Steven Spielberg as the President for the 66th Film Festival. Collectively, they will have the delicate task to choose among the 20 films in competition a winner for the Palme D’Or a unique trophy design that includes a hand-cast, 24-carat gold palm frond attached to a piece of cut crystal, designed by Chopard. The award is presented to the winner of Best Director in a box of blue, Moroccan leather, inlaid with white suede. In partnership with the Cannes Film Festival, Chopard gives the Palme award annually for the best film in the competition — 118 grams of gold, worth more than 20,000 euros. “The Palme” which is worth much more than it’s financial value, is a powerful symbol of recognition at the most prestigious film festival in the world.
Di Caprio & Gatsby : Stars at Cannes 2013
During the opening ceremony, Di Caprio, and his “Gatsby” co-star, Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan, declared the 66th Cannes officially open. The Cannes Film Festival has the starriest Jury ever, comprised of Vidya Balan (Bollywood actress), Naomi Kawase (Japanese Director), Nicole Kidman (Australian actress), Lynne Ramsay (British Director), Daniel Auteuil (French Actor), Ang Lee (Taiwan Director) Cristian Mungiu (Romanian Director), and Christophe Waltz (Austrian actor).
Audrey Tautou (French actress from “Amelie Poulain”) launched the ceremony with a poetic introduction, while the show hit it’s climax while presenting Steven Spielberg, President of the Jury. The live band played “The Colour Purple” (Spielberg in 1985) while he received a long, standing ovation.
The Film premier at the ceremony was “The Great Gastby” — a masterpiece, that has gained literary and cinematic critical acclaim, and a fitting launch to celebrate the cinematic spectacle at Cannes. Director Baz Lurmann and his entourage of TGG’s prestigious cast, including Leonardo Di Caprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire, added to the glitz and glamour of the event. Incidentally the film is an adaption of the best seller, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby” that he wrote in Saint Raphael, a village near Cannes!
Contenders for the 66th Palme D’Or Awards:
1. The Past by Iranian Director Asghar Farhadi
2. Heli by Mexican Director Amat Escalante
3. Grigris by French Chadian Director, Mahamat Saleh Haroun
4. A Chateau In Italy by Italian Filmmaker Valeria Bruni Tedeschi
5. Behind the Candelabra by Steven Soderbergh
6. Borgman by Dutch Filmmaker Alex Van Warmerdam
7. Inside Llewyn Davis by American Filmmakers Ethan and Joel Coen
8. Young & Beautiful by French Film Director Francois Oozon
9. Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian by French Filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin
10. The Great Beauty by Italian Filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino
11. Venus in Fur by Italian Filmmaker Roman Polanski
12. Blue is the Warmest Colour by Tunisian filmmaker Abellatif Kechiche
13. Michael Kohlhaas by French Filmmaker Arnaud Des Pallieres
14. Nebraska by American Director Alexander Payne
15. Only God Forgives by Danish Film Director Nicolas Winding Refn
16. Only Lovers Left Alive by American Film Director Jim Jarmuch
17. Like Father like Son by Japanese Film Director Kore-eda Hirokazzu
18. A Touch of Sin by Chinese Filmmaker Jia Zhangke
19. The Immigrant by American Director James Gray
20. Shield of Straw by Japanese Filmmaker Takashi Miike
It’s just a few days that I have been here and the excitement in the air is electrifying. As I walk down the beautiful boulevard of Promenade de la Croisette, soaking in the torrential downpour, the glitz and glamour of the movies, has me truly enamoured. To be in the presence of some of the most talented Cinematic Artistes in the world and to catch a glimpse of them at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, I have come to realize how the invention of the movies, has been the Black Swan Event of our collective existence. It’s just the curtain raiser here at Cannes — there’s much more to come. Despite life imitating art, with the Gunshot incident and theft of 1 million dollars worth of Choppard’s Jewellery notwithstanding; the show must go on!
Reporting for Arabian Gazette from Cannes, is our Special Correspondent, Rahma Rachdi