‘The Great Gatsby’ to open Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday

"The Great Gatsby," featuring copious flamboyant party scenes, will open the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday Credit: Warner Bros. Picutres
“The Great Gatsby,” featuring copious flamboyant party scenes, will open the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday.
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

The 2013 Cannes film festival opens on Wednesday with Baz Luhrmann’s 3D version of “The Great Gatsby,” a lavish throwback to the Roaring Twenties that befits the glamor and excess of the world’s biggest cinema showcase.

The Australian director’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel starring Leonardo DiCaprio surprised some Hollywood insiders, because Cannes traditionally launches on the palm-lined French Riviera with a splashy world premiere.

But “The Great Gatsby” has already opened in the United States to mixed reviews and solid box office, potentially dampening buzz surrounding the start of 12 days of screenings, champagne-fueled parties and dealmaking.

Stars expected to face a phalanx of flash bulbs along the red carpet include Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Ryan Gosling, Emma Watson and Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchan.

Their pictures will undergo one of the most grueling tests in moviemaking — pleasing Cannes’ notoriously picky critics, who regularly boo as the credits roll if they are unhappy.

And behind the scenes at the event, up to 40,000 film professionals will be seeking to buy and sell the next box office hit at the most important movie market of the year.

“This is the hardest 10 days of the year for me. There are always three or four movies that are exceptional and you have to find them so it is a detective job,” said Tom Bernard, co-president and co-founder of Sony Pictures Classics.

Critics have praised the selection of films being screened at the 66th Cannes festival, saying it is a strong, well-curated list ranging from hotly anticipated potential crowd-pleasers to beautifully crafted, artistic cinema.

Strong U.S. showing

American directors have their biggest showing in six years in the main competition at Cannes, making up five of 20 films vying for the coveted Palme D’Or for best picture awarded by a jury headed by Steven Spielberg on the final day, May 26.

Steven Soderbergh’s “Behind the Candelabra,” starring Douglas as the gay pianist Liberace and Damon as his young lover, is already generating huge interest, particularly as Soderbergh has hinted that this could be his last movie.

Also in focus is Joel and Ethan Coen’s “Inside Llewyn Davis” about New York’s gritty 1960s folk music scene, James Gray’s “The Immigrant,” Jim Jarmusch’s vampire movie “Only Lovers Left Alive” and Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska.”

French filmmakers are also well represented with five films in the main competition, including Roman Polanski’s French-language “La Venus a la Fourrure” (Venus in Fur), a backstage drama starring his wife Emmanuelle Seigner.

Two Japanese movies are in the running and one each from China, Chad, Mexico, Iran, Tunisia, Italy and the Netherlands, while Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Only God Forgives” with Ryan Gosling in a Thai gangland thriller is creating buzz.

Critics have earmarked “Le Passe” by Iran’s Asghar Farhadi and “Like Father, Like Son” by leading Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda as strong domestic dramas. Farhadi won an Oscar for best foreign language film in 2012 for “A Separation.”

Despite criticism of an all-male lineup last year, only one female director has made the 2013 competition. Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, sister of former French first lady Carla Bruni, is in the field with “Un Chateau en Italie.”

The sidebar section, Un Certain Regard, set up to recognize young filmmakers, will feature 19 films including “The Bling Ring” by Sofia Coppola starring Harry Potter actress Emma Watson about a real-life gang stealing from celebrities’ homes.

“It is a strong line-up this year looking at the names of the directors, especially those in competition,” said Wendy Mitchell, editor of the magazine Screen International.

“There are some very sellable films this year, and the fact that business was down at the Berlin festival (in February) usually means that there will be keen buyers at Cannes.”

Out of competition, hundreds of films will be shown in special sessions while 4,000 or so films, many yet to be made, will be haggled over in meetings along the Croisette, the resort’s chic promenade, or on extravagant yachts moored nearby.

Patrick Wachsberger, co-chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, said he never had time to go to screenings but used Cannes to build buzz for new films including the second and third “Hunger Games” movies.

“You meet with distributors every 30 minutes and it really is like going to the dentist,” said Wachsberger. “The business seems more complicated than it used to be and a bit more frantic, but the money at stake is higher and it’s a bigger gamble.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Tattooed, bearded suspect sought in Williamsburg bike theft:…

The suspected thief faces grand larceny charges after investigators said he entered the building on North 5th Street in Williamsburg.

Local

Report: Rich New Yorkers don't move from NYC…

An Independent Budget Office analysis found that the wealthiest residents don't move out of the city any more or less than other New Yorkers.

National

Pioneers for domestic violence push on

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. Two decades have passed since the O.J. Simpson trial captivated the country. But in the 20 years…

Local

Food truck with a mission hires at-risk New…

A group branding itself as food trucks for social justice specifically hires and trains young men and women with troubled pasts.

Movies

Review: 'A Most Wanted Man' works better when…

In one of his last roles, Philip Seymour Hoffman headlines the John Le Carre adaptation of "A Most Wanted Man," about the pursuit of a Chechen refugee.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, July 22: 'Royal Pains,'…

Catch a new episode of "Royal Pains" where Hank has to help out a housesitter.

Entertainment

'Bachelorette' recap: Episode 10, 'Men Tell All'

Why does the #MenTellAll episode exist? Because they don’t, and it shouldn’t. Is it a lazy vehicle to sell more ad space? Is it to…

Television

Olivia Williams explains the ins and outs of…

Olivia Williams plays a botanist beginning to suspect her physicist husband's work on the Manhattan Project might be ominous in WGN America's "Manhattan."

NFL

5 players to watch at Giants training camp

Metro takes a look at five players who will be on everyone’s mind when Giants training camp gets underway.

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

MLB

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according…

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according to report

NFL

Giants lineman Chris Snee to retire: Reports

The Giants report to training camp on Tuesday, but Chris Snee may not be there when they do.

Parenting

Buy gently worn back-to-school clothes with Kidizen

Kidizen allows parents to buy and sell gently worn back-to-school clothes.

Wellbeing

Ruling could be beginning of the end for…

This morning, a federal appeals court threw out an IRS regulation that implements subsidies for low-income Americans who bought insurance through Obamacare. These Affordable Care…

Tech

RocketSkates let users roll with a motor

Los Angeles company Acton has raised funds on Kickstarter to roll out a nifty alternative – motor-powered "RocketSkates."

Tech

Knicks star Carmelo Anthony becomes a tech entrepreneur

He's been an All-Star, an Olympian, and a celebrity spokesperson. Now NBA player Carmelo Anthony is adding the position "tech entrepreneur" to his resume. Along…