The world’s largest annual cinema showcase opened on May 12 and will close on May 23, when one of 19 movies in the main competition will be named winner of the coveted Palme d’Or. As important to a successful festival are the hundreds of films shown out of competition and in the giant marketplace where producers and distributors wheel and deal.
With the majority of competition films yet to screen, the early front-runner for the top prize is British director Mike Leigh, whose wry family drama ‘Another Year’ was widely praised. He won the main award with ‘Secrets and Lies’ in 1996.
Also popular was Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s ‘Biutiful’, a moving portrayal of a dying father played by Javier Bardem, and a low-budget drama from Chad, ‘A Screaming Man’ , set against conflict in the African country.
But most movies eligible for awards have disappointed so far, and what stars there have been in the French Riviera resort have generally failed to shine either on-screen or off. “At the Cannes festival in particular, there is need of an interplay between the stars, the press and public, and we haven’t really had that yet,” said variety critic Jay Weissberg.