Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Can Cannes live with low U.S. turnout?

May 11, 2010

Cannes2010-1So, Cannes 2010 is about to get underway and the usual bout of soul-searching, navel-gazing and nail-biting is occupying minds in the Mediterranean resort.

No one knows whether it will be a strong year or not until the end, of course, so the main focus for a lot of critics and journalists in the runup to Wednesday’s opening (with Ridley Scott’s “Robin Hood”) has been the lack of U.S. titles in the main competition lineup and also in sidebar events. Doug Liman’s political “Fair Game”, based on the true story of outed CIA agent Valerie Plame, is the country’s sole representative out of 19 competition movies. That said, Oliver Stone and Woody Allen are both in town with films, and they don’t come much bigger or more respected.

What the lack of U.S. films may translate into, of course, is a lack of A-list stars. Expected to be on the red carpet over the coming 12 days are Naomi Watts, Sean Penn, Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Mick Jagger, Tim Burton, Javier Bardem, Antonio Banderas and Kate Beckinsale. Many more will also show up with so many related and unrelated events being held in the area — music awards, charity dinners, concerts and the Grand Prix in Monaco. But the consensus appears to be that this will be a relatively star-light Cannes.

That news is good and bad. On the plus side it allows journalists to focus more on the movies themselves, which, after all, is what Cannes is all about. On the downside, it means less buzz and less interest from the world outside the frenzied, stress-fuelled Cannes bubble.

Critics are generally well disposed to the selection this year, so let’s hope that Cannes 2010 lives up to expectations.

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