Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Guessing games begin in Cannes

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cannes20081.jpgIt may seem a little premature to be discussing who may win this year’s coveted Palme d’Or, the top prize at the Cannes film festival. The festival doesn’t start until Wednesday, there are 22 movies in competition and only a handful of them has actually been screened to critics and reporters.

That does not stop the speculation. France’s Le Monde newspaper has an interesting point — that Steven Soderbergh’s four-and-a-half-hour epic “Che”, only just completed in time to qualify for the main competition, would not be the first “last-minute” entry to walk away with the main award.

In 1979, Francis Ford Coppola brought an early cut of “Apocalypse Now” to the French Riviera and, although it differed from the version most viewers would have seen, it won. On the festival’s Web site it is listed as “Apocalypse Now (A Work in Progress”). In 1981, Polish director Andrzej Wajda’s “Man of Iron” made it to Cannes despite reluctance on the part of the Communist authorities. It also won the Golden Palm.

There is comfort for those who come away from the glitzy festival empty-handed, however. Last year, the Coen Brothers’ “No Country For Old Men” was overlooked by the jury yet went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars.

Cannes countdown

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cannes.jpgfernando.jpgFive days and counting.

Showbiz hacks the world over will be sharpening their pencils (and fingernails), pouring over screening schedules, brushing up on blogging banter and taking plenty of deep breaths before heading for the Riviera resort of Cannes to cover the film festival which kicks off on Wednesday. Someone’s got to do it, I guess.

The first scheduling crunch comes on the first morning, no doubt a sign of things to come. “Kung Fu Panda”, a martial arts animation movie from DreamWorks, plans a stunt outside the swanky Carlton hotel on Wednesday morning at exactly the same time that the festival screens the opening competition film “Blindness”, by Fernando Meirelles of “City of God” fame. One promises to be fun yet silly, the other harrowing yet rewarding, summing up life in Cannes during the 12-day festival perfectly.

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