Nervous Hollywood shuns Cannes Festival

BRITISH film stars and art-house directors from around the world gathered in Cannes yesterday to take advantage of the gap left by Hollywood studios who have shunned the film festival this year.

The festival was opened by Kristin Scott Thomas, the quintessentially British star of The English Patient, and just one of a number of British actors hoping to attract the limelight and hype which usually surrounds the Hollywood stars.

The big American studios are determined to keep an iron grip on their publicity this year, so new blockbusters, such as the Star Wars prequel The Phantom Menace and Stanley Kubrick's last film Eyes Wide Shut, are staying away.

One Hollywood executive said last week: "Studios have been burnt too many times at Cannes. They risk badly damaging a movie if the reception is a hostile one, or being labelled an art movie if it does well."

Instead, this year's glamour will be provided by the likes of Sean Connery, whose film Entrapment will be the biggest premiere of the festival, and Tim Roth, who is in competition as a director with The War Zone. The opening film of the festival, The Barber of Siberia, is a British-Russian co-production, starring Richard Harris and Julia Ormond.

Connery's co-star, Catherine Zeta-Jones, is one of the British actors tipped to attract most attention from casting directors thanks to the absence of Hollywood talent.

Ever since photographers gathered around an unknown woman in a bikini on the beach at Cannes in 1953 and made Brigitte Bardot famous, attracting attention has been a major feature of the festival. The year after Bardot made a stir, another starlet, Simone Sylva, went one better and popped out of her brassiere so that Robert Mitchum could adjust her clothing.

With the exception of Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, whose film The Cradle Will Rock is in the official competition, much of the festival publicity will focus on British actors such as Rupert Everett, Minnie Driver, Cate Blanchett and the publicity machine in a dress that is Liz Hurley. Bob Hoskins will be there for the opening of Atom Egoyan's Canadian competition entry Felicia's Journey.

The absence of Hollywood blockbusters also means that for the first time in years Cannes has moved closer to its roots as an art film festival.

The list of directors competing for the top prize, the Palme d'Or, reads like a Who's Who of independent film-making, and Britain is represented by the conspicuously arty Peter Greenaway. His film Eight and a Half Women is among the 20 films in the official competition, as is Wonderland, a study of London life by Britain's Michael Winterbottom, director of Welcome to Sarajevo.

Other directors on the Palme list include the Spanish master of kitsch Pedro Almodovar, the American auteurs John Sayles, David Lynch and Jim Jarmusch, and China's Chen Kaige, whose Farewell My Concubine is a past Palme d'Or winner. Lynch's The Straight Story and Takeshi Kitano's Kikujiro have already emerged as favourites to take the main prize this year.

The chances of a challenging and innovative film winning this year look good thanks to the presence of David Cronenberg, the Canadian director of Crash, as president of the jury.

Also on the jury is the unpredictable Australian director George Miller, who made Mad Max, and the actors Jeff Goldblum, star of The Fly, and Holly Hunter, who is best known for her role in The Piano.

Among films not included in the official competition, but vying for other prizes at Cannes, are a number of British films, including Ratcatcher by Lynne Ramsey, the story of a 12-year-old Glasgow boy set during a binmen's strike in the Seventies, The Last September, a film by the theatre director Deborah Warner, about the Anglo-Irish aristocracy in the Twenties, and Hold Back the Night by Phil Davis, about two children on the run.

Other films tipped to generate hype include Spike Lee's Summer of Sam, a thriller based on the true story of a New York serial killer, and the actress Angelica Houston's direction of Agnes Brown, about a Dublin widow.

Palme D'Or Contenders

DIRECTOR FILM

Pedro Almodovar Todo Sobre Mi Madre

(Everything About My Mother) - Spain

Peter Greenaway Eight and a Half Women - UK

Jim Jarmusch Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samourai - USA

Atom Egoyan Felicia's Journey - Canada

Takeshi Takeshi Kitano Kikujiro No Natsu - Japan

David Lynch The Straight Story - USA

Tim Robbins The Cradle Will Rock - USA

John Sayles Limbo - USA

Alexandre Sokurov Moloch - Russia

Michael Winterbottom Wonderland - UK

Marco Bellocchio La Balia (The Nanny) - Italy

Leos Carax Pola X - France

Chen Kaige The Emperor and the Assassin - China

Luc et Jean-Pierre Dardenne Rosetta - Belgium

Bruno Dumont l'Humanite (Humanity) - France

Amos Gitai Kadosh - Israel

Jacques Maillot Nos Vies Heureuses

(Our Happy Lives) - France

Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Ghesse Haye Kish - Iran

Abolfaz Djalili & Nasser Taghvai

Manoel De Oliveira A Carta (The Letter) - Portugal

Arturo Ripstein El Coronel no Tienne Quien le Escriba (No One Writes to the Colonel) - Mexico

Raoul Ruiz Le Temps Retrouve

(Time Regained) - France

Yu Lik Wai Love Will Tear Us Apart - Hong Kong

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's most starring part
News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
News
We are phenomenally good at recognising faces; the study showed that humans have been selected to be unique and easily recognisable
science

Human faces unique 'because we don't recognise each other by smell'

Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
news

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Portfolio Analyst - Prince2

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client, a glob...

Project Co-ordinator - Birmingham - Permanant

£20000 - £25000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Head of Maths

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Head of Maths position at a prestigious ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week