Cannes film festival opens with fittingly lavish 'Great Gatsby'

Mon May 13, 2013 8:19am EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

LONDON (Reuters) - 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 glamour 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-fuelled 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 movie making - 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.   Continued...

Posters for the film 'The Great Gatsby' showing actor Leonardo DiCaprio (C) and actress Carey Mulligan (R) are displayed outside the Carlton Hotel before the start of the 66th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes May 13, 2013. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau