Hard-hitting Brazilian film opens Cannes festival

Tue May 13, 2008 6:16pm EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

CANNES, France (Reuters) - Hard-hitting Brazilian film "Blindness" gets the Cannes film festival under way on Wednesday, kicking off 12 hectic days of movies, publicity and late-night revelry in the Riviera resort.

Directed by Brazil's Fernando Meirelles, of "City of God" renown, the movie is an adaptation of Nobel Prize-winning writer Jose Saramago's novel of the same name, and tells the apocalyptic story of a plague of blindness sweeping the world.

Julianne Moore plays a doctor's wife, who, like the film's audience, is able to see the harrowing events going on around her and who gradually becomes aware of the responsibilities that brings.

The movie is an appropriate choice to open a festival that is showcasing South American cinema.

Joining Meirelles in the main competition is another Brazilian entry "Line of Passage," by Walter Salles, and two Argentine productions -- Pablo Trapero's prison drama "Leonera" and thriller "The Headless Woman" by Lucrecia Martel.

They are up against Clint Eastwood's "Changeling," starring Angelina Jolie, and Steven Soderbergh's "Che," a two-part, four-and-a-half hour epic on Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara, with Benicio del Toro in the title role.

The other two U.S. entries are James Gray's "Two Lovers," featuring Gwyneth Paltrow and Joaquin Phoenix, and Charlie Kaufman's "Synecdoche, New York" with Philip Seymour Hoffman.

INDIANA AND ITALY   Continued...

<p>Luxury yachts in the port of Cannes are seen through a Palme d'Or metal cutout on the eve of the opening of the 61th Cannes Film Festival May 13, 2008. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler</p>