PARIS (Reuters) - Clint Eastwood and Woody Allen will be among high-profile U.S. directors at this year's Cannes film festival, where Hollywood will also be on show with the world premiere of the latest Indiana Jones adventure.
Unveiling the line-up for the 61st edition of the world's biggest film festival, which runs from May 14-25, organizers said there was a feeling that "a new cycle was beginning" after the widely hailed success of last year's event.
"It won't have escaped you that the selection process was long, complicated and quite difficult," Thierry Fremaux, the festival's head, told a news conference that was delayed from an originally scheduled date last week.
He said the presence of Steven Spielberg and the stars of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," which will premiere outside the main competition, would ensure "a magnificent red carpet."
Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett and George Lucas are expected to join Spielberg on the steps outside the Palais des Festivals, guaranteeing the kinds of flashing cameras that add essential glamour to the festival's arthouse fare.
Fans crowding the Croisette will also be hoping for glimpses of Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem who star in Woody Allen's "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."
But there should be plenty of familiar names in the main competition, as well.
Eastwood's film "The Changeling," starring Angelina Jolie as a woman searching for her missing son in 1920s Los Angeles, joins a competition list that also includes works by previous Palme d'Or winners Steven Soderbergh and Wim Wenders.
Soderbergh, who took the top Cannes award in 1989 for "Sex, Lies and Videotape," won a race against time to complete his four-hour epic "Che," on the life of the revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara in time for the festival.
Wenders, who won in 1984 with "Paris Texas," returns with "The Palermo Shooting," a love story starring Dennis Hopper and Italian actress Giovanna Mezzogiorno.
Two films also add a flavor of Italy's tangled political scene, "Gomorra," Matteo Garrone's depiction of the Camorra, the Naples version of the mafia, and Paolo Sorrentino's "Il Divo," on the great survivor of Italian politics, Giulio Andreotti.
From Asia, Jia Zhangke, one of the leading figures in the new generation of Chinese cinema, will be showing "24 City," his latest examination of the upheavals caused by China's rapid economic expansion.
Outside the main competition, two of sport's most charismatic but troubled champions feature in James Toback's "Tyson," about heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson and Emir Kusturica's treatment of soccer legend Diego Maradona in "Maradona."
The competition jury is headed by Sean Penn and includes actors Natalie Portman, Sergio Castellitto and Alexandra Maria Lara and directors Rachid Bouchareb, Alfonso Cuaron and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
Editing by Paul Casciato