Cannes pits Hollywood against obscure arthouse

Sun May 11, 2008 6:02am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Hollywood legends and obscure arthouse directors descend on Cannes from Wednesday for the world's biggest film festival that combines edgy cinema with A-list celebrities, glitzy parties and frenetic deal-making.

Clint Eastwood is in the main competition with "Changeling," starring Angelina Jolie, pitting him against, among others, Kornel Mundruczo of Hungary in the kind of David-and-Goliath contest on which Cannes thrives.

Out of competition, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas will be on the famed red carpet in the palm-lined seafront town with the latest Indiana Jones adventure featuring Harrison Ford and Cate Blanchett.

Woody Allen also presents "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" starring Penelope Cruz, Scarlett Johansson and Javier Bardem.

The 61st edition of the super-charged 12-day movie marathon has a strong South American flavor, with two Argentinian and two Brazilian films in the main competition lineup.

From Argentina comes Pablo Trapero's prison drama "Leonera" and thriller "The Headless Woman" by Lucrecia Martel, and Brazil has Walter Salles's "Line of Passage" and "Blindness," directed by Fernando Meirelles of "City of God" fame.

"I think it reflects what people have been talking about, and that is the re-emergence of quality cinema throughout Latin America, including Mexico, Argentina and Brazil," said Jay Weissberg, Rome-based critic for trade publication Variety.

U.S. director Steven Soderbergh also presents "Che," his two-part, four-and-a-half-hour epic on Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara, with Benicio del Toro in the title role.   Continued...

<p>Gilles Jacob (L), president of the 61st Cannes Film Festival and Thierry Fremaux (R), general delegate of the festival, pose in front of the official poster after a news conference to announce the selection of competing films in Paris April 23, 2008. The festival runs through May 14 - 25. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier</p>