Market turmoil, ash, storms cloud Cannes festival

Sun May 9, 2010 8:53am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - The Cannes film festival brings its usual mix of obscure movie makers and Hollywood royalty this year, though for all the glamour and fun, financial turmoil will take some of the gloss off the world's top cinema showcase.

And following a last-minute clean-up operation in the French Riviera resort due to storms last week, organizers will now be fretting over travel disruptions as flights over other parts of Europe have again been grounded by volcanic ash.

The festival opens on Wednesday with the premiere of "Robin Hood" starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, a typically grandiose opening to an event that also champions gritty films from every corner of the globe made on shoestring budgets.

For the following 11 days, the famous and not-so-famous will walk and watch the red carpet, test their stamina at party after party, cram into darkened screening rooms and scour the giant film market for bargains.

While studio bosses in the glitzy resort may ponder the state of the broader economy and what it means for film financing, some of the biggest names in the business see Cannes as a vital cog in the marketing machine.

"Cannes is good for the film," said director Oliver Stone, who brings his sequel to the 1987 financial drama "Wall Street" to the festival.

"It's a big break because we would have come out and just been another film in this crazed (movie) mainstream," he told Reuters in an interview. "It's nice to have the honor and have that platform."

"Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," in which Michael Douglas reprises his role as ruthless corporate raider Gordon Gekko, will be among the most topical at the 2010 festival, focusing on corruption and greed at the world's biggest banks.   Continued...

<p>Employees repairing damage outside the Martinez Hotel are reflected in the hotel window in Cannes May 5, 2010 the day after unusual waves from a storm hit the southeastern coast of France a week before the opening on May 12 of the 63rd Cannes Film Festival. REUTERS/Sebastien Nogier</p>