Bigger stars, stronger industry to boost Cannes

Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:44am EDT
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By Nick Vinocur

PARIS (Reuters) - Bigger stars on the carpet, a stronger film industry and the much anticipated comeback of U.S. director Terrence Malick are set to give this year's Cannes Film Festival a boost after a subdued 2010.

Among the most hotly anticipated titles in competition at Cannes this year is "The Tree of Life," a period drama starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn and directed by Terrence Malick, who makes a comeback at Cannes after failing to finish his movie on time last year.

Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier, known for stark and emotional movies like "Breaking the Waves" and "Dancer in the Dark," is also back in the running with "Melancholia," a science fiction drama starring Kirsten Dunst and Kiefer Sutherland.

Pedro Almodovar, the Spanish director known for his colorful images, takes a new tack with "The Skin That I Inhabit," a revenge story featuring Antonio Banderas about a surgeon on the hunt for the men who killed his daughter.

Unveiling the list of nominated movies for the festival, an oasis for independent filmmakers, organizer Thierry Fremaux told journalists that the movie business was almost fully recovered from a year marked by financing woes for art-house productions.

Last year's competition on the French Riviera lacked buzz with fewer Hollywood A-List stars than normal and a backdrop of economic gloom -- as well as a volcanic ash cloud that created chaos for air travel across Europe just before the gathering.

"The official selection this year bears witness to the good health of the market for cinema," Fremaux told a news conference ahead of the May 11 to 22 festival.

"The Festival has been through some tough years but we can now see that movie production is making a comeback."   Continued...