Cannes braced for an invasion of adventurous US-based films
The festival will benefit from a red-carpet lineup of stars like Nicole Kidman and Brad Pitt, with the real heroes being a squad of rising directors. But will all this amount to a true Hollywood renaissance?
France's wealthy and starry might be preparing to flee the country to avoid taxes levied by the incoming Socialist president, François Hollande, but for the next two weeks at least the Americans are flooding in.
"American cinema is back in force," announced the boss of the Cannes film festival, Thierry Frémaux, when he revealed that the lineup competing for the Palme d'Or this year contains six US-based movies, the strongest number for many years.
Films such as Killing Them Softly , The Paperboy , Mud and On The Road mean that stars including Brad Pitt, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack, Reese Witherspoon and Kristen Stewart will be climbing the red-carpeted steps to ensure that the eyes of the world again fall on Cannes, which kicks off on Wednesday. According to Frémaux: "We will certainly feel the presence of a certain type of American cinema that we no longer had. I also hope it's a new existence for great American films on an international level."
The current holder of the Palme d'Or is an American film, Terrence Malick's Tree of Life , whose triumph at last year's festival - over the French film The Artist , which ironically went on to win at the Oscars - was widely seen as an overdue reward from the festival for one of the great, if elusive, American film-makers. Its win seems to have opened the floodgates for US movies. But Malick's presence and style are one-offs, bucking a typical trend that has seen American studios run shy of Cannes, where a tepid critical reception is dreaded. Bad reviews on the Croisette make the movie a stinker before it has got its marketing campaign into first gear.
It's a fluctuating relationship, this tension between the high-minded artistic ideals of the Palme d'Or and the continuing need for glamour and commercial success. True enough, Cannes and Hollywood eye each other like dogs in a park, yet Cannes has always loved American cinema, just as American film-makers yearn for the benediction of Cannes. ...