SPECIAL REPORT FROM CANNES
As is tradition, it will be helter-skelter in Cannes. The archangels will descend on the red carpet while the critics, all few thousand of them, will practice the old sport of vulturism, eyeing the wrecks and picking up the carcasses, when the the 65th Cannes Film Festival begins tonight (a week later than usual to allow the dust of the French presidential election to settle). There are 22 films in Cannes' Competition _ the most coveted contest in the world, sort of _ and most of them are latest works by brand-name directors who will, like futuristic priests, lead us to a prayer at Our Church of Cinema, godly and satanic. To many, the festival is also an annual rite of self-flagellation. Better bring your own whips.
No matter, we keep going back to bring you fresh report from the world's most influential movie event. This year, Hollywood is prominent, while the harvest from Asia is thin. There are two Korean films in the competition, and there's a Thai film: Cannes regular and former Palme d'Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul will premiere his 61-minute Mekong Hotel in the Special Screenings (meaning no prize, just a showcase). But apart from that, the competition line-up is salacious, with a solid roll-call of big Anerican names and mid-career warriors from elsewhere who're all ready to for a 12-day duel. Usually the competition has one or two new directors _ but this year it's an adult-only Premiere League, and the heat of exitement will be palpable.
For a start, four former Palme d'Or winners are back in the competition. Michael Hanake returns to the Croisettes with Amour, his new drama starring Isabelle Huppert; a Cannes darling, Hanake won the top prize in 2009 with The White Ribbon, and his Cache (which opens in Bangkok) was a critical success back in 2005.
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