Pedro Almodovar's Bad Education (La Mala Educacion) will open the 57th Cannes Film Festival on May 12 organisers announced on Friday.
Festival organisers told ScreenDaily.com that they are as yet unsure if the film will be screened in competition.
In a statement, Almodovar said, "The joy that has overcome me at the announcement that my latest film will inaugurate the next Cannes Festival is that of a little kid rather than an adult. When they told me I became once again the young man who made super 8 movies and for whom the Cannes Festival has always represented the greatest cinematic feast imaginable."
He added, "There are other reasons why this news moves me so. France has become my strongest audience. Even more generous with my work than Spain and I'm not speaking only about box-office. The opening of the Cannes Festival is the apogee of the honeymoon I've been living with the French public for years. I will do my best to rise to the occasion."
La Mala Educacion is written and directed by Almodovar and stars Fele Martinez, Javier Camara and hot Mexican up and comer Gael Garcia Bernal who could score a Cannes double header if Walter Salles' Motorcycle Diaries, in which he plays a young Che Guevara, is selected in competition as rumored. Martinez and Camara both appeared in Almodovar's 2002 multiple award winner Talk To Her.
Almodovar was a member of the Cannes jury in 1992 while his last competition film, All About My Mother, took the directing prize in 1999.
La Mala Educacion begins in the 1960s with the coming of age of two parochial schoolboys under the watchful eye of the school's director, Father Manolo, and examines the effects of a religious education on their lives as adults when their paths cross again in the 70s and 80s.
French distributor Pathe will push the original release date for La Mala Educacion from April 24 to May 12 to coincide with its festival debut. Sony Pictures Classics holds US rights; Focus Features is handling international sales.