Emir Kusturica returns but Francis Ford Coppola's comeback is nowhere to be seen. The British have not received an invitation to the party but Stephen Frears will still sit at the top table. The French presence does not display an unseemly bias towards the home team but the Italians are probably feeling a little overlooked.
The Competition selection for the 60th Cannes film festival opens up endless dinner party discussion topics, but to most critics it has the look of a very good year. A special anniversary always creates heightened expectations, but artistic director Thierry Fremaux has wisely chosen to place his faith in a roster of visionary auteur talents who have all contributed to Cannes' reputation as the world's premier film festival.
There is something reassuring that the 60th Cannes represents business as usual rather than a reckless attempt at reinvention. The out-of-competition screenings ensure some A-list Americans on the red carpet, there are nods in the direction of animation and documentary plus Competition titles heavy with the latest offerings from Cannes family favourites who are either former Palme d'Or winners such as the Coen brothers, Quentin Tarantino and Gus Van Sant or potential Palme d'Or winners such as Carlos Reygadas and Andrey Zvyagintsev.
It feels like a vintage Cannes, and let's face it if you were having a 60th birthday party wouldn't you invite all your closest and dearest friends'
Fremaux seems to have taken on board a perception the opening night slot is too often reserved for a soft option. That should not be the case this year with Wong Kar-wai's English-language debut My Blueberry Nights, a brave choice given the sleepless nights the director gave the festival in 2004 when a completed version of 2046 failed to make its first press screening.
Many predicted Coppola's eagerly awaited Youth Without Youth would appear at last year's Cannes and its absence again this year is doubly puzzling given Coppola's relationship with the festival (a former jury president, he has won the Palme d'Or twice and was in town last year to support daughter Sofia.) Instead, Cannes has invited another two-time winner, Kusturica, to chase a record-breaking third win.
The absence of a British film is understood to be because the Cannes selectors were unimpressed by films that merely seemed like solid adaptations of bestselling books, rather than projects with a real cinematic vision. One can only assume they meant Sarah Gavron's Brick Lane'
The 2007 Cannes film festival may prove to have been a little too reliant on familiar faces rather than fresh, young hopefuls.
These are legitimate concerns but when you add in a Martin Scorsese masterclass and a Jane Fonda tribute to her father Henry, and you look closely at the potential of a programme featuring new works from the likes of Julian Schnabel, Bela Tarr and Kim Ki-duk, then the heart of any hardcore cineaste is bound to beat a little faster in anticipation of a truly memorable Cannes.
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