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Thursday, 19 April, 2001, 17:06 GMT 18:06 UK
Countdown to Cannes begins
Moulin Rouge
Nicole Kidman's Moulin Rouge opens the festival
Organisers of the 54th Cannes Film Festival have disclosed their official selection of films in competition and the emphasis this year is on US and Asian features.

The festival runs from 9 to 20 May in the French Riviera town.

It is not open to the public and is considered the foremost event of the year for those in the film industry to show off and sell their work.

From a list of 1,798 movies hopefully offered to the festival's selectors, just 55 have reached the shortlist.

Click here to see the full list of competitors

Among the 23 selected films for the seven categories of prizes, including the top award of the Palme d'Or, are five US films and three Japanese.

Leading the US contingent - and opening the festival - is Australian Baz Luhrmann's US-produced Moulin Rouge, starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor.

The Pledge
The Pledge stars Sam Shepard (L) and Jack Nicholson
The musical extravaganza is set in the world-famous Montmartre cabaret in the hedonistic Paris of the 1890s.

John Leguizamo also stars as the legendary Toulouse-Lautrec.

American director David Lynch, who won the Palme d'Or in 1990 for Wild at Heart, returns this year with Mulholland Drive.

Actor and director Sean Penn - last seen in Woody Allen's Sweet and Lowdown - presents The Pledge.

It stars big name Hollywood actors Jack Nicholson, Benicio del Toro, Sam Shepard and Mickey Rourke.

Ogre

Wacky film-makers the Coen brothers - past Palme d'Or winners in 1991 with Barton Fink - give another taste of their unique take on the world with The Man Who Wasn't There.

Last year, the brothers failed to score with O Brother, Where Art Thou?

And Dreamworks' animated feature Shrek stands out as unusual choice to compete.

Shrek
Shrek is an unusual competition entrant

It tells the story of a cynical ogre and features the voice of Austin Powers star Mike Myers and Charlie's Angel Cameron Diaz.

Japan's film industry has produced three movies lining up in the race for prizes.

Tepid Water Under a Red Bridge comes from experienced film-maker Shohei Imamura.

He competes with newcomers Hirokazu Kore-Eda, who is presenting Distance, and Shinji Aoyama, showing Desert Moon.

There are also two Taiwanese films competing, Millennium Mambo from Hsiao-hsien Hou and What Time is it Over There? from Tsai Ming-liang.

Overall, 12 countries are represented in the competition shortlist, including - for the first time - Bosnia.

But UK competitors are notable by their absence.

A further 22 films have been chosen to show out of competition, in the category Un Certain Regard, including six films from Asia.

Liv Ullmann
Liv Ullmann heads the Cannes jury

The stars expected in Cannes for the festival include Catherine Deneuve, Antonio Banderas, Gerard Depardieu, John Malkovich and Melanie Griffith.

Liv Ullmann, the Norwegian actress and director, is presiding over the main jury that gives out the awards.

Last year's winner was Dancer in the Dark from Danish director Lars Von Trier.

The jury includes actress French actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, Taiwanese director Edward Yang, and Terry Gilliam, director of cult film Brazil.

Films in competition

Moulin Rouge - Baz Luhrmann (US)

Mullholland Drive - David Lynch (US)

The Pledge - Sean Penn (US)

The Man Who Wasn't There - Joel Coen (US)

Shrek - Andrew Adamson and Victoria Jenson - (US)

Taurus - Alexander Sokourov (Russia)

Je Rentre a la Maison - Manoel de Oliveira, (Portugal)

The Son's Room - Nanni Moretti (Italy)

Eloge de l'Amour - Jean-Luc Godard (Switzerland)

La Repetition - Catherine Corsini (France)

La Chambre des Officiers - Francois Dupeyron (France)

Roberto Succo - Cedric Kahn (France)

Va Savoir! - Jacques Rivette (France)

Desert Moon -Shinji Aoyama (Japan)

The Pianist - Michael Haneke (Austria)

Millennium Mambo - Hsiao-hsien Hou (Taiwan)

Warm Water Under a Red Bridge - (Shohei) Imamura, Japan

Distance - Hirokazu Kore-eda (Japan)

Kandahar - Mohsen Makhmalbaf (Iran)

Il Mestiere delle Armi - Ermanno Olmi (Italy)

Pau and His Brother - Marc Recha (Spain)

No Man's Land - Danis Tanovic (Bosnia)

What Time is it Over There? - Tsai Ming-liang (Taiwan)

Click here to return to the top of the page.


Festival diary

Films in focus

The lowdown

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TALKING POINT
See also:

10 May 00 | Entertainment
Film world flocks to Cannes
05 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Foster quits Cannes jury
21 May 00 | Entertainment
Dancer's surprise win at Cannes
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