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Friday, 4 May, 2001, 21:26 GMT 22:26 UK
Cannes festival highlights
Shrek brings animated features back to Cannes
Cannes's international film festival has always prided itself on its eclectic and classy movie line-up - and the 54th event is no exception.

Originally the festival was created as a showcase for European film. But over the years Hollywood and Asian films have increasingly made more of a mark.

In 2001, this influence is clearly evident with strong showings from the US, France, Italy and Japan in each of the five official selection categories.

Hollywood plays a big part among the elite competition films, battling it out for five main awards, including the coveted Palme d'Or.
Moulin Rouge: a heady mix

Leading the pack is the lavish Moulin Rouge, the opening night movie from Australian-born director Baz Luhrmann.

It is set in 19th Century Paris, stars Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor and is fêted as an intoxicating mix of comedy, tragedy, historical material and contemporary music.

Also breaking new ground - and set to be one of the hottest tickets of the festival - is animated adventure Shrek.

The film from Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks company is the first feature animation to be selected for the competition category in 48 years

It tells the tale of a big, green, swamp-dwelling ogre whose peace is shattered by an invasion of irritating fairytale characters.

Of the European films shortlisted, Eloge d'Amour from director Jean-Luc Godard is tipped as one to watch. Godard was a key figure in what was dubbed the French new wave 40 years ago.


The category Un Certain Regard - highly-regarded films that did not make it into the competition rank - also boasts a strong US presence.

It includes Hal Hartley's Iceland-set fantasy drama No Such Thing starring Sarah Polley as a woman who falls in love with a monster.
No Such Thing
Object of the desire: the monster in No Such Thing

The Anniversary Party - directed and written by the actress/actor partnership of Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming - is a digital video project with promise.

Host country France always has a substantial quota of movies across the board but one to look out for is the sci-fi thriller Trouble Every Day from Claire Denis.

It stars former Betty Blue actress Beatrice Dalle in a Parisien intrigue about normal citizens mysteriously becoming cannibals.

Last year Chinese-language movies led the East Asian charge, but this time it is Japan.

The most interesting include Kiyoshi Kurosawa's computer-virus thriller Kairo in the Un Certain Regard section.


The festival's 40th Critics Week, beginning on 10 May, features seven movies from first or second-time film-makers chosen by international critics.

It has a habit of throwing up gems such as Kes from British director Ken Loach, the section's chairman this year.
Ken Loach
Director Ken Loach chairs Critics Week

This year features a selection of films all about close relationships, families or couples.

Highlights include Italian police thriller Almost Blue from Alex Infascelli and The Black Beach - the second directorship from acclaimed French actor Michel Piccoli.

Similalry, the festival's Directors' Fortnight is a showcase for the work of new and young film-makers.

Among those of note are Chelsea Walls from Hollywood actor Ethan Hawke, set in Gotham's famed Chelsea Hotel.

The film was shot over two weeks on digital film. It features a cast of more than 30 characters including Uma Thurman, Christopher Walken and Natasha Richardson.

Another notable US offering is Big Bad Love from Arliss Howard, featuring his wife Debra Winger and Rosanna Arquette.

French pictures enjoy a prominent place in this section. The opening night film is Sandrine Veysset's Martha, Martha, about family relationships.

Another is Rodolphe Marconi's first film, This Is My Body, about a young man searching for his identity.

Elsewhere, the festival will screen the extended director's cut of Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now.

His son Roman Coppola's CQ will also be shown. Martin Scorsese's four-hour documentary on Italian cinema will receive a special screening.

And actress Melanie Griffith will receive a special tribute at the festival with a screening of her 1988 movie Working Girl.

Festival diary

Films in focus

The lowdown


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