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Wednesday, 15 May, 2002, 21:08 GMT 22:08 UK
Stone defies stroke for Cannes
Sharon Stone
Stone suffered a stroke in September
Hollywood actress Sharon Stone made one of her first public appearances since she suffered a stroke.

The 44-year-old suffered the potentially life-threatening stroke last September.

But she was well enough to attend the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday where she is on the Grand Jury panel for the prestigious Palme d'Or competition.

US director Woody Allen, whose film Hollywood Ending officially opened the 12-day event, led the celebrity parade up the famous red carpeted stairs.

Woody Allen
Woody Allen made his first appearance at the festival

Security was high at this year's gathering - the 55th - with guards checking all festival goers with metal detectors and police keeping traffic well away from the building that hosts most of the films and media conferences.

All along the palm-lined beach, thousands of tourists and locals walked under billboards promoting future Hollywood blockbusters while Rolls-Royces and Ferraris crawled past or pulled over for illegal parking in front of the hugely expensive hotels.

Allen admitted to journalists he was nervous about his first-ever trip to Cannes, but said: "I've already rented a tuxedo and it's too late to back out."

Boycott

His film, shown out of competition, set the flavour for this year's line-up.

The movie makes a mocking swipe at the money-first attitude of the US movie business while dealing a warm dig at the French, who have long regarded him as a cinema legend.

Allen had defied a call for all Jews to boycott the Cannes Film Festival, saying he did not believe the French were anti-Semitic.

The American Jewish Congress had led calls for all Jews to stay away from the event, claiming anti-Semitism is as bad now as in World War II.

Clones

Stone, whose husband is Jewish, also questioned the point of the boycott.

The Cannes Film Festival is the movie world's most glamorous annual outing.

Pierce Brosnan, Catherine Zeta Jones, Jack Nicholson and Leonardo DiCaprio are among the big names expected to make the trip to the French Riviera town.

The screening of Hollywood Ending will be followed by Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones at just after midnight local time, in line with the long-awaited film's global release.

Another highlight will be a 20-minute preview of Martin Scorsese's delayed Gangs of New York.

A documentary by satirist Michael Moore about the Columbine school massacre in the US is expected to stir controversy.

A total of 22 feature films have been selected for the competition, including UK director's Mike Leigh's All or Nothing, Michael Winterbottom's 24 Hour Party People and Ken Loach's Sweet Sixteen.


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Woody Allen's debut

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Cannes: in pictures

Cannes glamour


See also:

15 May 02 | Film
Cannes' first day: In pictures
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