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Friday, 24 May, 2002, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Cannes builds up to glitzy finale
Liz Taylor, David Lynch, Sharon Stone and Sir Elton John
Taylor, Lynch, Stone and Sir Elton enjoy the party
The Cannes Film Festival is gearing up for a glitzy closing weekend ending with the awarding of the prestigious Palme d'Or.

Of the 22 films entered into the competition just one will be named the ultimate winner at a ceremony on Sunday.

The French Riviera has been awash with famous faces over the past fortnight including Leonardo di Caprio, Cameron Diaz, Elizabeth Taylor and Woody Allen.

Sharon Stone, who is on the Cannes jury, has revelled in the spotlight and was on hand at Sir Elton John's Aids benefit gala to help raise more than 1m.

The actress mingled with the audience at the celebrity-filled auction, cajoling them into upping their bids.

She persuaded Prince Albert of Monaco to part with 68,000 for a tennis lesson with Pete Sampras.

Iman and Elizabeth Taylor
Iman shows off her diamond necklace to Elizabeth Taylor
Sir Elton performed a version of Twist and Shout at the Moulin de Mougins restaurant.

Guests included Elizabeth Taylor, Milla Jovovich, director and jury head David Lynch and Miramax executive Harvey Weinstein.

Behind the glamour, the festival has also had its fair share of controversy.

Insult

The event started with a call by the American Jewish Congress for all Jews to boycott the festival because it said the French had a poor record when it came to the Jewish community.

But this was quickly dismissed by leading actors, directors and executives, including Allen and Stone, as highly insulting to the people of France.

Allen was in Cannes for the first time to promote his new movie Hollywood Ending.

George Lucas also rode into town with his Star Wars entourage for a screening of Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones.

Michelle Yeoh and Sir Elton John
Cannes juror Michelle Yeoh is welcomed by Sir Elton
The Cannes jury was kept busy attending film screenings and discussing their merits.

Rising star

Among those in the running for the coveted Palme d'Or are Divine Intervention by Palestinian director Elia Suleiman, US satirist Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine and About Schmidt starring Jack Nicholson.

There has also been a strong British contingent at the festival, with Cannes regulars Mike Leigh and Ken Loach flying the flag.

Loach's Sweet Sixteen has made a new star out of young Scottish footballer Martin Compston.

Loach decided to opt for authenticity for his characters rather than acting experience, trawling Scotland to find the perfect person to play the lead.

Leigh was his usual outspoken self, this time taking aim at the UK film industry's lack of imagination in film-making.


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