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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 March, 2003, 11:09 GMT
Cruz movie to open Cannes
Spanish actress Penelope Cruz
Penelope Cruz's last French-language movie was Don Juan

French-language movie Fanfan La Tulipe, has been chosen to open this year's Cannes Film Festival - the world's leading showcase of new cinema.

The movie stars Spanish actress Penelope Cruz and Swiss actor Vincent Perez.

The director is Gerard Krawczyk, maker of the French action series Taxi.

As the first-night film at the two-week Cannes Film Festival on 14 May, it is guaranteed a lot of attention.

Many international celebrities and the global media traditionally attend en masse, setting the scene of glamour that surrounds the annual event.

In addition, the film also goes on general release in France on the same day.

It marks Cruz's return to French-language features after working in Hollywood and in her native Spain.

Cruz's last role in a French-language movie was as a smitten victim of Don Juan in Jacques Weber's 1998 version of the story.

Top prize

The story of Fanfan La Tulipe is well-known at Cannes, where a 1952 version starring Gerard Philipe and Gina Lollobrigida won acclaim.

It has also proved popular among film-makers over the years as versions were made in 1907 and 1926.

Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski
Oscar-winning director Polanski won the Palme d'Or in 2002

In the 2003 remake, Cruz plays a gypsy girl who dupes a young peasant, Fanfan, into joining the French army.

Fanfan La Tulipe will be shown out of competition at Cannes, where the top prize is the prestigious Palme d'Or.

Last year's winner was Oscar-winner Roman Polanski's The Pianist.

The complete line-up for this year's festival has yet to be announced.

What is known, however, is that French movie director Patrice Chereau will be heading this year's festival jury.

He is best known for the historical drama La Reine Margot, which won the Cannes Jury Prize in 1994.

Director Chereau heads Cannes jury
10 Jan 03  |  Entertainment
Cannes builds up to glitzy finale
24 May 02  |  Entertainment
In pictures: Curtain falls on Cannes
26 May 02  |  Entertainment
Polanski beats Brits at Cannes
26 May 02  |  Entertainment
Cruise and Cruz at London première
21 Jan 02  |  Entertainment
Cruise speaks out on Cruz
04 Dec 01  |  Entertainment

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