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Wednesday, May 12, 1999 Published at 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK


Entertainment

Stars gather in Cannes

The population of Cannes swells during the annual film festival

Film-makers, actors and actresses are gathering in the French Riviera for the opening of the 52nd Cannes Film Festival.

Local officials say they expect the population of Cannes - some 70,000 - to nearly triple during the next two weeks.

This year the event has a distinctly British flavour. Oscar-nominated English Patient star Kristin Scott Thomas is presiding over Wednesday's opening ceremony and a host of British stars are set to attend.


[ image: British actress Kristin Scott Thomas will open the festival]
British actress Kristin Scott Thomas will open the festival
The festival will open with a gala screening of the three-hour film The Barber Of Siberia, a Russian, French and British co-production with Richard Harris and Julia Ormond.

Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta Jones are set to attend the screening of their thriller Entrapment, the glitziest event of the two-week programme.

Britain has two contenders in the official competition for Cannes' top prize, the Palme d'Or: Michael Winterbottom's Wonderland and Peter Greenaway's Eight And A Half Women.

Bob Hoskins, who stars in Felicia's Journey, an Atom Egoyan film from Canada, is also expected in town.

The festival will last until 23 May when it will close with a screening of the British Oscar Wilde adaptation An Ideal Husband, starring Rupert Everett, Minnie Driver and Cate Blanchett.


[ image: More than 300 films will be on sale for the first time at this year's featival]
More than 300 films will be on sale for the first time at this year's featival
Hollywood stars Susan Sarandon and husband Tim Robbins will be in Cannes to support their film The Cradle Will Rock, one of the 22 films in the running for a Palme d'Or.

Crash director David Cronenberg is chairing the Cannes jury along with actors Jeff Goldblum and Holly Hunter, opera singer Barbara Kendricks and playwright Yasmina Reza.

They have job of choosing the film that will be awarded the top prize. The film entries come from all over the globe including China, Iran, Israel, Japan and Portugal as well as Britain and the US.



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