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Wednesday, 19 April, 2000, 12:21 GMT 13:21 UK
Cannes line-up revealed
Cannes promenade
Strong themes and cultures come into play at Cannes
East meets West in a feast of action and rich spectacle in the race for the prestigious Palme D'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Of the 23 films competing for the festival's top prize, seven hail from Asia and nine from Europe, while the US has a team of four.

Melodrama, costume drama and hard-hitting true-life stories are recurrent themes.

Competing directors include festival stalwarts such as Ken Loach, James Ivory and Denmark's Lars von Trier.

Juliette Binoche
Oscar-winning Binoche is among the stars attending
As always, the glitterati will be out in force to soak up the festival sun from 10 to 21 May.

French stars Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche and Carole Bouquet are scheduled to appear, while Hollywood names include Kim Basinger, Uma Thurman George Clooney and Sean Penn.

Asian talent

France's celebrated Fifth Element director Luc Besson is at the head of the festival jury passing judgement on films such as Taboo.

Taboo, from Nagisha Osima, is one of two Japanese movies in this year's competition. It stars Takeshi Kitano, who was at Cannes as a director last year with Kikujiro. The second film from Japan is Eureka from Aoyama Shinji.

Director Amos Gitai has returned to Cannes after his historic first visit in 1999. Last year, Gitai became the first Israeli entry in 25 years with Kadosh. This time, he is showcasing his latest venture - a war film called Kippur.

Elsewhere, 20-year-old Iranian Samira Makhmalbaf is the youngest director to take part in the history of Cannes with her film The Black Picture.

A lot of film-makers are looking towards the past as a means of commenting on today's society

Gilles Jacob, festival director

Several of the films in the official selection are set in the remote past. South Korean Im Kwon Taek presents his costume drama Chunhyang.

Chinese actor-director Jiang Wen also makes his first Cannes appearance with the World War II drama During That War.

Festival director Gilles Jacob said: "A lot of film-makers nowadays are looking towards the past as a means of commenting on today's society."

Real-life drama

Another strong theme is drama mixed with real-life reportage.

Ken Loach, a master of gritty social drama such as Cathy Come Home and My Name is Joe adopts this format in Bread and Roses, which looks at social dilemmas faced by Latin American immigrants in Los Angeles.

Along similar lines, French director Olivier Assayas focuses on a family of Jewish immigrants in London at the turn of the last century in Les Destinees Sentimentales.

As usual, Hollywood leaves Cannes to the independents.

This year Neil Labute, Amos Kollek, James Gray and former Golden Palm winner Joel Cohen are in competition.

All Saints
All Saints: Melanie Blatt stars in Honest with Natalie and Nicole Appleton

The festival's non-competing section is heavy with crowd-pleasers such as Eurythmic Dave Stewart's directing debut Honest. It stars three members of pop group All Saints as gun-toting bandits.

Opening the festival will be the period movie Vatel, which is showing out of competition.

The $37m (23m) costume drama by British director Roland Joffe stars Gerard Depardieu and Uma Thurma and tells the true story of France's first celebrity chef.

French actress Virginie Ledoyen, who starred alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Beach will be the master of ceremonies for the first night.

The 23 movies in competition at the 53rd Cannes Film Festival are:

Songs from the Second Floor - Roy Andersson, Sweden
Eureka - Aoyama Shinji, Japan
O Brother, Where Art Thou - Joel Coen, United States
Kippur - Amos Gitai, Israel
The Yards - James Gray, United States
Something Funny - Ruy Guerra, Brazil
Chunhyang - Im Kwon Taek, Korea
The Golden Bowl - James Ivory, United States
Guizi Lai Le - Jiang Wen, China
Fast Food Fast Women - Amos Kollek, Israel
Nurse Betty - Neil Labute, United States
Bread and Roses - Ken Loach, Britain
La Noce - Pavel Lounguine, Russia
The Black Picture - Samira Makhmalbaf, Iran
Taboo - Nagisa Oshima, Japan
The Faithless - Liv Ullmann, Sweden
Dancer in the Dark -Lars Von Trier, Denmark
Untitled - Wong Kar-Wai, Hong Kong
A One And a Two - Edward Yang, Taiwan
Sentimental Destinies (Les destinees sentimentales) - Olivier Assayas, France
Esther Kahn - Arnaud Desplechin, France
Unknown Code - Michael Haneke, Austria
Harry, A Friend Who Wishes You Well - Dominik Moll, France

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See also:

22 Apr 99 | Entertainment
Cannes line-up announced
18 May 99 | Entertainment
The battle for the Palme d'Or
12 May 99 | Entertainment
Stars gather in Cannes
19 May 99 | Entertainment
Hollywood comes to Cannes - finally
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