Workers set up a giant canvas of the 64th Cannes Film Festival's official poster on the Cannes Festival Palace, Monday. The Cannes Film Festival starts today. The woman seen on the poster is the American movie actress Faye Dunaway. [AP/YONHAP]
PARIS - The 64th edition of the Cannes Film Festival opens today on the French Riviera with three Korean films invited to participate in the out-of-competition Un Certain Regard category.
The festival begins with the out-of-competition premiere of Woody Allen's latest romantic comedy "Midnight in Paris".
Twenty pictures, including fresh work from Spain's Pedro Almodovar, Denmark's Lars von Trier and Belgium's Dardenne brothers, are up for the highly coveted Palme d'Or.
"The films that are selected must really give the feeling that they deserve to be here", festival director Thierry Fremaux told AFP in an interview, explaining how tough it can be to whittle down the selection.
Still, three Korean movies have been invited to participate in Un Certain Regard, a category regarded as the festival's second most important. The three films are "The Day He Arrives", directed by Hong Sang-soo, "Arirang", by Kim Ki-duk and "The Murderer" ("The Yellow Sea") by Na Hong-jin. The first two have not yet been released in Korea.
Kim's "Arirang", nothing about which is known except for that it is a kind of documentary that includes the director's life story, is particularly attracting great attention.
Robert De Niro, who starred in past Palme d'Or winners "Taxi Driver" and "The Mission", is steering a jury that includes Hollywood stars Uma Thurman and Jude Law, Hong Kong director Johnny To and film producer Shi Nansun, and French director Olivier Assayas.
Meanwhile, A-listers galore - among them Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Sean Penn, Penelope Cruz and Catherine Deneuve - will take turns on the lush red carpet that leads into the Palais des Festivals.
"Midnight in Paris" is getting special attention not least for one of its bit players: French first lady Carla Bruni, making her film debut as a clipboard-hugging museum staffer.
Seven hundred police officers have been detailed to the festival, where concerns about security have been ramped up in the aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden.
"An international event of such a scale with so many personalities, many of them Americans, represents in itself a potential for real risk", a police spokesman said.
In a salute to change in the Middle East, the festival is honoring Egypt as its first "guest country", while a snap documentary of the uprising in Tunisia will be that country's first film in Cannes in 11 years.
Films by convicted Iranian directors Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof, made in "semiclandestine conditions", will be screened in the official and Un Certain Regard sections respectively, organizers said Saturday.
From Asia, out of competition but produced exclusively for the festival, "Bollywood: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told" will pay homage to Indian popular cinema.
Also out of competition, and likely to stir controversy, will be "The Conquest", a biopic of Nicolas Sarkozy by director Xavier Durringer that is the first film ever at Cannes about a serving French president.
Spanish heavyweight Pedro Almodovar will present "La Piel Que Habito" ("The Skin I Live In") in competition, with Antonio Banderas starring.
By Ki Sun-min, AFP
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