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May 15, 2003
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The hotly awaited sci-fi thriller Matrix: Reloaded celebrated its European premiere in lavish style last-night, with an opulent £2-million party. The no-expense-spared bash at the Cannes Film Festival left 2001's £1-million Lord Of The Rings gathering looking distinctly second-rate.

Italian star Monica Bellucci made a characteristically stunning impression when she arrived in a purple Gothic-style dress, while co-star Laurence Fishburne also added a splash of colour in a strikingt blue suit.

It was Keanu Reeves who provoked the biggest cheer, however, when he strode up the red carpet in a sharply-cut tuxedo. The film's other stars, Carrie-Anne Moss and Jada Pinkett-Smith were a picture of understated elegance, meanwhile, both clad in simple black.

The soiree was held in a specially-erected marquee in Cannes harbour. The huge tent alone cost £100,000 and had room for 2,000 people. And once inside the guests were bathed in green light, continuing the theme of the film's promotional material, and treated to mesmerising special effects displays.

There can be little doubt that it was the hottest ticket at this year's festival, as even Kevin Costner had to go on a waiting list before receiving his invite.

"Due to increased to increased security at this year's festival we could not send out invitations with all the details, so we had to send out special 'save the date' cards to everyone on the list," revealed a Warner Brothers spokesman. "When they replied – and every single person said they would definitely be coming, despite not knowing any of the details – they were told they had to come to the office in person to pick up the invite so it would not fall into the wrong hands."

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Photo: ©
The film's star, Keanu Reeves joins his Matrix co-stars Carrie-Anne Moss and Jada Pinkett-Smith on the red carpetPhoto: © AFPy
Photo: ©
Monica Bellucci and French actor Lambert Wilson arrive at the glittering eventPhoto: © AFP

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