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Cannes through the ages: Why the French film festival still rocks

May 13, 2013
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Cannes brings out Tinseltown's fun, flirty side. As soon Hollywood's biggest stars feel that Riviera sand between their toes they shed some of their film star reserve. The zanier moments combine with a heady dose of glamour to produce the coolest film festival ever. It first took place in 1946, but the extravaganza's current reputation as an A-list mecca was born a few years later with Brigitte Bardot in a white bikini. In those days stars, such as Grace Kelly and Sophia Loren would mingle easily with the public, signing autographs.


Since then proceedings have become even more magnifique. Who can forget Brad Pitt's many appearances, sometimes as part of the tuxedoed Ocean's band of brothers, other times with Angelina Jolie? It was here that the Lara Croft beauty competed in a 'bump off' with Jack Black when she was expecting twins. Last year Kim Kardashian and Kanye West turned the Croisette, the main seafront boulevard, into their own personal love parade. The American socialite arrived in a brief Balmain affair; her beau was entranced. In 2006, Sacha Baron Cohen terrorised festival goers in a lime green mankini to publicise Borat. His controversial humour was on display again when he promoted The Dictator on a camel, surrounded by gun-toting lovelies in mini-skirts. This Wednesday Carey Mulligan will hold court as Twenties heroine Daisy Buchanan in Baz Luhrmann's reimagining of F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. The film has won the coveted opening night spot thanks to the allure of the British starlet and Leonardo DiCaprio, who takes the title role.


It's not just the actors who like to make a splash. According to the Telegraph, director Steven Spielberg will be staying on his 282ft superyacht, the Seven Seas, which comes complete with an open air infinity pool, featuring a 15ft cinema screen. He will be in town as head of the 66th Cannes jury. Along with fellow luminaries Nicole Kidman, Ang Lee and Christoph Waltz, he will decide on the winner of the coveted Palme D'Or award – so called because of the palm on the city's coat of arms. Films in the running include Behind The Candelabra, Steven Soderbergh's last movie before his retirement. His biopic of Liberace stars Michael Douglas as the Las Vegas showman with Matt Damon portraying his much younger lover. Also being considered is Only God Forgives, a crime thriller set in the Bangkok underworld. Ryan Gosling plays the lead, teaming up with his Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn.


These go up against the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis. Star-spotters should also look out for Emma Watson, who should be promoting The Bling Ring, Sofia Coppola's story of a real life gang of rich Beverly Hills kids who broke into the houses of celebrities. Apparently Twilight fans are also in for a treat. Reports say that Robert Pattinson is expected with girlfriend Kristen Stewart, and after their promotional duties are over, they will take a romantic tour of Provence's vineyards.

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