Palm Springs Fest kicks off with ‘Human Heart’ preem

The fourth edition of the Palm Springs Intl. Film Festival kicks off tonight with the world preem of the finished version of New Zealand director Vincent Ward’s “Map of the Human Heart.”

Globe-ranging romantic epic, which screened as a work-in-progress at the last Cannes Film Festival and will be released in March by Miramax, stars Jason Scott Lee, Anne Parillaud, Patrick Bergin, John Cusack and Jeanne Moreau.

Fest runs until Jan. 17 and will be bracketed by tributes to two major stars, Frank Sinatra and Marcello Mastroianni, on the first and second weekends. A $ 250-per-plate gala, Sinatra dinner Saturday night will see the crooner and Oscar-winning actor receive the Desert Palm Achievement Award from last year’s recipient, James Stewart. Robert Wagner will be emcee.

World premieres include the Friday night opener, John Madden’s “Ethan Frome,” starring Liam Neeson and Patricia Arquette; Scott Rosenfelt’s “Family Prayers,” with Anne Archer, Joe Mantegna, Paul Reiser and Patti LuPone; Philip Haas’ “The Music of Chance,” starring James Spader, Mandy Patinkin, M. Emmet Walsh, Charles Durning and Joel Grey; Jeff Reiner’s “Trouble Bound,” toplining Patricia Arquette and Michael Madsen; and Tom Flynn’s “Watch It,” with Peter Gallagher and Suzy Amis.

Also on tap are 16 North American premieres, 18 U.S. preems, 15 foreign Oscar entries, 25 other foreign and U.S. indie efforts, 13 films in the Sinatra and Mastroianni retrospectives and several panel discussions.

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