Blair to preside over sidebar

PARIS — Cannes Classics Series, the film fest’s sidebar on classic pics, will spotlight French helmer Jean Renoir, organizers announced Thursday.

Thesp Betsy Blair, who is serving on Un Certain Regard jury, will be prexy of the sidebar, which was introduced last year.

The fest, along with the Cinematheque Francaise, will mount an exhibition on Renoir and screen “The River” and “La Fille de l’eau.”

The section has six categories this year.

These include a salute to the Film Foundation, founded in 1990 by Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas, Sydney Pollack, Robert Redford and Steven Spielberg, committed to preserving and restoring films.

It will screen restored versions of “The River” and Satyajit Ray’s “Pather panchali” (Song of the Road). Restoration on both was carried out by AMPAS’ Academy Film Archive, with extra input on “The River” from the British Film Institute, Janus Films and the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.

The other categories are: an homage to Mexican cinema; a cycle of films by British helmer Michael Powell on the 100th anniversary of his birth; a tribute to James Dean; a selection of 10 restored classic features including Delbert Mann’s “Marty,” which nabbed the 1955 Palme d’Or; and docs on cinema.

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