×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cannes opens quietly

Polite applause greets 'Primary Colors;' Annan makes gala appearance

CANNES — The 51st Cannes Film Festival kicked off with more of a whimper than a bang, as polite applause greeted the opening film, Mike Nichols’ “Primary Colors.”

Fest programmer Gilles Jacob may feel he has a stronger official selection than last year, but without the pulling power of the 50th anniversary behind it, this year’s festival opened with stars in short supply.

Indeed, as thousands of locals crammed around the Palais to watch the traditional walk up the red-carpetted stairs, the biggest cheers were kept for celebs with only a passing connection to the film business.

That meant that top model and occasional thesp Claudia Schiffer had the photographers in a frenzy as she shimmered her way into the screening next to fellow catwalker Kate Moss. As for the good folk of Cannes, they kept their biggest cheers for Gallic soccer star David Ginola, ageing rocker Johnny Halliday and actress Sophie Marceau.

And while ” Primary Colors ” stars John Travolta and Emma Thompson declared the festival officially open, they were largely upstaged by the only person to get the whole house on its feet for a standing ovation, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, in town to mark the 50th anniversary of the U.N.’s Declaration of Human Rights.

Speaking to a hushed audience, the Secretary General, who is more used to delicate diplomatic dealings than glitzy film gatherings, noted that ” cinema has always spoken out for freedom ,” adding that freedom is an integral part of human rights.

For Emma Thompson, Cannes 1998 is something of a coming of age – at least in terms of getting recognized by the world’s leading film fest. When she first came to the Cote D’Azur, to accompany ” Howard’s End ” she got to sleep in a small Cannes studio. This time around, Thompson is rubbing shoulders with the financially unchallenged at the Hotel du Cap.

Festival know-it-alls took their seats pondering Jacob’s choice of opening pic. Jacob has tipped his hat to the U.S. by programming two Yank films at either end of Cannes, but his own fest rules require a special dispensation for ” Primary Colors,” as official selection films are not meant to have been released anywhere else but their domestic territory and the Nichols’ pic has already opened in the U.S. and Australia.

Such technicalities apart, critics and Palme d’Or pundits are waiting with interest to see Ken Loach’s ” My name is Joe ” and John Turturro’s Italian-based ” Illuminata, ” although this year’s fest is generally reckoned to be wide open when it comes to predicting the final winner.

Hosting what can only be described as a minimalist opening ceremony, French actress Isabelle Huppert paid particluar tribute to the festival’s efforts to support innovation as well as reward past achievements. In particular, she welcomed the creation of Cinefondation, which aims to promote the works of filmmakers graduating from the various international film schools.

More News

  • Billy McFarland of the Fyre Festival

    Entertainment One Takes International Rights to Hulu's 'Fyre Fraud'

    Entertainment One has picked up international rights to Hulu’s documentary on the disastrous Fyre Festival. “Fyre Fraud” looks at the unscrupulous dealings of Billy McFarland, the self-aggrandizing huckster who sold thousands of tickets to a music festival in the Bahamas that turned out to be a sham. Duped by a promotional campaign on social media [...]

  • ‘Stan & Ollie’ Producer Making Joan

    ‘Stan & Ollie’ Producer to Make TV Series About Joan and Jackie Collins

    The colorful lives of movie star Joan Collins and her bestselling novelist sister, Jackie, will be dramatized in a TV series. Sony-backed Fable Pictures, the British film and TV producer behind “Stan & Ollie,” will make the series, having secured the TV rights to the Collinses’ story. The series, which has the working title “Joan [...]

  • New Fox Appoints Wayne Borg to

    New Fox Appoints Wayne Borg to Los Angeles Studio Role

    Wayne Borg, who has headed the Fox Studios Australia operations in Sydney for the past four years, has been appointed president and general manager of studios at New Fox. He will relocate from Australia to Los Angeles. Fox Studios Australia, which is to remain part of 21st Century Fox and will become part of Disney [...]

  • Hong Kong Disneyland Reduces Losses

    Hong Kong Disneyland Reduces Losses

    The Hong Kong Disneyland Resort theme park remained in loss for the fourth year. But signs of improvement continued. For the financial year to end of September 2018, HKDL reported $769 million (HK$6 billion) of revenue, from 6.7 million visitors, an increase of 8%. Net losses fell from $32 million (HK$291 million) to $6.92 million [...]

  • Friends From College

    'Friends From College' Canceled by Netflix

    Netflix has canceled comedy series “Friends From College” after two seasons. “Friends from College will not return for a third season,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement Monday. “We’re grateful to creators Nick Stoller and Francesca Delbanco for creating a wise, funny and supremely relatable show. We also want to thank the hard-working crew, [...]

  • Mandy Moore

    Mandy Moore Opens Up About Her Marriage to Ryan Adams: ‘I Was So Sad’

    Mandy Moore opened up about her marriage to Ryan Adams on Monday’s episode of Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast. While the interview was taped before the publication of the Feb. 13 New York Times report in which multiple women, including Moore, accuse Adams of sexual misconduct or emotionally abusive behavior, she speaks freely about the “unhealthy dynamic” in [...]

  • Lisa Borders Time's Up

    Time's Up President Lisa Borders Resigns

    Lisa Borders has resigned as president of Time’s Up, she and the organization announced on Monday. Borders is resigning due to family issues, she said in a statement. Time’s Up COO Rebecca Goldman will now serve as interim CEO. “As Time’s Up continues to grow, I am proud of the work I have done to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content