Euro stars dominate fest opening

Studios use fest as a press junket, schedule many events

There were plenty of European celebs making up for the lack of Hollywood stars at the opening ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival Wednesday.

Aside from Cannes fave Harvey Weinstein, jurors Meg Ryan and Steven Soderbergh, few U.S. reps climbed the red carpet.

On the Euro side famous faces included “Fanfan La Tulipe” stars Penelope Cruz and Vincent Perez, producer Luc Besson, helmer Gerard Krawczyk, femcee Monica Bellucci, Gina Lollobrigida — who played Penelope Cruz’s role in Christian-Jacque’s 1952 “Fanfan,” Prince Albert of Monaco and jury member Danis Tanovic.

Meeting them at the top of the red-carpeted steps were fest prexy Gilles Jacob, artistic director Thierry Fremaux and managing director Veronique Cayla.

Event included a dance performance by Marie-Claude Pietragalla and Carolyn Carlson, followed by the second 26-minute installment in Jacob’s ongoing history of the Cannes festival.

The evening was rounded off with dinner in the Palais’ top floor Les Ambassadeurs restaurant.

In the past two years, “Moulin Rouge” and “Hollywood Ending” opened the fest, but this year, the Yankees are a lowheat presence in the main competition.

Instead, the studios are using this as a press junket, with tentpoles like Warner Bros.’ “The Matrix Reloaded” and WB-Sony Intl.’s “Terminator 3” scheduling an unprecedented number of PR events.

In addition, the majors are in force at the market, offering a lot of high-profile product.

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