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Cannes shows love

Fest opens Certain Regard in 'Paris'

The Cannes Film Festival will get off to a distinctly Gallic start this year.

With the main event already set to open May 17 with “The Da Vinci Code,” set in the Louvre Museum and at a French country house, organizers have set “Paris, je t’aime” (Paris, I Love You) to open Un Certain Regard on May 18.

Ensembler is a smorgasbord of episodes on the theme of love, helmed by directors such as Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuaron, Gurinder Chadha, Gus Van Sant, the Coen brothers and Alexander Payne, each shot in one of Paris’ 20 districts.

Pic stars a bevy of thesps, including Ben Gazzara, Bob Hoskins, Elijah Wood, Steve Buscemi, Willem Dafoe, Juliette Binoche, Emily Mortimer, Fanny Ardant and Natalie Portman.

“Amelie” producer Claudie Ossard and Emmanuel Benbihy produced the film.

Because of the film’s high celeb count, Cannes plans to make more of an occasion of the gala screening, which will take place in Un Certain Regard’s usual 1,000-seat Debussy theater. Attendees will climb the theater’s blue-carpeted steps, not the Palais’ main red carpet.

“The gala screening will give Un Certain Regard more attention than it has had in the past,” a spokesman for the fest said Tuesday, adding that at least a dozen of the film’s talents were expected to be there.

Last year, the fest upped the profile of Un Certain Regard by giving it a more prominent jury, headed by Payne. However, critics were disappointed with the film selection.

Movies compete for the Un Certain Regard prize, but not for the main competition’s Palme d’Or and other kudos.

Fest artistic director Thierry Fremaux will announce the full lineup of this year’s films at a press conference in Paris on April 20.