This year’s 66th annual International Cannes Film Festival rolls out the red carpet May 15th and runs through May 26th. Held along the famous Promenade de la Croisette aka “avenue of the little cross” in the French Riviera city of Cannes, the festival opens with Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire—a film perfectly befitting the buzz, glamour, and crass opulence of the well-known fest.
A-list Hollywood folk like Steven Spielberg (jury president), along with Oscar-winning director Ang Lee, are expected to flock the seaside resort town–2013 is a strong showing for US directors, who make up about 25% of the films in the running for the coveted Palme d’Or.
Much of the buzz so far seems to be centered on Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra, which sees Michael Douglas play flamboyant entertainer Liberace. The film, made for HBO, also stars Matt Damon as Liberace’s secret lover. Part of that buzz comes from Soderbergh’s suggestion that this could be his last movie.
Another film causing big excitement is Bangkok noir, Only God Forgives. Teaming Ryan Gosling with Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn–though presumed to be a little too violent for this year’s jury.
Several films expected to have a big presence come Oscar season include Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, a film starring Bruce Dern and Will Forte as a father-son pair on a road trip, Joel and Ethan Coen’s, Llewyn Davis, a 1960s period film about the Greenwich Village folk scene, and Roman Polanski’s Venus in Fur, a French-language adaptation of the David Ives play.
But beyond the films and their directors competing for awards, the fest is predominantly a giant business deal poised to make a lot of people a lot of money. Cannes remains to be one of Hollywood’s most grand market place. Behind the backdrop of one of the most beautiful and prime real estate’s on the planet, backdoor deals are made, casts are assembled, and funding is chased.