miércoles, 17 de mayo de 2006

The Cannes Film Festival Officially Opens

The Festival de Cannes can officially commence. Ron Howard and the crew of the film The Da Vinci Code made the first walk up the Red Carpet of this 59th edition, under the portrait, suspended over the front of the Palais, of Ingrid Bétancourt, held prisoner in Colombia since February 23, 2002. For the presentation of his fourth feature film out of competition, the American director was accompanied by producer Brian Grazer, the novelist Dan Brown as well as stars Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Jean Reno, Paul Bettany, Alfred Molina, Ian McKellen and Jean-Pierre Marielle.

The entire Jury, led by its President Wong Kar Wai, preceded up the red carpet, with, by his side, actors Samuel L. Jackson, Zhang Ziyi, Monica Bellucci, Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Roth, as well as directors Patrice Leconte, Lucrecia Martel and Elia Suleiman. The spectators were equally able to catch a glimpse of Sidney Poitier, who will receive a medal this Thursday from the Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters at the hand of the Minister of Culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres; Gus Van Sant, one of the directors having taken part in the programme of shorts Paris je t'aime, which will open the section Un Certain Regard tomorrow; and the Dardenne brothers, winners of the Palme d'Or last year with The Child.

All of the guests then attended the Opening Ceremony orchestrated by Vincent Cassel in the Grand Lumière Theatre. "The mistress of ceremonies is myself", quipped the first male actor to be confided with the role of master of ceremonies. Bidding all welcome in English, French, Chinese as well as an African dialect, he stressed the multicultural aspect of the Festival, "symbol of blending", before presenting the entire Jury and yielding the floor to Chinese director Wong Kar Wai.. The latter, for his part, confessed he was highly flattered by the distinction of Jury President. "I represent not only myself but all the filmmakers of China and Asia as well,"he added.

A standing ovation next saluted American actor Sidney Poitier who expressed himself in these terms: "Before you, in a place impregnated with an atmosphere which so many geniuses have known, it is an inestimable privilege to welcome the motion-picture generation of today and tomorrow. Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great respect that I hereby declare the 59th Festival de Cannes open," he announced to conclude the evening. Link