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Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d'Or

AFP, Thursday 17 Apr 2014
67th Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film festival director Jacob and general delegate Fremaux attend a news conference to announce the competing films at the 67th Cannes Film Festival in Paris (Photo: Reuters)
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Movies by David Cronenberg, Jean-Luc Godard, Mike Leigh and Ken Loach are among the films selected to compete for the top Palme d'Or prize at next month's Cannes Film Festival, organisers said on Thursday.

Just 18 of the more than 1,700 films submitted have been rewarded with a coveted slot on the Cannes shortlist.

Cronenberg's "Maps to the Stars", Godard's "Adieu au Langage", Leigh's "Mr Turner" and Loach's "Jimmy's Hall", which is expected to be his last feature, will all be in competition at the May 14-25 movie extravaganza on the French Riviera.

Out of competition, Hollywood star Ryan Gosling's directorial debut "Lost River" starring Mad Men actress Christina Hendricks gets a berth in the "Un Certain Regard" new talent section.

Held almost every year since 1946, the festival is famed as much for launching the careers of filmmakers such as Steven Soderbergh and Quentin Tarantino as for its glitzy red carpet photo calls, luxury yachts, star-studded parties and diamond heists.

Behind the scenes, film industry executives and producers turn the festival into a huge marketplace as they cut deals to secure a share in the next big movie event.

Other films in this year's competition include "The Homesman" by Tommy Lee Jones, "The Search" by Michel Hazanavicius, "Captives" by Atom Egoyan, "Saint Laurent" by Bertrand Bonello, "Sils Maria" by Olivier Assayas and "Two Days, One Night" by the Dardenne brothers.

From Asia, Japan's Naomi Kawase makes the cut with "Futatsume No Mado" while Abderrahmane Sissako from Mauritania is included with "Timbuktu".

The 2014 roll call raises the prospect of an abundance of big names on the fabled red carpet such as Robert Pattinson and Julianne Moore ("Maps to the Stars"), Hilary Swank and Meryl Streep ("The Homesman"), Berenice Bejo and Annette Bening ("The Search") and Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart ("Sils Maria").

Prior to Thursday's announcement by festival artistic director Thierry Fremaux, only two films had been confirmed for the 12-day festival although neither will be screened in competition.

"Grace of Monaco", starring Nicole Kidman as the former Hollywood star Grace Kelly, will open the festival, while "Party Girl", a French film about an ageing nightclub hostess, will open "Un Certain Regard".

Even before its release, the royal biopic made headlines with the film likely to be boycotted by Grace's children Prince Albert and Princesses Caroline and Stephanie who have dismissed it as a work of "pure fiction".

Based around the late Prince Rainier, played by British actor Tim Roth, and Grace, who died in a car crash in 1982, it tracks events at a time when France was threatening to annex the tiny principality on its southern coast.

A disagreement between the film's French director Olivier Dahan and American producer Harvey Weinstein over the editing of the movie, meanwhile, had resulted in what Dahan called "two versions -- mine and his" being made.

But Fremaux on Thursday dampened down speculation stressing that the film being screened in Cannes would be the "only version that exists, the one wanted by the the director (Dahan)".

The Cannes festival opens on May 14, with New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion, the only woman to win the Palme d'Or, heading the jury.

Campion who won in 1993 for the "The Piano" also holds the distinction of being the only double winner, her short "Peel" having picked up the top prize in that category in 1986.

The filmmaker has described the festival as a "mythical and exciting" place where "amazing things can happen" adding that she knows this "because that is what happened to me".

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