Several celebrities attended the Red Carpet ceremony to mark the opening of the 63rd Cannes Film Festival this evening. They included Aishwarya Rai, who has been a permanent Cannes attendee for many years, since her movie,
screened at the Festival in 2002. Some of the others who were part of the opening night celebration were the lead stars of the inaugural film
Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchet. Salma Hayek, the sultry actress from Mexico who was part of the Festival jury along with India's Nandita Das in 2005, was also to be seen. Incidentally, Hollywood stars were conspicuously absent in a year that is gladly being seen by cinema lovers and critics as low on spice and sugar and high on art.
Rai is here as part of Mani Ratnam's Ravan, whose first look will be unveiled on May 17. Actors Abhishek Bachchan and Vikram (who performs in the Tamil version) will attend the evening along with Mani Ratnam. The bilingual work has been produced by Reliance Big Pictures and is slated for a June release.
British actress Kristin Scott Thomas played mistress of the opening ceremony introducing the president of the jury, American director Tim Burton, and the other members of his team, including India's Shekhar Kapur. Thomas also introduced the lead pair of Ridley Scott's Robin Hood, Crowe and Blanchet.
Thomas will also preside over the closing ceremony on May 23, when Burton will announce the prizes.