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Da Vinci and lots of glitz too at Cannes

It is obvious that there is no dearth of glitz and glamour in Cannes. As usual, the festival will attract an endless stream of stars.

india Updated: May 18, 2006 11:50 IST

Even as controversy swirls around the upcoming India release of Ron Howard's The Da Vinci Code, the 59th Cannes Film Festival is all set for a formal kick-off Wednesday with the screening of the Tom Hanks-Audrey Tautou starrer two days ahead of its worldwide opening.

The Hollywood adaptation of Dan Brown's best-selling novel will premiere in the Out of Competition section following a brief opening ceremony at the Grand Theatre Lumiere hosted by French actor Vincent Cassel. The star will also be at hand to do the honours at the festival's closing gala on May 28.

Cassel, best known in India for his role in Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's Twelve, is one of France's top stars and is celebrated primarily for his tough guy roles.

That presents a sharp contrast to his off-screen reputation as a family man and husband to the luminous Italian actress Monica Bellucci. Bellucci, incidentally, is on the main feature films jury in Cannes this year along with two other internationally feted beauties, Helena Bonham Carter and Zhang Ziyi.

It is pretty obvious that there will be no dearth of glitz and glamour in Cannes this year. As usual, the festival will attract an endless stream of stars.

The actors of the opening film The Da Vinci Code - Hanks, Tautou, Jean Reno and Jean-Pierre Marielle - will put in an appearance on day one. They will be followed up the famed red carpet on subsequent days by the likes Penelope Cruz, the star of Spanish master Pedro Almodovar's Competition entry Volver, Kirsten Dunst, the lead player of Sofia Coppola's stylised biopic Marie Antoinette, Juliette Binoche and Cate Blanchett and many others.

While Blanchett and Mexican star Gael Garcia Bernal will represent Alejandro Gonzalez-Inarritu's Competition entry Babel, the male star of the film, Brad Pitt, is unlikely to make it to Cannes this year. And that will be a huge disappointment for all the stargazers who take up position every day outside the main screening venue in the hope of catching a glimpse of their favourite movie icons as they drive up the Boulevard de la Croisette and troop into the Grand Lumiere.

For India watchers at the latest edition of the Cannes Film Festival, Babel, a US-produced film directed by a Mexican and set in Morocco, Tunisia and Japan, will be of more than academic interest. The cast includes Shilpa Shetty and Mahima Chaudhary who play a pair of sisters in one of the three stories that make up the film.

First Published: May 18, 2006 11:50 IST