— Invariably, the
Paris-based graphic designers have adroitly repurposed a black-and-white photo from 1963's "A New Kind of Love" featuring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in an embrace. As sinuously as they are entwined, that's how fluidly the American and international components of the film world come together at Cannes, which opens Wednesday night with the big
This cross-cultural cross-pollination is visible everywhere: The covers of French film magazines are featuring Americans like
Winding Refn's film is hardly the only notable cross-national work in competition. Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, whose spectacular
Appropriately for a year in which the American Pavilion meeting place is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a spiffy makeover, some of the most anticipated films competing for the Palme d'Or are directed by Americans and deal with quintessentially domestic subject matter. They are "Behind the Candelabra," Steven Soderbergh's look at the relationship between Liberace (Michael Douglas) and Scott Thorson (
Two California-centric films are among the highlights of the festival's Un Certain Regard sidebar. Sofia Coppola is here with "The Bling Ring," about a rash of burglaries of celebrity homes in Los Angeles, while Ryan Coogler has brought his Oakland-set "Fruitvale Station," which took top honors at
Showing out of competition are several potentially interesting films with American connections, starting with "All Is Lost," J.C. Chandor's follow-up to
Then there is "Max Rose," Jerry Lewis' first starring role in 17 years. (It's not a comedy.) And though "
Cannes wouldn't be Cannes if it didn't include new films by established auteurs in its various sections. This year's crop includes work by France's Claire Denis ("Les Salauds"),
Also especially strong this year is Cannes Classics, the section devoted to restorations of and tributes to films of the past. Kim Novak is scheduled to appear with a sparkling print of
Given all this excitement, it's no surprise that French companies are eager to show up at Cannes to do a little branding of their own. Mouton Cadet is sponsoring a chic wine bar, Magnum ice cream is taking over a beach and even the city itself is doing a little self-promotion.
"The World Comes to Cannes: What About You?" asks a poster near the Palais des Festivals. Fair enough, but another tag line calling this town "A Place for Serenity" is stretching the truth. At least for the next 12 days.