‘Great Gatsby’ to open Cannes Film Festival

It’s only fitting: F. Scott Fitzgerald lived in the south of France, and now his most famous character, Gatsby, is heading there.

Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” will open the Cannes Film Festival on May 15, festival organizers announced Tuesday. The 3-D film was originally planned for a Christmas 2012 release, but was postponed. It’s now scheduled to debut in the U.S. on May 10.

Fitzgerald reportedly finished writing “The Great Gatsby” while living on the French Riviera. He and his wife Zelda moved there around 1924, flush from the success of his best-selling debut novel “This Side of Paradise.”

The Fitzgeralds drifted between the south of France and Paris, never staying in one place for long. As Curbed points out, they lived in at least three different places in the French Riviera -- something the website looked into when Fitzgerald’s waterfront villa was listed for sale in the fall.


The 19th century villa sounds fit for, well, Gatsby: It’s on the waterfront, has a pool, pool terraces, luxurious bedrooms, a wine cellar, “staff accommodations,” a triple garage, and a dance floor -- in the listing it’s described as “a bar with discotheque,” but that could surely be returned to a more art deco feel, something suited to a Gatsby party.

Or maybe intergenerational mashups are appropriate to a 21st century “Gatsby.” Luhrmann’s first trailer for the film famously combines images of flappers and 1920s New York with a song by Jay-Z. The movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan and Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway.

Like other opening-night films, the movie “The Great Gatsby” will screen outside of the Cannes competition. Even so, the timing of its appearance at Cannes could be problematic. The Times’ Steven Zeitchik writes that “it appears to be dated for a May 15 French release but a May 10 stateside release, which would mean much of the press about it in the U.S. will have already hit by the time the film rolls up on the Riviera. Poor reviews could put a damper on things.”

Then again, Fitzgerald himself occasionally had a tough time with reviewers. It was only after he died that “Gatsby” was understood to be a masterpiece.


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