Cannes pits six newcomers against veteran directors like Eastwood at 56th festival

Wednesday, April 23rd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PARIS (AP) _ Six newcomers will tussle for the top prize at Cannes this year against veteran directors like Clint Eastwood, who returns to the French Riviera film festival after nearly a decade.

Organizers presented the official selection Wednesday, which included Cannes perennial Lars Von Trier, the Dane whose latest offering _ ``Dogville,'' starring Nicole Kidman _ is among 20 films competing for the prestigious Palme D'Or.

Among U.S. entries are Eastwood's crime drama ``Mystic River'' and two festival newcomers _ Gus Van Sant with ``Elephant'' and Vincent Gallo with ``The Brown Bunny.''

The last time Eastwood, 72, was at Cannes was in 1994, when he was president of the jury.

Other directors making their Cannes debuts are China's Lou Ye (``Purple Butterfly''), Kiyoshi Kurosawa (``Akarui Mirai'') and Naomi Kawase (``Shara'') of Japan, and Turkey's Nuri Bilge Ceylan (``Uzak'').

Thirteen countries are represented at the competition.

Also on the slate is Canadian Denys Arcand's ``Les Invasions Barbares,'' about a group of Quebec intellectuals. Italian directors Pupi Avati presents ``Il Cuore Altrove,'' a period piece on life in Italy during the 1930s.

Zany British filmmaker Peter Greenaway will be on hand with ``The Moab Story/The Tulse Luper Suitcases _ Part I.'' And Chile's Raoul Ruiz is to return with ``Ce Jour-La,'' set in Switzerland.

Brazil's Hector Babenco explores life in Brazil's prisons with his ``Carandiru,'' while 23-year-old Iranian filmmaker Samira Makhmalbaf will be competing in Cannes for a second straight year.

Russia's Alexander Sokurov will be back with ``Father and Son.''

Five French films are in competition: ``Les Cotelettes'' by Bertrand Blier; ``La Petite Lili'' by Claude Miller; ``Swimming Pool'' by Francois Ozon; ``Les Egares'' by Andre Techine; and ``Tiresia'' by Bertrand Bonello.

Appearing out of competition is the much-awaited sequel ``The Matrix: Reloaded'' by American brothers Andy and Larry Wachowski, starring Keanu Reeves. Organizers said its entire cast will travel to Cannes.

This year, stargazers also will be treated to appearances by Kidman, Sean Penn, James Caan, and Meg Ryan _ who is on the nine-member jury led by French director Patrice Chereau.

The 56th Cannes Film Festival, from May 14-25, also will honor legendary French actress Jeanne Moreau and the late Italian director Federico Fellini.