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Cannes contenders keep their fingers crossed
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 22 - 05 - 2011

CANNES, France: Robert De Niro, an actor of few words, and a film of hardly any words could prove a perfect match as the Cannes Film Festival prepares to hand out its awards.
Among titles competing for the top prize Sunday at the world's most-prestigious film festival is French director Michel Hazanavicius' silent movie “The Artist,” which charmed Cannes audiences with a story about early Hollywood likely to appeal to an actor and filmmaker such as De Niro, who heads the awards jury that also includes Uma Thurman and Jude Law.
Other possible winners of the festival's Palme d'Or include Spaniard Pedro Almodovar's horror thriller “The Skin I Live In,” starring Antonio Banderas; American filmmaker Terrence Malick's expansive drama “The Tree of Life,” with Brad Pitt; British director Lynne Ramsay's school-violence saga “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” featuring Tilda Swinton; and Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki's heartwarming immigrant tale “Le Havre.”
Hazanavicius, competing at Cannes for the first time, said he has tried to ignore the awards talk swirling about his film, which stars his wife, Berenice Bejo, and Jean Dujardin in the comic melodrama of a silent-era star whose career crumbles in the sound era. “Some people talk and it's very nice, but I try to stay cool,” Hazanavicius said. “It would be an honor to have any prize, but it's an honor to be here.
This festival is so prestigious, and this year all the directors are so talented, and the films are so good. It's a good year for the festival. Some years are not so good, but everybody says this year is the perfect year.” The strong lineup includes an unusual entry from Almodovar, the Academy Award-winning director of “Talk to Her” and “All About My Mother,” who has won the directing and screenplay prizes at Cannes but never the top award.

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