Cannes Film Festival: let the movie marathon begin

The Festival de Cannes (Cannes Film Festival to the rest of us) gets underway on Wednesday, and as of this posting I’ll be packing my bags for the 10-day marathon of five-movie days, black-tie nights and rushed baguettes-et-fromage in between.

View Photo Gallery: Scenes from the 2011 Cannes Film Festival in France.

Wes Anderson will open the festival Wednesday night with his new coming-of-age comedy, “Moonrise Kingdom,” with stars Tilda Swinton, Bruce Willis and Edward Norton expected to be in attendance. (What! Will! Tilda! Wear!)

Also high on my want-to-see list: John Hillcoat’s “Lawless,” Lee Daniels’s “The Paperboy” and Andrew Dominik’s “Killing Them Softly.” (And no, you’re not imagining things: No women have films competing this year, in stark contrast to last year’s bumper crop of exciting female directors.)

Some revered Cannes veterans will also be returning, from Ken Loach – who’s arriving with “The Angel’s Share” – to Cristian Mungiu, the Romanian filmmaker whose shattering abortion drama, “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” made a spectacular debut at Cannes in 2007. Markedly absent: Lars von Trier, whose train wreck of a press conference for “Melancholia” last year – in which he declared his sympathy for Hitler – resulted in the festival banning him for life.

I’ll also be soaking up as much of the whole ballyhoo-plus-beaux-arts Cannes experience as I can. There’s always at least one gobsmacker of a shameless publicity stunt; last year it was Keith Allen’s scandal-mongering documentary “Unlawful Killing,” which accused Britain’s royal family of murdering Princess Diana. And, of course, I’ll be on the lookout for this year’s breakout awards darling, a la “The Artist,” which first charmed audiences – and caught distributor Harvey Weinstein’s eye – at Cannes.

Check the Style Blog every day for my missives from Cannes, in all its color, craziness and cinematic excess!

Ann Hornaday is The Post's movie critic.


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