Cannes Film Festival 2011: “Midnight in Paris”, six movies to watch, and red carpet romance

May 12, 2011

Hollywood headed to the French Riviera Wednesday to attend the Cannes Film Festival, which kicked off with Woody Allen’s romantic“Midnight in Paris.” The opening movie was one of several must-see films at the festival. Chaney named her top six:

1. “Midnight in Paris”: As the festival opener — and a Woody Allen film in a country known for its adoration of Woody Allen — it will be interesting to see how this one plays. The film already screened for press at Cannes, prompting Entertainment Weekly’s Dave Karger to go ahead and declare that it may have a shot at an Oscar nomination.

2. “We Need to Talk About Kevin”: Based on Lionel Shriver’s 2003 novel, this film focuses on the mother and father (Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly) of a teen boy who goes on a shooting spree. Given the controversial subject matter, it has the potential to be a talker.

3. “The Tree of Life”: This would be an attention-grabber solely because it stars Sean Penn and Brad Pitt and, as such, means that both ScarPenn and Brangelina could stroll down the red carpet prior to Monday’s premiere. (ScarPenn — did I actually just write that?)

4. “This Must Be the Place”: Speaking of Sean Penn, he also stars in this drama as a retired rock star. His gothed-out appearance has already invited the inevitable comparisons to Robert Smith of The Cure.

5. “Melancholia”: It’s described as a psychological disaster movie from director Lars von Trier. That’s enough to either make you a. excited or b. highly concerned, depending on your attitude toward von Trier’s work. The cast includes Kiefer Sutherland, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alexander Skarsgard and Kristen Dunst, in a performance that could mark a career comeback for the actress, depending on how the movie is received. 6. “Unlawful Killing:” No Cannes Film Festival would be complete without at least one ultra-controversial entry. This year, a documentary about the death of Princess Diana, which has been banned in Britain, appears to be filling that spot. The movie should once again stir up debate about whether Diana was killed or died in an accident; it also features a never-before-seen image of the princess as she lay dying in a Paris tunnel that some will undoubtedly deem gratuitous.

The opening day was a flurry of stars, awards, and romance. AP reported:

Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” provided just what organizers wanted to open the world’s most glamorous film festival Wednesday: Romance, fantasy, laughs and a whole lot of stars, both on screen and strutting the Cannes red carpet.

Robert De Niro, fresh from his own Tribeca Film Festival in New York and now heading the Cannes Film Festival awards jury, marched the carpet before Allen’s movie, along with fellow jurors including Uma Thurman and Jude Law.

The opening ceremony that preceded Allen’s film included a performance by jazz pianist Jamie Cullum, who played a medley of songs about the Big Apple, including “New York, New York” and Alicia Keys’ ”Empire State of Mind” as a tribute to De Niro.

The ceremony featured an honorary Palme d’Or, the festival’s highest prize, for Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci, whose films include 1988 Academy Award best-picture recipient “The Last Emperor.” He’d never, however, won the grand prize at Cannes.

“I waited a bit, but here it is. I’ve received my Palme d’Or,” Bertolucci said.

Festival opener “Midnight in Paris” co-stars Rachel McAdams and Michael Sheen made their first red carpet appearance together at Cannes, sparking rumors they might be romantically linked. Sarah Anne Hughes explained:

Sheen, 42, told Entertainment Tonight Canada that McAdams is “a genuinely lovely lady as well as being stunningly beautiful and very talented.” McAdams, 34, was engaged to actor and NSFW meme subject Ryan Gosling. The pair split in 2007. “You have those days when you wonder if you’re going to find it for yourself,” McAdams says of love in the June issue of Elle . “It’s such a hard thing to find.”

More from the Washington Post

Style: Cannes film ‘Porfirio’ explores real-life desperation with real-life actors

Entertainment: Bernardo Bertolucci receives lifetime award, and declares himself an ‘Avatar’ fan

World: Films by 2 Iranian filmmakers recently sentenced to prison to be shown at Cannes festival

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