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Hollywood heads to Cannes as off-screen drama soars

Published : Tuesday, 14 May, 2024 at 11:02 PM  Count : 599

Hollywood heads to Cannes as off-screen drama soars

Hollywood heads to Cannes as off-screen drama soars

Cannes rolled out the red carpet on Tuesday as Hollywood stars jetted in for the start of the world's premier film festival, which this year unfolds against the background of a director's daring escape from Iran and fresh #MeToo allegations.

The 12-day festival officially kicks off in the evening with an honorary award for Meryl Streep -- one of a host of A-listers flocking to the Cote d'Azur alongside legendary directors George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola, reports AFP.

Coppola's decades-in-the-making epic "Megalopolis", an Ancient Rome-inspired saga set in a corrupt modern-day city, is the most anticipated of this year's entries for the top prize Palme d'Or.

"Cannes is important to him and he is important to Cannes," said festival head Thierry Fremaux, praising the 85-year-old director of "The Godfather".

Twenty-two films are competing for the affections of a jury led by "Barbie" director Greta Gerwig.

"I'm pinching myself. This is a marvel," she told reporters.

Richard Gere will star in Paul Schrader's "Oh Canada", recent Oscar winner Emma Stone reunites with Yorgos Lanthimos in "Kinds of Kindness", and Demi Moore tries her hand at horror in "The Substance".

Outside the race for the Palme d'Or, George Miller's latest "Mad Max" instalment, "Furiosa", will get its world premiere on Wednesday, while Kevin Costner returns to the Western genre with "Horizon, an American Saga".

But darker, off-screen plotlines have emerged on the eve of the festival's 77th edition.

In a last-minute twist, director Mohammad Rasoulof -- also competing for the Palme d'Or -- announced he had escaped in secret from Iran, just days after being sentenced to eight years in prison on security offences.

Rasoulof, who had been under pressure from Iranian authorities to withdraw his latest film, "The Seed of the Sacred Fig", from Cannes, urged the world film community to support his colleagues, many of who remain in Iran.

"My thoughts go to every single one of them and I fear for their safety and well-being," Rasoulof said, in a statement to AFP.

Cannes director Thierry Fremaux said the festival was working with the French foreign ministry in the hope of ensuring Rasoulof can attend his premiere next week.

Rasoulof's statement said he did not yet know if he can attend.

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