- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 24, 2001

PARIS — It promises to be deja vu all over again at Cannes as directors long favored by the festivals organizers tussle for the top prize, which many of them have won before.
Organizers already have announced the official selection of films for this year, calling up Cannes perennials such as Joel and Ethan Coen, David Lynch and Japans Shohei Imamura.
Among the 23 selected films are five American offerings, four French, two Italian and three Japanese as well as the first film from Bosnia: "No Mans Land," by Danis Tanovic. Twelve countries are represented in the official selection, but Britain is notably absent.
Mr. Lynch, who won the top prize in 1990 for "Wild at Heart," is back with "Mulholland Drive." Sean Penns "The Pledge," starring Jack Nicholson, Oscar winner Benicio Del Toro and Mickey Rourke, also will compete.
The Coens, who won the Palme dOr in 1991 with "Barton Fink," promise another taste of their unique take on the world in "The Man Who Wasnt There," starring Frances McDormand and Billy Bob Thornton.
Last year, the brothers failed to score with "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" but the films leading man, George Clooney, scored with screaming fans on the Croisette. He later won a Golden Globe for his role.
This year, the faithful stargazers, who camp for hours near the red-carpeted steps on the Croisette, will be treated to appearances by Catherine Deneuve, Antonio Banderas, Gerard Depardieu, John Malkovich, Melanie Griffith and French model-turned-actress Laetitia Casta.
Miss Deneuve, a Cannes regular and first lady of French cinema, stars with Mr. Malkovich in Manoel de Oliveiras "Je Rentre a la Maison," showing in competition. The veteran Portuguese director won the Jury Prize in 1999 for "The Letter."
In an unusual choice, the animated film "Shrek" also was selected to compete for the festivals highest honor. Directed by Andrew Adamson and Victoria Jenson, the film features the voice of Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy.
French new wave director Jean-Luc Godard returns to Cannes with "Eloge de Lamour." Japans Mr. Imamura, who won the Palme dOr for "The Ballad of Narayama" in 1983, presents "Warm Water Under a Red Bridge."
Asian directors return in force after a strong showing last year, with two Taiwanese films and three from Japan. Back for the second consecutive year is Japans Shinji Aoyama, whose black-and-white epic "Eureka" won critical acclaim but no awards last year.
Promising to bring Parisian chic to the Riviera is Australian Baz Luhrmann, whose "Moulin Rouge," starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, opens the festival and also is competing.
The musical is set in the world-famous Montmartre cabaret in the hedonistic Paris of the 1890s and also stars John Leguizamo as the artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
But the sequined cancan extravaganza may be a rare bright spot in what promises to be, thematically, a rather grim festival. Organizers said the topics include mourning and melancholy, loneliness and violence.
A longer version of Francis Ford Coppolas "Apocalypse Now," which won the Palme dOr in 1979, will be screened out of competition, offering viewers an extra 53 minutes of the epic Vietnam movie.
Also showing out of competition will be Martin Scorseses "My Voyage in Italy" and Wayne Wangs erotic "The Center of the World."
Liv Ullmann, the Norwegian actress and director, is presiding over the main jury that awards the Palme dOr, won last year by Danish director Lars Von Trier for "Dancer in the Dark."
The jury includes actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, Taiwanese director Edward Yang, and Terry Gilliam, director of the cult film "Brazil" and member of the wacky Monty Python troupe.
British actress Charlotte Rampling will open the festival May 9 and present the awards when the nearly two-week extravaganza closes on May 20.

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