'Blueberry' sweetens red carpet

Fest opens with Wong pic, typical glitz, de Oliveira

The first of 12 blueberry nights kicked off here Wednesday as director Wong Kar Wai led the cast of "My Blueberry Nights" up the red carpet to the Grand Palais theater for the film's world premiere. Wong accompanied Jude Law and songbird Norah Jones, stars of the Hong Kong director's first English-language feature.

Although Wong certainly was in the mood for the red carpet in his signature dark shades and tux, members of the film's supporting cast — including Rachel Weisz, Natalie Portman and David Strathairn — were no-shows. Yet the Croisette was glittering with star power as swarms of celebs including Elizabeth Hurley, Minnie Driver, Juliette Binoche and Luc Besson sent photographers into a snapping frenzy.

The 60th anniversary opening ceremony was broadcast live by pay TV channel Canal Plus, ubiquitous at this year's fest with a €6 million budget and a team of 400 descending.

Diane Kruger, the German-born actress and mistress of ceremonies, was host of the hoopla and wowed the crowd with a trilingual welcome in French, English and German. "In Cannes, anything is possible," Kruger said, adding that "For 12 days, we all speak the same language, that of cinema."

The event stuck to its traditional proceedings, with Kruger calling the 2007 jury onstage, finishing with a musical entrance fit for a "Queen" for its president, Stephen Frears. A series of clips from each of the films In Competition followed.

David Lynch made the long trip from Mulholland Drive to the Croisette to present his "surprise gift" to the festival for its 60th anniversary, a short film titled "Absurda," also the name of the distribution company Lynch owns.

The almost 100-year-old Manoel de Oliveira came onstage to say a few words before Taiwanese actress Shu Ki declared the festival officially open.

Audience members not full from the Wong film's many slices of pie refilled their plates at an official dinner in the Palais before heading to a "Blueberry Nights" party.
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