Screening highlights 60th anniversary


CANNES -- Gilles Jacob and Thierry Fremaux had a lot of hands to shake Sunday night as the Festival de Cannes rolled out the red carpet for a star-studded 60th anniversary ceremony and screening of the shorts compilation "To Each His Own Cinema" at the Grand Palais.

The film's 35 directors were present, and cinema legends Gerard Depardieu, Fanny Ardant, Pedro Almodovar, Faye Dunaway, Helen Mirren, Javier Bardem and Sharon Stone also graced the massive swarm of fans on the Croisette with their presence. After a seemingly never-ending red carpet run complete with French Minister of Culture and Communication manning the top of the Palais steps, the ceremony began. Recently crowned French President Nicolas Sarkozy was a no-show despite rumors that he would make an appearance in Cannes over the weekend.

Chairs were set up in front of the big screen, with the movie's directors including Roman Polanski, Nanni Moretti and the brothers Coen and Dardenne, with Jane Campion the lone female helmer on the scene.

The empty seat at the end of the row was soon filled with hostess of the evening Juliette Binoche, who lent her bilingual, bi-cultural touch to the occasion by telling the crowd: "Tonight's celebration is a little different. It's a world premiere for the directors themselves." A standing ovation preceded the "move theater"-themed film dedicated to Federico Fellini described in the opening credits as "that thrill when the lights dim and the movie begins."

The film received a positive response from the crowd, who clapped especially hard for the eclectic submissions from Amos Gitai, Joel and Ethan Coen, Moretti and Lars von Trier. The film was broadcast simultaneously on Canal Plus and will air on Arte on Saturday night, with Studio Canal preparing a DVD release in Gaul in the coming days.

As the sky exploded with fireworks, the celebration continued with a dinner and star-studded afterparty at the Parc De La Roseraie.