Call it Revenge of the Yanks. The usually Francophile slant of the Cannes Film Festival will be replaced this year by a slate heavy on fare from Freedom Fry-loving America. Among the competing films this year are ”The Ladykillers” (by Cannes favorites Joel and Ethan Coen) and ”Shrek 2,” as well as the made-for-HBO ”The Life and Death of Peter Sellers” and ”Fahrenheit 9/11,” the latest rabble-rousing documentary by Michael Moore (whose ”Bowling for Columbine” was a Cannes award winner two years ago). Screening out of competition are such American genre movies as ”Troy,” ”Dawn of the Dead,” ”Bad Santa,” and ”Kill Bill – Vol. 2,” as well as American indie film ”Mondovino.” And closing the festival (which runs May 12 to 23) is Irwin Winkler’s glossy musical bio of Cole Porter, ”De-Lovely.”
Not that the festival lacks international flavor. Represented will be such well-known filmmakers as Spain’s Pedro Almodovar (whose ”Bad Education” is the opening film), France’s Olivier Assayas (”Clean”) Bosnia’s Emir Kusturica (”Life Is a Miracle,”) Hong Kong’s Wong Kar-Wai (”2046”), and Brazil’s Walter Salles (”The Motorcycle Diaries”). Screening out of competition are films by China’s Zhang Yimou (”House of Flying Daggers”), Iran’s Abbas Kiarostami (”Five”), and Switzerland’s Jean-Luc Godard (”Our Music”).
Even the Cannes jury is unusually weighted toward Americans this year. The nine-person panel is headed by ”Kill Bill”’s Quentin Tarantino, who won the festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or, a decade ago for ”Pulp Fiction.” He’s joined by Kathleen Turner, director Jerry Schatzberg (”Scarecrow,” ”Street Smart”), and writer Edwidge Danticat. Also on the jury are British actress Tilda Swinton (”Young Adam”) and Hong Kong filmmaker Tsui Hark (”Once Upon a Time in China”). Only actress Emmanuelle Beart (”Mission: Impossible”) represents France.