The Cannes Film Festival: 10 Things We’re Looking Forward To

This is trippy, but because Europe has a six-hour head start on the US of A, right now Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Eva Longoria, Salma Hayek, and many more are making their way down the red carpet at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival, where “Robin Hood” is kicking off the party. Cannes is one of the oldest and most prestigious film festivals, and more than 10,000 film buffs and 4,000 journalists have descended on the French Riviera for it. So what are we most looking forward to during the 12-day festival?

  1. The Star-Studded Jury: Since Cannes is a gliterrati event of the highest order, of course the jury has to have some star power. This year, Tim Burton heads the committee and Kate Beckinsale and Benicio Del Toro also get to cast votes.
  2. Naomi Watts’ Big Moment: We’ve always adored Aussie actress Naomi. While she’s certainly famous, she’s never been the megastar that, say, best friend Nicole Kidman is. So we’re glad Naomi will get a chance to shine with two films in the festival—”Fair Game,” where she plays outed CIA agent Valerie Plame, and “You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger,” Woody Allen’s newest.
  3. The Chance For Woody Allen’s Latest To Be Good: Speaking of “You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger,” for Woody Allen fans like myself, watching his new films is something of a crapshoot. Sometimes you get “Match Point” and sometimes you get “Melinda and Melinda.” Set in London and starring Naomi, Freida Pinto, and Josh Brolin, this one looks like it could actually be great.
  4. A History Lesson From Russell Crowe: Recently, Russell let us know that Robin Hood didn’t wear tights because his story takes place in the year 1199 and tights weren’t invented until the 1600s. What historical tidbit will he drop on us tonight?
  5. Seeing If The Weather Behaves: In the few days before the festival, Mother Earth has not cooperated. First, that volcano in Iceland let out another cloud of ash, which led to hundreds of flight cancellations into France. Then a freak storm sent 18-foot waves crashing into the restaurants and outdoor installations of Cannes. We’ll be waiting to hear if the weather turns around or if the festival turns into something out of a disaster movie.
  6. The Crowning Of A New Cannes It Couple: For the past few years, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have been the unofficial prom king and queen of Cannes. But this year, they are staying home and giving someone else a chance. Here’s hoping it’s Shia LaBeouf and Carey Mulligan, both starring in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.”
  7. The Fabulous Duds: Enough said.
  8. The New One From Alejandro Gonzalaez Inarritu: Three cheers for Mexican director Alejandro, who brought us “Amores Perros,” “Rudo y Cursi,” and of course, Gael Garcia Bernal. His latest film, “Biutiful,” has a good shot of winning the top prize, the Palme d’Or. It is Gael-less, but makes up for it with Javier Bardem. Yum!
  9. The Release of Jahar Panahi: Iranian director Jahar was not able to get on a plane and fly to France for the festival, even though he was scheduled to be on the jury. Why? The government put him under house arrest. A campaign is underway to let him attend. Meanwhile, a symbolic chair is being left open for him.
  10. A Mick Jagger Appearance! Yes, that’s right. Mick will be walking the red carpet for the premiere of “Stones in Exile,” the documentary about the Rolling Stones making their classic album, Exile on Main Street. Much of the footage in the film was actually shot near Cannes. The Stones were kicked out of England for failure to pay taxes, so they camped out in a mansion in France in the early ’70s.

What are you looking forward to at the festival?