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Cannes Film Festival Opens

May 17, 1995

CANNES, France (AP) _ Six American films dominate the lineup at the 48th Cannes Film Festival, the annual extravaganza that opened Wednesday with the apocalyptic story of a madman who borrows the dreams of children.

Twenty-four movies are competing for awards to be announced May 28 in this chic Mediterranean resort overrun by movie stars, moguls, agents, journalists and stargazers.

A steady stream of limos, white festival flags snapping in the wind, arrived for opening night, and about 2,000 onlookers cheered as a parade of stars walked up the red carpet into the Palace of Festivals.

Before a backdrop of cartoon cutouts of the sun, moon and stars, actress Carole Bouquet hosted the opening ceremony celebrating cinema’s 100th birthday. Actress Jeanne Moreau, head of the festival’s jury, presented her fellow jurors, who range from South African novelist and Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer to American kitch director John Waters.

Diane Keaton and Andie MacDowell announced the festival’s opening in English, while Jean Reno of ``Leon″ (``The Professional″) had the honors in French.

Opening Wednesday’s competition was the French film ``La Cite des Enfants Perdus″ (``The City of Lost Children″).

After shooting ``Delicatessen″ four years ago, Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s ``City″ looks something like Jules Verne and Frankenstein crashing the set of Terry Gilliam’s ``Brazil.″

Living on an offshore platform surrounded by floating mines, the sad old Mr. Krank gets his henchmen to kidnap children and hook them up to a machine so he can tap their dreams to try to recover his own youth.

The $16 million film boasts futurist ’30s decor, special effects and costumes by shock-a-porter designer Jean-Paul Gaultier.

It is one of several productions by a new generation of French directors who avoid the lavish historical epics that have performed only modestly at the box office.

France’s share of its own film market fell below 30 percent last year for the first time since World War II, and a French film has taken the festival’s Golden Palm for best movie only once in the past 27 years.

Last year’s winner was ``Pulp Fiction″ by American Quentin Tarantino.

``Kids,″ by American Larry Clark, has been controversial in the States because it includes an HIV-positive youth who has sexual relations with young women.

In ``Beyond Rangoon,″ by American John Boorman of ``Deliverance″ fame, Patricia Arquette plays a young mother who struggles to survive the 1988 military crackdown in Burma after her husband and son are murdered.

``Land and Freedom,″ by Briton Ken Loach (``Raining Stones″), portrays young Republican fighters in the Spanish civil war.

``Dead Man″ is the new film by American Jim Jarmusch, starring Johnny Depp and Robert Mitchum. The adventure of a Briton and an Indian in 1870s America is a departure from Jarmusch’s past work like ``Down by Law,″ ``Mystery Train″ and ``Night on Earth.″

Some American artists or films can come to Cannes for a second chance. ``Ed Wood,″ by Tim Burton (``Batman,″ ``Edward Scissorhands″), earned Martin Landau a best supporting actor Oscar. But the film won only a cult following and could benefit from exposure at Cannes.

So could ``Jefferson in Paris,″ the new period piece by a master of the genre, James Ivory. Despite star billing with Nick Nolte and Greta Scacchi, it has drawn only modest box office receipts in the United States.

Sharon Stone has caused the most excitement in the French media even though her performance has been panned in the Western ``The Quick and the Dead,″ which is showing out of competition.

Other glitterati appearing at Cannes include Catherine Deneuve, Gong Li, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Harvey Keitel, John Malkovich, Nicolas Cage and Matt Dillon.

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