After years of faintly disastrous picks that meant the reputation of the Cannes opener was somewhat sullied, the festival, the world’s most prestigious, has stepped up its game in the last few years. Of the last four years, three of the Opening Night films — Pixar’s “Up,” Woody Allen’s “Midnight In Paris” and Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom,” went on to wide acclaim and success around the world (the outlier, Ridley Scott’s “Robin Hood,” which kicked off the festival in 2010, not so much).
It remains to be see whether the 2013 opener matches their success, but it’s certainly going to be as high-profile as the previous films, as organizers have announced, per The Hollywood Reporter, that Baz Luhrmann’s eagerly-anticipated adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” will get the festival going on May 15th.
The film had been heavily rumored for the slot for some time: although it opens in the U.S. the week before, and in France on the same day, it’s the kind of prestigious, glittery launch that would do the film a lot of good on the international scene, as well as mirroring Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge!,” which opened the festival in 2001. It’s expected that the director, stars (including Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher, Jason Clarke, and Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan), and Jay-Z, who’s behind the music for the film, will all attend.
Luhrmann commented “It is a great honor for all those who have worked on ‘The Great Gatsby‘ to open the Cannes Film Festival,” Luhrmann said in a statement. “We are thrilled to return to a country, place and festival that has always been so close to our hearts, not only because my first film, ‘Strictly Ballroom,’ was screened there 21 years ago, but also because F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote some of the most poignant and beautiful passages of his extraordinary novel just a short distance away at a villa outside St. Raphael.”
So is this a good sign for the quality of the film? Or perhaps just a star-studded stop on the publicity tour? It’d be more comforting if we find out that, as with “Moonrise Kingdom” last year, the film is also in competition at the festival, but that’s a relative rarity, and one that we’d be surprised was repeated this year. Still, it won’t be long til we find out how the film turns out; the film opens in the U.S. on May 10th. And worst comes to worst, we’re sure the afterparty will be something special…