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Cannes Film Festival to Spotlight Label-Defying and French-Made Movies

THE 47th Cannes International Film Festival opened May 12 with a cavalcade of limousines, celebrities, stargazers, and press. Clint Eastwood took his post as jury president, accompanied by his vice president, Catherine Deneuve, the French actress. The French Riviera town remains under seige by critics and film buffs until the festival ends May 23.

The event has several categories: This year, 23 movies will be shown as part of the Official Competition, with a number of films being screened out of competition. Major events include: ``A Certain Look,'' which showcases works that are unusual, difficult, or resist labels; International Critics' Week, where films chosen by French reviewers are shown; the Directors' Fortnight, which highlights the pictures of renowned directors; and Perspectives on French Cinema, which is the host country's self-promotional series.

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For competing films, the most important prize is the Golden Palm, which is given out on the festival's final evening, May 23. Last year, the award was split by Jane Campion's ``The Piano'' and Chen Kaige's ``Farewell My Concubine,'' from New Zealand and China, respectively.

The film community looks to Cannes for clues as to the direction moviemaking may take. This is particularly true of ``A Certain Look,'' which was created 17 years ago after the French New Wave directors came on the scene. This year's lineup of 21 ``Certain Look'' films includes five American entries: ``Sleep With Me,'' ``Clean, Shaven,'' ``I Like it Like That,'' ``Picture Bride,'' and ``Suture.'' Some of these films have already been shown selectively at festivals in the United States.

The list of other films includes: French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy's ``Bosna!'' about Bosnia; ``Bab-el-Oued City,'' filmed in Algeria; ``Los Naufragos'' (The Shipwrecked) from Chile, and Italy's ``Il Sogno della Farfalla'' (The Dream of the Butterfly). These movies are strongly laced with political themes and conflict.

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