CANNES: Festival Begins with "Da Vinci"

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Day one of the Cannes Film Festival has begun, with last night's opening screening of "The Da Vinci Code," and the next eleven days promise even more glitz, big names, and world cinema on the Croisette's famed red carpet.

Ron Howard's "The Da Vinci Code" kicked things off last night, with its multi-national cast and global buzz proving sure indicators of what's to come. The early word circulating around town, however, is less than glowing; some say the subsequent screenings of the religiously controversial big budget flick may not be too hard to get into, after a disappointing reaction opening night. Stay tuned for Tim Ryan's review and press conference coverage in the coming days.

"Da Vinci" disappointment aside, the fest still has a slate of intriguing and highly buzzed-about films coming up, from Hollywood, Europe and beyond. Chinese director Lou Ye's "Summer Palace" has already earned the notoriety of being banned in that country, and will make its Cannes debut later this evening.

The global community is indeed well represented -- naturally, the films and audiences at the Cannes Film Festival reflect the program's prominence as the most highly regarded fest in Europe and, arguably, the entire world. Many highly touted foreign directors have entries In Competition, including Aki Kaurismaki ("Laitakaupungin Valot", Guillermo del Toro ("Pan's Labyrinth"), and Ken Loach ("The Wind That Shakes The Barley").

Richard ("Donnie Darko") Kelly is back in the limelight with "Southland Tales," a futuristic comedy sci-fi musical (!!) starring The Rock, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Seann William Scott, and a whole lot of other Hollywood stars.

Another young Hollywoodian with a film in competition is the Goddaughter herself, Sofia Coppola. Her "Marie-Antoinette," starring Kirsten Dunst and Jason Schwartzman, has already earned fans with its awesome, pop-driven trailer.

With "Fast Food Nation," Gen-X fave Richard Linklater has an ensemble including Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, and Greg Kinnear warning the health consequences of Big Macs and Super Sizes. Catalina Sandino Moreno also stars, pulling double duty at Cannes -- she also carries the Walter Salles-directed segment in "Paris, Je'Taime" (screening under Un Certain Regard). That film, a twenty-part ode to the magic of the City of Light, is a charming compilation of segments by twenty of the world's leading filmmakers, including Alexander Payne, the Coen brothers, Gus Van Sant, Isabelle Coixet, and Wes Craven. "Paris, Je'Taime" was screened Day One; look for a review soon.

All of this is but a fraction of the entire Cannes selection, which includes over 50 films from 30 different countries in multiple categories. Highlights of the full schedule include Rolf de Heer's Aboriginal tale, "Ten Canoes;" Linklater's "A Scanner Darkly;" "Daft Punk's Electroma;" Bong Joon-ho's "The Host," from South Korea; Anders Morgenthaler's adult-themed animated feature, "Princess;" William Friedkin's "Bug;" a whole slate of classic films; and of course, Out of Competition screenings of "X-Men: The Last Stand," "Clerks II," "Over the Hedge," Johnnie To's "Election 2," and John Cameron Mitchell's "Shortbus."

For a complete list of films at Cannes, check out our Rotten Tomatoes Eat France! special feature for daily updates, news, reviews, and photos from our team at the festival!