The stars are impossible to escape. At the glitzy French Riviera resort of Cannes, you are instantly confronted by supersized paintings of two screen legends, Marilyn Monroe and the local hero Jean Gabin, each filling an entire wall of a six-storey building.
Wander down through the streets of the old port district to the Palais, where the 66th Cannes Film Festival has just opened, and you pass billboard-sized images of famous cinematic faces from every era and region: Alfred Hitchcock, Jane Fonda, Frieda Pinto, Asia Argento, Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman, Buster Keaton. Nowadays, even being dead is no excuse to miss out on the Cannes party.
Yesterday, the artisan food stores, upscale gift boutiques and chic bistros that line the town’s narrow backstreets felt eerily empty. Today, they are noticeably busier. By tomorrow, they will be packed to bursting as star-spotting tourists and film industry professionals flood the town, adding almost 25,000 to the local population of around 72,000.
Cannes has actually been flush with famous faces for days – even before the festival officially opened for business yesterday – with Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Amitabh Bachchan, Nicole Kidman, Beyoncé and Jay-Z celebrating the launch of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. David Beckham and Pelé have also been spotted.
Also expected to make an appearance are Rihanna, Robert De Niro, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Cate Blanchett, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Naomi Watts, Kevin Spacey, Marion Cotillard, Orlando Bloom, Elton John and many more celebrities.
The Dubai Film and TV Commission debuts at the festival this year via the UAE Pavilion, alongside Dubai International Film Festival, Dubai Studio City, Abu Dhabi Film Commission, Image Nation and twofour54. The UAE Pavilion will showcase the country's shooting locations, production infrastructure and film distribution.
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